January is a bit of a dark and dreary month – grey, prone to be wet, often lacking in both snow and sun as well as full of people making New Year’s resolutions, and breaking them!
After enjoying the theme of rye I wanted another healthy, but prettier and more colourful subject to finish off January! What better one than Pomegranate. Absolutely brimming with health, beautiful to look at and eat, crunchy, juicy, sweet and sour – it has it all.
Thought to be native to Persia, the fruit is now grown everywhere from Spain to California. It features richly in mythology, as a symbol of birth, eternal life, and death, owing to its abundance of seeds and ability to ‘bleed’. The deep red skin of the pomegranate was thought to link it to the blood of the earth, a taboo colour. Hence the fruit’s association with forbidden desire (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3937053.stm).
The edible pomegranate fruit is a berry and has thick reddish skin. There can be between 200 and 1400 seeds in a pomegranate fruit and to many these are considered a nightmare to remove! A few tips to those that fall in this category:
- open the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open then chuck it all into a bowl filled with cold, clean tap water. The red arils (seeds) will sink and the inedible pulp float – it works a treat
- according to Wikipedia, another option is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon. The arils should eject from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded arils to remove (I can imagine the mess though and have personally never done it this way!!)
Apart from providing an abundance of Vitamin C as well as fibre, pomegranates are filled with antioxidants – as raspberries and other berries – which protect the body from the nasty chemicals in the blood (which gets there through our own bad habits! Read more about that here!). Finally it can help to prevent heart disease, relieve stress and may improve your sex life – if that is not enough to convince you to try some of my recipes, the fruit may hold the key of youth (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2060163/Pomegranate-prevents-heart-disease-improves-sex-life-elixir-youth.html)!
As a start, here is a stunning way to enjoy the pomegranate seeds! A throw-it-all-in salad!
Pomegranate Throw-in Salad
green leaves of your choice – I love watercress, baby spinach and rocket leaves
boiled or poached egg – semi-hard to hard-boiled/poached
half the seeds of a pomegranate
big spoonful of hummus
thick slices of roast turkey breast (or pieces of turkey ends)
red pepper slices
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar (or glaze)
- Boil an egg for 8-9 minutes or poach for 5 minutes – let cool
- Wash and pat try your leaves and lay them on a plate
- Wash and grate a carrot and place on leaves
- Slice open an avocado, cut into slices and lay these on leaves
- Lay the turkey ends on the leaves
- Wash and slice a red pepper – lay some of the slices on your place
- Lay a great big dollop of hummus on the side of the leaves – recipe here
- Throw on some olives
- Scatter a small handful of blueberries on top
- Finally, the pièce de résistance, the pomegranate seeds! Prepare as mentioned above and scatter generously on the leaves
- Dress with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (or glaze)
- Serve with a piece of toasted rye bread, bread sticks, rye crisps….choices are many!