If you like the sweet and tangy flavor of pomegranates, now is the time to incorporate them into you menu plan, because they are in season through November. Read on to learn some of the nutritional benefits of pomegranates, and for a few recipes to try while they are in season.
As fall arrives we can enjoy the sweet, tart, juicy taste of pomegranates. These native
Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fruits used on anything from salads to desserts are an excellent source of the phytochemcials, making them one of the best antioxidants. The
edible seeds of these yellow-orange to a deep red colored fruits have a citrus flavor and
make a delicious juice.
The last few years, the health value of the pomegranate has been under study. Research
is now showing us that the pomegranates may be one of the best antioxidant fruits that
can fight cancer, slow down the aging process, increase heart health and help with
Alzheimer’s disease. True, not all the research is in, but several studies from UCLA and
USDA indicate that pomegranates are a major stabilizer of cancer. The naturally
occurring antioxidants in this fruit fight the free radicals that do promote disease.
One average pomegranate contains about 100 calories and 25 grams of sugar. They are
also a good source of potassium.
Opening a pomegranate can be messy; however, if you cut the blossom end off and score
through the skin marking the fruit in quarters, you can submerge the pomegranate in ice
cold water and rub the seeds off the skins. The skin will float to the top, the seeds to the
bottom and then drain off the fruit.
To store pomegranates, keep at room temperature for a week, refrigerate in an air tight
bag for up to 3 months, or freeze the seeds for 6 months to a year.
Most pomegranates are imported into Utah markets and grocery stores from California
and Arizona; however two varieties are produced in Washington County, Utah. The light
pink seeded Dixie Sweet is native to the Southern Utah warm climate with soft and sweet
seeds. Other southern Utah-grown pomegranates and those imported may have darker
and harder seeds. If you have an opportunity to travel to southern Utah, take the time to
consume these locally grown fruits. No matter where you consume them, a pomegranate
could be one of the best foods you can give your health. The harvesting time for
pomegranates is October through November; you will find them in most Utah grocery
stores during October into December. Pomegranates are a treat, enjoyable as a salsa, in
salads, with main dishes, as jelly and syrups, or just by the hand full, so eat up and enjoy.
- 1 pomegranate, seeded
- 2 oranges, peeled and cut into small pieces
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1 Chile jalapeño, chopped
- 1 tomato, diced
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1-2 Tbsp lime juice
Score, and break pomegranate apart in ice water. Drain the pomegranate seeds. Add all
ingredients and chill for 2 hours before serving.
- 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, fresh, frozen and thawed, or bottled
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 package (2 ounces) powdered pectin
- 4 1/2 cups sugar
Combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and pectin in a 4 or 5-quart pot. Bring to a boil
over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar until well blended; return to a
boil and continue boiling, uncovered, and stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Remove
jelly from heat immediately.
Process in hot water bath 15 minutes. Cool for 24 hours and then remove the ring before
storing on the shelf.
This article was written by Carolyn Washburn, retired Utah State University Extension associate professor,