Five Ways to Eat Pomegranates

An opened pomegranate
An opened pomegranate Wikimedia Commons

Post-holidays, most people take at least a passing interest in eating healthier. I know I do, anyway. That's what motivated me to pick up a whole, fresh pomegranate at the grocery store a few days ago—I'd heard that this round, red fruit is a "superfood," packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Never mind that I hadn't a clue how to open the thing, let alone prepare it! That's what the Internet is for...

In case you're clueless, too, here are a few tips on what to do with fresh pomegranates.

1) This video on Food52, a wonderful recipe-sharing site developed in part by former New York Times food writer Amanda Hesser, shows a simple technique for extracting the pomegranate seeds. Related recipes on the same site include an arugula, pear and goat cheese salad with pomegranate vinaigrette, a cranberry pomegranate compote, and roasted brussels sprouts with hazelnut and pomegranate (mmm, I might make that one tonight).

2) Add an exotic twist to fresh salsa by incorporating pomegranate seeds. I like the look of this kiwi-pomegranate salsa from Simply Recipes, and I bet some chunks of fresh mango would taste great in there, too.

3) The Wednesday Chef has another intriguing idea: carrot soup topped with pomegranate seeds. This recipe also calls for a touch of pomegranate molasses, which you can find at Middle Eastern grocery stores (I even found a few bottles for sale at the falafel shop in my neighborhood) or in the international aisle of larger chain supermarkets. It's delicious in muhammara, a spread/dip made with roasted red peppers and walnuts.

4) Liven up a grain dish with pomegranate seeds—that could mean simply tossing a handful of them into couscous, or going uber-healthy with this bulgur, celery and pomegranate salad from 101 Cookbooks. They also taste great in hot oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup, as I learned this morning!

5) Drink up. You can buy pomegranate juice, but you can also squeeze your own from fresh pomegranates. It tastes good on its own, or mixed into everything from cocktails to smoothies. Food & Wine has a recipe for sparkling pomegranate punch that combines both juice and seeds with Prosecco, and Martha Stewart has a non-alcoholic variation. The doctor/blogger at Basic Eating recommends a simple pomegranate banana smoothie (he also has a related post with general pomegranate information).

That's five, but here's a bonus link, to celebrate the new year: the lovely new blog The Cooks Next Door recently had a pomegranate-themed post that includes helpful preparation tips and three recipes, such as chicken with yogurt and pomegranate.

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