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Superfood of the Week: The Health Benefits of Pomegranates
Many shy away from buying pomegranates due to its unfamiliarity. When people see pomegranates they may be able to recognize them, but are unsure of what to do next. What is the best way to open it? Once opened which parts can be eaten? How is it eaten? What types of recipes can be made with them? So many questions for one fruit!
Pomegranates may seem intimidating, but once you learn the basics you’ll be eating them with ease. First some pomegranate facts:
- Pomegranates are in season from October through January; peak season is October to November.
- They are especially high in antioxidants that may help in the prevention of cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease.
- They are a great source of vitamin C and fiber.
- Pomegranates are also quite low in calories—an entire one contains about 105 calories.
- When choosing a pomegranate, here are some tips: The heavier the fruit the juicier it will be. If the product is dimpled, that means it will be sweeter. Choose pomegranates without any cracks or splits in the skin.
- Whole pomegranates can be held at room temperature for several days away from sunlight, or they can be kept refrigerated for up to two months in plastic bags.
- The seeds of the pomegranate can be refrigerated in plastic bags for up to three days, or can be frozen for up to one year in air-tight containers. Juice can be refrigerated for up to three days and frozen for six months.
The tricky part comes when preparing the pomegranate, but it’s easier than you may think! To prepare, cut the crown off of the pomegranate and then slice the pomegranate into equal size sections. Place the sections in a bowl of lukewarm water and roll out the arils (seed-like juice sacs) with your fingers. Discard everything else. Once you’ve rolled out all of the arils strain the water and voila! You have successfully prepared your pomegranate.
Now that you have your pomegranates ready, it’s time to eat! Pomegranates can be eaten as is, sprinkled in salads or in yogurts, or used in a delicious recipe such as Barley with Pomegranate Seeds.
Pomegranates can also be used in marinades and glazes on your favorite dishes, or as a garnish to add some color to your plate. Looking for a way to drink pomegranate? The seeds are often used to create juice, so pop the seeds in a juicer or blender, or add them to smoothies for refreshing and healthy drinks! Or, to make things even easier, I also love POM Wonderful pomegranate juice.
Eat outside of your comfort zone and try a pomegranate today!