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Pomegranate

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Did you know that November is National Pomegranate Month? The pomegranate season is October to early January and November is the height of the season. This means it’s time to enjoy some pomegranates.

About the pomegranate
The pomegranate fruit grows on shrub-like trees with glossy, narrow leaves and bright red tube-shaped flowers. The tree typically grows to about 12 to 16 feet tall. The fruit is a berry and its size ranges from a lemon to a grapefruit, about 2.5 to 5 inches wide typically. The fruit has a thick, red, leathery skin. Inside, there are bunches of red arils (seeds) filled with juice surrounded by lots of white pulp membrane. The seeds are removed and are commonly used to make pomegranate juice. Pomegranate juice has a light sweet and tart flavor. The seeds can be consumed raw and can be used as toppings in salads or other dishes. Pomegranates can be incorporated into dips and salsas or made into pomegranate jelly or compote. The pomegranate is also very nutritious and a great source of antioxidants.

How to choose one
Pomegranates are picked when ripe and so they are ready to eat when you find them in the store. Look for pomegranates that are heavy, filled with juice, and smooth and firm skin.

What to do with the pomegranate
After picking up the fruit, I guess the first step is to remove the seeds from the pomegranate. Then, we can make juice or use them in recipes as desired.

Note: The juice from the pomegranate stains clothing, so avoid big splatters while handling the pomegranate.

Here are some links showing ways to de-seed a pomegranate:
3-Step No Mess from Pomegranate Council
How to Cut and De-Seed a Pomegranate from Simply Recipes
Video from Gourmet Test Kitchen

After separating the seeds, juicing the pomegranate is pretty simple:
Place the seeds into a blender. Blend until it becomes a liquid. Pour through a strainer to separate the juice from the pulp.

Links to some recipes:
Pomegranate recipes on Epicurious
Recipes from California Pomegranate Council
Recipes from POM wonderful

Suggestions welcomed!
I like to drink pomegranate juice, but I’ve never juiced my own pomegranate. I usually buy the bottles. When I do come across the actual fruit, I find it fun to break open the pomegranate and nibble away at the seeds.
Adam and Eve makes a great pomegranate with cranberry juice. POM Wonderful has their 100% pomegranate juice in a cute bottle. They also have a nice selection of pomegranate fruit juices (mango, blueberry, and cherry, to name a few) and awesome teas, like pomegranate lychee green tea and pomegranate peach white tea.

I’m thinking of maybe… pomegranate pancakes. I love breakfast foods. Know of any good pomegranate recipes?

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