‘Tis the season for Pomegranates. Why not add a special flare to your salad or appetizer, especially now at the holidays. For those readers who celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas.
Pomegranates are from the Middle East. Early Spanish settlers introduced the first plants into the southeastern United States. They have a long history of use in South Carolina, but tend to fruit poorly in the humid climate. Pomegranates are widely grown for their edible fruits, but they are equally valuable an ornamental plant.
When purchasing, look for those which are heavy for size, round and plump. They store great, up to two months in the refrigerator.
As with most fruits, they are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C and K and a good source of potassium, folate and copper. It is best to eat the whole fruit instead of juice. Juice lacks the fiber unless added back in after processing.
Pomegranates are also high in polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins. These plant chemicals act as antioxidants, decreasing oxidation in the body and protecting cells from free radical damage. The antioxidants in pomegranates also reduce inflammation and may have anti-aging effects.
Once you learn how to cut and scoop out the seeds, pomegranates are easy to add to any salad. First, quarter the pomegranate and place in a deep bowl, at least six to eight inches in depth. Cover the pomegranate with water. With your hands under water, gently pull apart the white pith and skin. Let the seeds drop to the bottom of the bowl. Continue until all seeds release from the skin and pith. Scoop off the floating skin and pith. Drain off the water and the seeds will remain.
Pomegranate with Greens
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons honey mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
Black pepper to taste
1 head of Boston lettuce or your favorite
1 cup grapefruit sections (about 1 grapefruit)
2 medium red delicious apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 pomegranate, seeds removed (above ¾ cup)
3 Tablespoons feta cheese, crumbled
In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, water, mustard, garlic and pepper. In large bowl, toss remaining ingredients. Drizzle vinaigrette on top and toss gently until evenly coated. Enjoy!
Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at email@example.com.