A fruit with reddish gold seeds. This is how the pomegranate, known as a fertility symbol, can be described. Under its tough skin are a multitude of small, fleshy seed pods (arils), which are the only parts of the fruit that can be eaten. Used since time immemorial in Middle Eastern cuisine, the pomegranate is both sour and sweet. It has now happily found a place in Western cuisines.

For eating, winter is the best time for pomegranate. Choose a shiny fruit with bright red skin, and one that is heavy, a sign of a juicy fruit. Pomegranate seeds are also available, packed in trays, from certain retailers. You can also find frozen or dried pomegranate seeds, pasteurized or frozen pomegranate puree, and pomegranate juice.

To remove the seeds, the top should be cut off with a good knife. Quarter the fruit and put the pieces into a bowl of water. Then scrape. The seeds will be released and sink to the bottom of the bowl. The pieces of inedible white pith wil float to the surface and are easily removed. Transfer the seeds to a colander, then crush them through a strainer into a bowl, or blend quickly and strain the juice through a fine strainer.

Pomegranates should not be cooked, but their dried seeds can be added to cakes and muffins, just like raisins.

Pomegranate is more easily consumed as juice. But its fresh or dried arils (seed pods) can be added to drinks, such as smoothies, fruit or green salads, and to rice or other cereals. Briskly sautéed, the seeds make an excellent accompaniment for roasted meat, chicken, fish and shellfish, and vegetables.

The thick skin of a pomegranate protects the seeds from quickly deteriorating. A pomegranate can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. Once removed, the seeds are easy to freeze.

Pomegranate is the fruit with the highest content of different antioxidants. Drinking pomegranate juice regularly can help to prevent cardiovascular diseases and possible certain types of cancer.

There are many varieties of pomegranate, but only two varieties are sold in France, Gordo de Javita and Mollar de Elche, because they are the least bitter and also the sweetest.


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