Now is the time to enjoy that brief window when pomegranates brighten the produce aisle with their brilliantly red color and juicy, sweet-tart flavor.
At the end of September and usually into January, these bulb-shaped crimson fruits make colorful mounds in super-markets.
Endemic to Iran and northern India, this fruit was fitted and cultured all over the Mediterranean for millennia of years.
Today, most of the pomegranates made in the United States are developed in Arizona and California, as they flourish in a semi-arid climate with cool winters and hot, dry (not humid) summers.
This regal fruit, with its leathery red skin and The small crown, is a complex one.
It houses hundreds of arils (tiny seeds)— as many as 800 per fruit—encased in juicy, brilliant red pulp separated into clusters by a bitter cream-colored membrane.
Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, they deliver good health and cheer this season. It takes a bit of time to get at them, but it’s well worth the effort.
Choose heavy, plump, and rounded fruits with bright, blemish-free skins.
(Their heft indicates a large number of seeds and retention of moisture—older fruits begin to shrink as they dry out).
Although several different pomegranate varieties are produced for a market that ranges in size and balance of sweet to tart flavor, they are not usually identified.
Store whole fruits in a cool, dark place for up to 1 month or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Store seeds in a covered container in the fridge for a couple of days, or refrigerate them in a closed freezer container for up to 1 year.
Using a sharp knife, cut the fruit vertically in half. Using your hands, gently break the halves into smaller sections.
The vivid-red juice can stain, so clean the work surface immediately with warm, soapy water. Consider wearing an apron or work shirt, as the seeds can be messy.
Place the pomegranate sections in a bowl of water. Using your fingers, gently loosen the seeds from each section into the water. The seeds will drop to the base of the bowl.
Discard the peel and membrane that will be left floating on top. Pour the water and pomegranate seeds through a sieve to catch the roots.
One medium pomegranate yields about ½ cup seeds. Use the seeds in desserts, salads, beverages, and more.
Spiced Pomegranate-Honey Shrub
In a 3½ – to 4-qt. Slow cooker, combine the seeds and juice from 4 pomegranates (see above for prep), eight 2-inch strips of zest cut from 2 lemons and their juice, 1½ cups red wine vinegar, 1 cup honey, ½ cup sugar, and two cinnamon sticks.
Mash the seeds slightly with a potato masher—cover and cook on low for 4 hours. Remove crock from the cooker, if possible.
Let stand uncovered for 1 hour. Press mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and discard solids.
Cover and chill syrup for 4 to 24 hours. To serve, pour 3 Tbs. Syrup into an ice-filled rock glass.
Slowly add 1/3 cup chilled club soda. If desired, add 2 Tbs. Brandy.
Stir gently. Top with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Other Super Easy Recipes
Pomegranate-Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Boil three spiralized medium sweet potatoes in lightly salted water for 2 minutes; drain.
In the same pot, combine 1/3 cup pomegranate juice, 1/3 cup honey, 3 Tbs. Butter, ½ tsp. Salt, ½ tsp. Ground cardamom, and ¼ tsp. Pepper, and bring to a boil.
Simmer, uncovered, until thickened and of a glaze consistency, 5 minutes.
Add sweet potatoes and gently toss to glaze. Remove from heat and stir in chopped fresh parsley and mint.
Transfer to a serving dish. Top with pomegranate seeds.
Macerated Grapefruit with Pistachios and Pomegranate
Combine ½ cup unsweetened pink grapefruit juice, ¼ cup honey, and ½ tsp—ground coriander.
Remove skin and membrane from 4 grapefruits and slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Place in a large wide-mouth jar and cover with grapefruit juice mixture.
Cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 5 days. To serve, divide among shallow bowls; pour the liquid over slices.
Top with coarsely chopped pistachios and pomegranate seeds.
Pomegranate, Cranberry, and Brie Bruschetta
Combine ¾ cup pomegranate seeds, ½ cup chopped fresh cranberries, 2 Tbs. Sugar, and 1 tsp. Orange zest.
Brush 16 baguette slices with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
Bake at 350°F until crisp, turning once, 8 minutes. Top each slice with a slice of log Brie cheese.
Bake until softened, 4 minutes. Stir chopped fresh basil into pomegranate mixture and spoon on top of bruschetta.
Wilted Chicken Salad with Pomegranate Dressing
Bring ¾ cup pomegranate juice to a boil. Reduce to ¼ cup, 5 to 8 minutes. Cook 1 lb. chicken tenderloins in olive oil until no longer pink; remove from pan and keep warm.
Cook wedges cut from half of a medium red onion in olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper just until onion is tender.
Stir in reduced pomegranate juice and 2 Tbs. Red wine vinegar.
Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat.
Stir in snipped fresh oregano. Gradually add two 6-oz. pkg. Baby spinach to the pan, tossing just until wilted. Transfer to a serving platter.
Top with chicken, pomegranate seeds, and toasted slivered almonds.
Orange and Pomegranate Overnight Oats
In a standard bowl, stir together 2 cups rolled oats, 1 cup milk, 1 cup apple juice, ½ cup pomegranate seeds, and 1 tsp. each orange zest and ground cinnamon.
Divide among four half-pint jars with lids. Cover and refrigerate for no less than six hours and up to 24 hours.
Top with plain yogurt and additional pomegranate seeds.