Cooking with Pomegranates

The pomegranate or Punica granatum was known in France as a “pomme garnete” which quite literally means “seeded apple,” is a fruit that is native to a region spanning from the Eastern Mediterranean to India. Pomegranates usually have a thick pink or red cover, with the flavor coming from the hundreds of seeds contained within called arils. These arils contain a lot of antioxidants and vitamin C and their sweet and tangy flavor makes them a unique addition to any meal.

The very best method for accessing the seeds is to:

  • Score the fruit into four parts
  • Break it in half and then quarters
  • Place the quarters in a bowl of cold water
  • Roll the arils out manually
  • Strain the seeds out

Pomegranate seeds have a wide variety of applications in meal preparation. They not only add a unique flavor to the recipe they’re used in, but also bring a lot of health benefits to their consumers. There are a lot of different ways a pomegranate can be used in a meal, including:

  • Stuffing: Pomegranates can be used to stuff turkey or as a standalone side dish
  • Jelly: A perfect pomegranate spread for breakfast, biscuits and toast
  • Molasses: Pomegranate molasses is a healthy to desserts and makes for a great marinade
  • Chutney: For light snacks like crackers, pomegranate makes for a great dip or condiment
  • Fesenjan: A Persian delicacy mixing lamb, walnuts, cinnamon, cardamom and pomegranate
  • Juice: A healthy addition to most breakfasts, pomegranate juice refreshes you instantly
  • Syrup: Pomegranate syrups add a sweet and tangy flavor to the meal they are had with

The following is a list containing a brief description of some popular pomegranate based recipes:

Pomegranate Cranberry Star-fruit Chicken: A very popular recipe especially during Jewish festivals, this recipe involves spreading a sauce made of pomegranates, lemons and honey over pan roasted chicken and baking the resulting mix, garnishing with fresh star fruits. This take on chicken makes for sweet festive memories.

Pomegranate Syrup Chicken: In this dish, the pomegranate is juiced and combined with pomegranate syrup, honey, garlic, black pepper and thyme, making a flavor rich marinade for the chicken. After pouring this mix over the chicken, it is baked with the remainder is cooked with a little corn starch for use as a sauce. Garnishing with pomegranate seeds is recommended.

Pomegranate offers a wide variety of health benefits given its high antioxidant content but the number of uses it has in the field of gastronomy is limited only by the chef’s imagination.

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