Celebrating the Pomegranate
November may have been National Pomegranate Month, but there’s still plenty of time to get your pom on (it’s in season til January). In fact, I think of the pomegranate -- with its glistening ruby red jewel-like seeds (also known as arils) -- as a December fruit, bringing to mind Christmas tree lights and big globe ornaments hanging from the boughs of a Douglas fir.
In a word, she’s stunning.
But the pomegranate isn’t just a beauty contest winner in the produce aisle; she’s also one of the most nutritious (polyphenol antioxidants galore, beating out red wine) and ancient (dating to prehistoric times -- was it a pom instead of an apple that tempted Adam and Eve?) fruits on the planet.
Most first-timers are flummoxed by the seemingly off-putting rind, slicing through to the juicy aril network and navigating the fibrous membranes -- without painting you and the kitchen walls ruby red. Tampa, Fla.-based blogger Jaden Hair, who pens Steamy Kitchen, offers a moron-proof, stain-less method in this handy how-to video -- by manipulating the arils under water. (She also shares details for a tantalizing pom salad with crisped-up prosciutto, candied walnuts and gorgonzola. Yowza.)
If you've got a clever, original or hilarious pom-opening method up your sleeve, you may want to consider getting it all on film and entering your masterpiece in the How to Open A Pomegranate Video Contest, sponsored by PomFresh pomegranate company. (Apparently, a MacBook Pro and HD Camcorder are the prizes up for grabs!)
Now, let’s get to some recipes. Over the years, I’ve bejeweled my goat cheese-onion tart with pomegranate seeds, and they are a terrifically tart companion to the fatty goat cheese and savory pastry dough. A great combo.
Simpler still, make a pot of coconut rice (1/2 part water, ½ part coconut milk), then dot it with the arils and you’ve got a cinchy side dish that looks like freshly driven snow. There’s something majestic about the color contrast.
Over at 101Cookbooks, blogger Heidi Swanson dishes up a pom salad with bulgur, celery, lots of mint and walnuts, plus a kicky pom vinaigrette.
I like the sound of this lentil soup with chard and pomegranates from The Kitchn gang. Sounds like a take on Clifford Wright’s Syrian-style lentils that I’ve come to love, but using pomegranate molasses instead of the seeds. (The “molasses,” by the way, is pom juice that’s cooked and reduced to a molasses-like syrup.)
At Simply Recipes, blogger Elise Bauer offers how-to details on making pom jelly, which sounds intriguing enough to pull out the Ball jars and set aside an afternoon for canning. Hmm...interesting holiday gift idea...
No recipe, but some mental eye candy for consideration: A few weeks ago at Serious Pie, Tom Douglas’s pizza joint in Seattle, Mister MA and I shared a sublime salad of arugula, persimmon and pomegranate seeds that had me licking my fingers.
Are you a pom freak like me? Share your love for the December belle of the fruit ball in the comments area below.
WHADDYA DOIN' TONIGHT?: Celebritology blogger Liz Kelly and I will be on hand tonight, 6 - 8 p.m., for an official meet-and-greet at D.C.'s M Bar at the Renaissance M St Hotel. Come on out. We've got themed cocktails, an iPod shuffle raffle thingy and plenty of good conversation.
By Kim ODonnel |
December 4, 2008; 8:30 AM ET
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