Just when the winter is at its darkest, the pomegranates arrive. These jewel-tone fruits—and their highly prized juice—add a colorful touch to salads, entrées, desserts, cocktails and more. “The fresh domestic season goes through February,” says Robert Schueller, Director of Public Relations at Melissa’s Produce and “Produce Guru” for Cooking Light magazine. “But you don’t need to buy whole fruit only, because we’re now selling the arils—the fleshy inner seeds—by themselves in the refrigerator section all year long.”
If your produce supplier offers you a deal on a case or more of whole pomegranates, you might want to snap it up, since the fruit keeps for weeks on the counter (or even longer when stored in the walk-in).
“They’re unusual in that not a lot of fruits have red flesh,” Schueller says. “That color means they’re rich in the antioxidant anthocyanin, which is why many call them a superfood. While they aren’t really an everyday fruit in the western world, in the Middle East and the Mediterranean, they’re seen as a staple—sort of like the way we view apples.”
One of Schueller’s favorite ways to enjoy pomegranate arils is in Mexico’s most patriotic dish, Chiles en Nogada. Similar to cheese-stuffed rellenos, this dish calls for the chiles to be filled with meat, nuts and fruit, topped with a nut sauce and finished with a sprinkle of parsley and pomegranate arils. The three colors in the dish represent the red, white and green of the Mexican flag.
Prep tip: The underwater method
While there are many methods to get at all those lovely arils, many chefs swear by an underwater prep. First, lightly score the fruit around the midline, enough to pierce skin but not disturb the inside. Insert thumbs and pull apart. Submerge the two halves in a bowl of room temperature water and pull apart the fruit. Sharply rap the end of each half with a spoon, releasing arils into the water. As seeds sink to the bottom, use a sieve to remove floating pith. Drain water, pat arils dry and enjoy.
T. Marzetti® Tip
Marzetti® Pomegranate Vinaigrette is a refreshing combination of pomegranate and orange delicately blended with mild spices, vinegar and oil for a delicious, fresh-tasting dressing. The rich color and flavor will brighten even the simplest tossed green salad.
Los Angles’ Times story on Chiles en Nogada
Bon Appetit offers 3 Drastically Different Ways to Use Pomegranate Seeds
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