Maybe it is just me but, I find it hard to get excited about the fresh fruit that is available this time of year. I feel limited to a rotation of cold storage apples, oranges, or bananas. This is precisely why I was so motivated to pick and freeze fruit during the summer. I enjoy having a variety of frozen fruits on hand but prefer to eat fresh fruit as often as possible. That is why I was so excited a few weeks ago to walk into the grocery store and see a display of fresh pomegranates 2 for $5. This time of year the price for the fruit comes down and I like to pick up one or two a week to eat alone or use to jazz up other food.
Pomegranate's light red leathery exteriors unassumingly enclose hundreds of ruby-colored juice-filled seeds (arils). They take a little effort to eat but it is absolutely worth it. The juice is sweet and rich, vitamin-packed, and when you eat the arils whole they are full of fiber. I like to sort of peel the leathery skin away from the clusters of arils and then gently pop them out onto a cutting board or a bowl. The juice can stain so it is best to wear an apron or dark clothing when seeding a pomegranate. (It is possible to purchase arils that have already been removed from the skin but I have found them to be pricey and past their peak every time I have tried them.) Once you have liberated them, eat the arils alone or get creative.
Here are some ideas:
For breakfast: The other morning I was feeling the need to try something new with my oatmeal. I have mentioned before how much I like oatmeal in the morning both plain with cinnamon or as a platform for other flavors. This week I poked around in my freezer and found a bag of nectarines that I froze a few months ago. I mixed them into my pot with pomegranate balsamic vinegar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and just a pinch of cardamom. It smelled amazing but needed some color and texture. I seeded just one section of pomegranate and sprinkled the seeds on top of the finished oatmeal. The result was a bowl of warm spicy goodness that definitely chased away the winter blues.
A Snack: Fat-Free Greek Yogurt with pomegranate arils and a drizzle of amazing raspberry syrup from Four Seasons Gourmet Foods (seriously good if you are able to get your hands on some). I made this for my son but almost kept it for myself!
Lunch or Dinner: Top a plain salad with pomegranate arils.
I had some mixed greens that needed to be used up but not much else to go with them. I sliced some green onion and tossed the salad with a quick homemade pomegranate vinaigrette.
2 TB olive oil
2 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ cup white wine vinegar
2 TB balsamic vinegar
1 TB pomegranate balsamic vinegar
1 TB dijon mustard
salt and pepper
I poured it all in a small mason jar and shook to combine. I only needed about 1 ½ TB to dress the salad so there is a lot left for future salads or marinades. YUM!
However you eat a pomegranate I hope you will have fun. Not only is it beautiful and delicious, it is a SUPER FOOD! I for one can use as much "super" as I can get my hands on.
For more fun facts and recipes check out the POM Council website at pomegranates.org.