Saturday, January 14, 2012

Pomegranates


Pomegranates are an interesting fruit- slightly intimidating perhaps, but interesting nonetheless. The name means "seeded apple" in Latin- appropriate enough since inside the fruit are hundreds of seeds covered in sweet-tart, pulpy juice.
It looks more like a garden of faceted garnets than anything edible.
And although I'm talking about pomegranates, I sit here and eat grapefruit with a spoon for breakfast while I type. Now that I've done it, I wouldn't recommend it since I have grapefruit juice splashed on the screen.




Pomegranates originally came from the Middle East, and are in season during the fall and winter months. If you're able to take advantage of one or two before the end of the season, they're a fantastic addition to your culinary repertoire.  The jewel-like arils are great for eating out of hand or as a garnish for chicken, pork, or used as a festive pop of color and flavor to a salad.


Before pomegranate juice was available in most groceries, grenadine was (and is) readily available as a pomegranate syrup used in drinks. 
Pomegranate juice and fruit is readily available in the Middle East and India, and probably as prolific and "normal" as you might say orange juice is in the U.S.

The fruit is more valued than just it's use as fruit- the city of Granada in Spain is named after the fruit and garnets may be named after the fruit for their shared deep shade of red, and it's a very symbolic fruit in many cultures. 


Perhaps we can call this a pomegranate primer.


I'm only saying this because I don't think many people try to use pomegranates at home... and I'm trying to encourage it. It's something like pomegranate advocacy.

The easiest way I've found to deal with a pomegranate is this:
Cut the pomegranate in half, or alternatively, score it, remove some of the peel, and break a piece off.
Fill a bowl with cold water, place the piece of pomegranate in the bowl, try to bend the peel inside-out, and use your fingers to remove the seeds from the peel and pith.



The seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl relatively undamaged and any peel and membrane will float to the top.
The floating bits can be removed by hand or skimmed off, and the seeds are easily retrieved when the water is drained.


5 comments:

  1. So Nat, do you spit the seed out (under the juice) or do you swallow it?

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  2. Pomegranates: The etymology is: something like pomme granita = seedy apple. Same root as a "grenade", "grains" of stuff flying all over. "Garnet" might come from Grenada, though.

    Comment va, Natalie?

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  3. OOps, I misread you,Natalie. Going too fast. Actually, isn't the word for apple "Malus" in classical Latin? So I think Pomegranate came from Middle French. Anyway, seedy apple is a good translation.

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    Replies
    1. You, of course, would be the better one to discuss etymology! I think we should probably go with your explanation. Though looking up pomum (Latin for fruit, but can apparently be used specifically for "apple"???) will give the interesting connection to the word "pomade"...
      I didn't read into it, but I probably should since it leaves me wondering what "generally greasy hair product" has to do with fruit. Then I wonder why "apple" would have two useable Latin words and how we really can be sure that the two words are interchangeable...
      I just don't know.

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