Pomegranate: Autumn’s nutritional super food
Autumn is the perfect time to buy pomegranates, both for their powerhouse of nutrition and the fun adventure of peeling them.
Pomegranate, a popular fruit that grows well in hot dry regions like California, has grown in popularity over the last few years. This super food harvested in September through December provides a powerhouse of heart healthy antioxidants, lycopene, potassium and fiber making it an excellent fall food choice. Purchasing this unique fruit in season when the cost is less makes great sense. Add in the fact that pomegranates have a long shelf life increasing the likelihood that even busy people and families can purchase, store and enjoy this delicious tart fruit.
If you are not familiar with selecting a pomegranate, look for round, plump pomegranates. They should feel heavy when held in your hand. Store either in a cool, dry area for up to one month, or in the refrigerator for up to two months. Each pomegranate contains hundreds of seeds called “arils” which are very versatile and can be eaten raw as a snack, in salads, dips, or made into juice, sauces or marinades. The seeds can be packaged, labeled and stored in the freezer for up to three months.
To open and prepare a pomegranate, follow a few helpful steps to prevent the juice from staining your hands and clothes:
- Rinse off the pomegranate under running water
- Cut off the top – the crown – and discard.
- Score the outside skin or peel lengthwise.
- Place the pomegranate in a large bowl of water.
- While the fruit is underwater, begin to separate the outside skin and the white membrane.
- Remove the seeds from the membrane. The seeds will naturally sink to the bottom of the bowl while the other pieces will float.
- Use a colander to drain the seeds and continue to pull any white bits of membrane.
A great website Fruits & Veggies More Matters has information on a variety of produce including pomegranates. This website also features a short video by “Your Produce Man” Michael Marks demonstrating how to open a pomegranate, and a good resource Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Pomegranates for incorporating pomegranates into your family’s meals and snacks.
Pomegranates take a little time to open and prepare but what a terrific nutritious fruit to add to your table this fall season.