THE FOOD SERIES: Pomegranate

Last week I chose a summer fruit, this week we’re following the northern hemisphere season and going with a fall fruit. Unfortunately not many people have access or are able to purchase this rather more pricey fruit. Nevertheless I thought I would feature it and talk about it anyway because not many people know much about it.

DESCRIPTION:

Predominately found only during fall and winter seasons (in the Northern Hemisphere), this stunning fruit opens up to an abundance of ruby red seed clusters. These seeds are also called arils which are then surrounded by the juicy red pulp that are quite moderate in taste with a mix of sweet and some sour notes.

When picking pomegranates, look for ones that are deeper and richer in colour and is relatively heavy for its size. To de-seed the pomegranate, slice the outside rind of the pomegranate around the diameter of the fruit. Open it up by splitting it into two, I like to pull the edges apart slightly and either slowly take the seeds out in each of its clusters OR flip it and hit the back with a large spoon and the seeds will pop right out. There are many other ways you can de-seed, simply look it up on google or even on YouTube. (There are some really creative ways that I have seen, it’s quite amusing).

PRODUCTION:

Pomegranates are primarily found in South Asia, through the Middle East and Mediterranean region. Today they are also grown in Korea, Japan, California, and Arizona.

NUTRITIONAL PROFILE:

Half cup of pomegranate seeds:

72.2 kcal
16.3 g carbs
3.5 g fiber
1.0 g fat
1.5 g protein
14.3 ug vitamin K
8.9 mg vitamin C
33.1 ug folate

Folate is also known as vitamin B9. Other names include Folacin or Folic acid. This water-soluble vitamin is a coenzyme for DNA synthesis and repair. Deficiencies in this vitamin can result in anemia and fetal malformations (e.g. Spina Bifida). Folate is also a coenzyme for amino acid metabolism, which if deficient can lead to the accumulation of homocysteine, damage to the blood vessel linings and build up of plaque.

Pomegranates are also extremely high in antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, they are said to be useful to fight against many cancers, help protect against heart-disease as well as helping with memory and brain function. Pomegranates also have dietary nitrates which have been found to improve exercise performance, hence some exercise powders and shakes have pomegranate juice in the ingredients.

WAYS TO ENJOY

I personally love just eating it as it is and sprinkling some on top of my oatmeal, banana ice cream, salads, or even over stir fry or grain bowls. I very much enjoy the crunch and chewiness of the seed, kind of reminds me of eating popcorn and eating the kernels.

Juice.

Some people may not like chewing on the tough seeds, they would rather drink it in liquid form. Pomegranate juice can then be either put into smoothies, other juices, shakes, or soups.

FUN FACTS

  • Pomegranates belong to the berry family.
  • Pomegranate trees can live for over 200 years.
  • There are over 760 varieties.
  • Ancient Egyptians were often buried with pomegranates!
  • Because the pomegranate season is from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere, they are nicknamed “The Jewel of Winter”

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES / REFERENCES 

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