The Pomegranate - A Favorite Fruit with Many Health Benefits
Pomegranates, a beautiful fruit
I love pomegranates. Big, round and beautiful inside, these fruits come from a pomegranate tree, and these trees can grow up to 25 feet tall. They can live for many years, and produce much fruit. When the tree is flowering, it produces white and red flowers. After planting a pomegranate tree, the fruits will start to show after one year. They are also known as Chinese apple, or Granada.
As a kid, my mother was always trying to get my sister and I to eat more fruits and vegetables. I recall her getting us a pomegranate once, and I just fell in love with them. The only downside to me was all the little seeds, but it was a just a small negative. I love them even better when they are cold. They are definitely a fruit I would eat, and still will enjoy on occasion. Now it is my own children that like them. The fiber contained in pomegranates are in that little seed, by the way, and its okay to eat them as you like. Its just a personal choice.
If you search around, you will see more people using them in recipes for liqueurs, cakes, cookies, salads, jellies, and added to meat dishes, and more. You also will see an abundance of juices for sale, and pomegranate blends in juices. We love these in our house as well.
Pomegranates are becoming a more and more popular exotic fruit. They originate in the Middle East, and Asia, but you can find them in the United States as well, in California and Arizona at least. Other counteis they are grown in include, Africa, Southern Europe, Malaysia, and India. Basically, they thrive well in areas where there are more mild temperatures and fairly low humidity.
Finding good pomegranates
You are likely able to find pomegranates for sale starting in August and going through November, in larger supermarket chains and at special fruit and vegetable stores. What you want to look for is a firm to the touch fruit, and a finish on the pomegranate that isn't dull. Of course you want to avoid marks and bruises on it if possible. The heavier the fruit, the fresher it is, and it will store for up to one month if refrigerated, which is nice. Some store the seeds carefully in the freezer and they can last up to 3 months there.
Here is a list of some of the types of pomegranates out there: Early Wonderful, Phoenicia, Wonderful, Green Globe, Fleshman, Balegal, Cloud, Crab, King, and more. I had no idea there were so many varieties. No matter which you choose or have access too, you will benefit from the nutrition they have to offer.
Health Benefits of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are a great source of vitamin C, and are low in fat and calories. One whole pomegranate contains only about 100 calories. There is no cholesterol and no sodium in a pomegranate either. Here is a list of things that some have said that pomegranates can help with: Improved blood flow to the heart, reduces plaque build up in arteries, combats free radicals, and helps to prevent heart disease, stroke, hypertension, premature aging and cancer. Help for hemorrhoids, fertility and lower blood pressure can be added to the list as well. That list, isn't even exhaustive, but you get the idea. Its been touted as being an antioxidant superpower. They say even if you can't eat or don't want to eat the fruit itself, then drink some of the juice.
That we see pomegranates being incorporated even into some fun ice cream flavors is a great thing, in my opinion.
Here are some fun recipe ideas that you can look up at your leisure, if cooking with pomegranates is something you want to do in the future. Why not try, pomegranate ginger muffins, pomegranate parfaits, cheesecake with pomegranate topping, hot and sweet red pepper dip, or holiday pomegranate compote? There are many more things as well, like roasted salmon with pomegranate and avocado salsa, halibut with pomegranate stuffing, pomegranate marinated rack of lamb, pomegranate and honey roasted game hens, and the list goes on. I just had no idea people were using it in cooking, but it makes complete sense to add such a tasty fruit as this to more meals in our lives.
Pomegranates are also being used more in decorating, even just to add to a fruit bowl on top of the table is very attractive to spice up a regular fruit bowl. If you buy it, people may just eat it which is a great thing.