As a supermarket dietitian, I am always getting questions about produce items. This is one section of the store that foods don’t come with labels or preparation instructions. The produce section intimidates many people. Part of my job at Hy-Vee is to help educate people and make fruits and vegetables a positive experience. Pomegranates are one of the fruits that look great, but most people shy away from. Like the beautiful red Christmas lights and decorations sprinkled everywhere, pomegranates have a lot of Christmas spirit.
Pomegranates have a NuVal score of 91, so you know they are good for you. They are rich in antioxidants, fiber, potassium and vitamin C. Choose pomegranates that are brightly colored and heavy for their size. Heavy pomegranates are packed full of juicy seeds. You can store your pomegranate on the counter for up to one month and in the fridge for up to two months. Pomegranates make a great, festive addition to holiday arrangements and centerpieces.
Once you get the pomegranate home, you may wonder how to eat it. The edible part of the fruit is called the aril. This is the seed surrounded by a juice sac. When you bite the aril, the sweet-tart juice will pop in your mouth and then you are left with a crunchy seed to chew. The flavor is similar to a raspberry.
To get the seeds out, cut off the top about a half-inch below the crown. Quarter the fruit then submerge in a bowl of water. Loosen all the remaining seeds. The arils will sink to the bottom. Discard the peel and the white membrane. Using a bowl of water will help to keep juice splatters off of you and your kitchen.
To eat, add to yogurt, salads, oatmeal, cold cereal or even ice cream. Or one of new new, favorite pomegranate recipes is Wild Rice Pomegranate Salad from our very own Sara Passante.
Wild Rice and Pomegranate Salad
All you need:
1 ½ c. wild rice (uncooked)
5 c. boiling water
1 tsp. salt
1 bunch green onions
1 Pomegranate, seeded
2 oranges, peeled and sliced
½ c. dried cranberries
¾ c.-1 c. Pomegranate or raspberry dressing
½ c. chopped pecans
All you do:
1. Rinse wild rice under cold water. Add rice to boiling water in a medium sauce pan and add 1 tsp. salt.
2. Simmer for 45-55 min, or until rice is tender and starting to open. Drain any excess water from pan and rinse rice under cold water.
3. While rice cooks combine finely chopped onions, pomegranate seeds, sliced oranges, dried cranberries, and dressing in a large serving bowl. Add cooked rice and stir to combine well. Sprinkle with pecans and serve immediately or chill for up to 6 hrs.