Fruit Profile: Pomegranates
Pomegranates are a member of the Punicaceas family. Its name comes from the French words “pomme garnete”, meaning seeded apple. Every pomegranate fruit is composed of a rind, inner membrane and seeds. Seeds are covered with juicy, ruby-red pulp which provides a refreshing sweet and tart notes.
Origin of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are believed to have originated in Iran over 4000 years ago.
Pomegranates start to appear in the markets in Autumn.
What to look for when buying pomegranates
Select firm, bright red to pink-blushed pomegranates that feel heavy for their size. Make sure that the skin is blemish free and still moist.
How to store pomegranates
Leave pomegranates at room temperature, out of direct sunlight for up to one week.
How to prepare pomegranates
Using a small sharp knife, pierce the thin, leathery skin and slice the fruit open. Gently squeeze the fruit. Then using a teaspoon, dislodge the edible ruby-red seeds from the soft, white membrane.
Where to use pomegranates
Pomegranate seeds can be added to fresh salads, fruit salads, or sprinkled over desserts like rice pudding and aşure.
Nutritional Profile of Pomegranates
Pomegranates are particularly rich in:
Vitamins: vitamin C, K, B1, B6, B3, B5 and vitamin E.
Minerals: copper, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and selenium.
Phytochemicals: anthocyanins, cyanidin, ellagic acid, ellagitannins, pelargonidin, punicalagin and punicalin.
The other notable nutrients in pomegranates include: omega-6, mono and polyunsaturated fat, carbohydrates and large amount of fibre.
Pomegranate molasses is made of fresh pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. The mixture is reduced to a thick syrup that has a very dark colour. Although it is sweet, it is also quite sharp. Therefore, should be used sparingly.
Where to use pomegranate molasses
Pomegranate molasses is a staple ingredient in Turkish, Azerbaijani and Middle Eastern cuisine. It can be used in vegetable stews, casseroles, marinades, desserts, dips and salads (e. g. Kısır) to add depth and richness.