Pomegranate – Interesting Facts

If pomegranate is included in a recipe, it is often the seeds that are sprinkled over the dish for their beautiful colour, the burst of juice and the slightly sour or bittersweet taste. But the fruit is more than a visual accent, full of nutrients, it is a great addition to your diet.

The antioxidant content of pomegranates is so high, that even well-known foods such as blueberries and red wine, which are known for battling free radicals in the body, pale in comparison. Free radical interceptors eliminate the damage to the body and cells by oxygen compounds caused by UV rays or pollution. Consuming pomegranate seeds protects your cells and can even help to prevent illness caused by environmental damage. 

Food Facts Food Facts

Pomegranate

Class

punica

Calories

83 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

19 g carbohydrates, 4 g fibre, 1,2 g fat, 1,7 g protein per 100 g

Season

September-December

Storage

store at room temperature

Shelf life

intact a ripe fruit can last weeks, in a cool, slightly damp room even months

Pomegranate – Origin and Preparation

Pomegranates grow on thorny trees that are often used for decorative purposes due to their bell-shaped, red flowers. To grow fruit, the pomegranate tree requires a warm climate and today these trees predominantly grow in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The origin of the tree is unclear, but is suspected to be the Near East and Central Asia. One thing is sure: the pomegranate has enjoyed cultural significance for centuries, mentioned even in the bible as a symbol of power, youth and beauty.

Only the ruby red, juicy pomegranate seeds are edible, not the leathery peel of the fruit. Peeling a pomegranate actually damages the seeds, so it’s better to halve the pomegranate and then extract the seeds by tapping on the peel using a wooden spoon, or to hold the fruit under water and then break the seeds out. Both methods stop the juice from spraying, as pomegranate stains are hard to remove from clothing and other textiles.

For the first method, simply hold the fruit over a bowl and lightly tap the peel. The seeds will fall out of the fruit and into the bowl. For the second method fill a bowl with water and then submerge the fruit, carefully breaking it up and releasing the seeds from the pith, the white layer of skin surrounding the seeds. The seeds will float to the bottom of the bowl while the pith floats on top, making it easy to separate them. 

Pomegranate – Health Benefits and Dishes

Getting the seeds out of the fruit may seem like a strenuous task, but it is worthwhile. The high polyphenol content makes the pomegranate rich in antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can even slow down ageing. The fruit also contains potassium, iron, vitamin C and vitamin E. With so many valuable nutrients it’s no wonder that the fruit is also said to reduce blood pressure and fight joint disease amongst many other illnesses.

The healthy seeds of the pomegranate can be used for sweet and savoury dishes alike. They are a juicy yet crunchy addition to muesli, provide a sour contrast to the sweetness of chocolate in desserts, and go particularly well in Asian salads with mint and couscous. Similar to cranberries, pomegranate seeds are also a nice addition to a roast with cheese. A small drop of pomegranate juice in a glass of champagne transforms the colour and is a delicious drink. 

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