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This week I thought I’d take a look at pomegranates which are in season and stunning. Many are a little bemused by them, but there is no need to be – and I’ll show you why.
The pomegranate is a small tree or shrub native to the region of Persia and the Himalayan area where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. It is very drought tolerant and will grow almost anywhere, but prefers a sunny dry climate and has been grown in the Riverland of South Australia and Victoria for many years. Pomegranates are a good source of the vitamins C and B5, are thought to be effective in reducing heart disease and are currently being touted as one of the super-foods, although I always think a little scepticism is healthy when such claims are made.
Pomegranates are highly valued for the beauty of the fruit and it’s jewelled seeds and the fruit and juice are widely used in Persian, Indian, Pakistani and many Middle Eastern cuisines. They can be juiced by cutting them in half and juicing in a citrus press, or the seeds can be extracted by halving them, turning them over and hitting the back of the fruit firmly with a spoon until the seeds fall out. The seeds are frequently used as a garnish and pomegranate juice is used in many recipes, as is a pantry essential – pomegranate molasses.
A favourite recipe of mine is one by Yotam Ottolenghi from his book “Plenty”. This is a fantastic salad and one in which the flavour of the pomegranates really shows through. It is, like anything I really like to cook, dead simple, only taking a bit of time to cook the eggplant.[mc4wp_form id="16750"]