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Pomegranates: deliciously nutritious

Date
Ancient health food ... pomegranates are thought to be the world's oldest fruit.

Ancient health food ... pomegranates are thought to be the world's oldest fruit. Photo: Jennifer Soo

Pomegranates have become the poster fruit for healthy eating and not without reason - they're beautiful, delicious and full of vitamins. Here are some fun pomegranate facts and creative ways to prep this luscious fruit.

The name comes from the Latin words pomum granatum, which literally means "seeded apple". It's the oldest known fruit; experts trace its origins back to northern India and Iran. The Spanish conquistadors brought the pomegranate to America in the early 1500s.

The seeds are what you want from this succulent fruit. After you open one, you'll find hundreds of them packed into little compartments that are separated by bitter-tasting, whitish membranes. Each seed is surrounded by a transparent red pulp that is sweet yet tart - that's the tasty stuff.

All the press has gone to pomegranate juice, but nothing can replace the real deal. Half of a pomegranate (the equivalent of two servings of fruit) contains 117 calories (490kj), 26.5 grams of carbs and 5.5gm of fibre. This red beauty is also an excellent source of vitamin C , vitamin K, folate and potassium and a good source of numerous energy-boosting B vitamins and phosphorus.

But wait, there's more! This exotic fruit is jam-packed with polyphenols, antioxidants linked to the prevention of heart disease and cancer.

Opening a fresh pomegranate takes some practice. Slice the fruit in half and pry out the seeds with your hands or slice the crown end off and slit the rind vertically in several places from top to bottom. Then, place the fruit in a bowl of water, and break the sections apart. The seeds will sink to the bottom while the rind and membrane will float. Collect the seeds in a colander, and drain off the excess water.

Use a food processor to turn the seeds into fresh pomegranate juice. Don't forget to strain the results through a fine mesh sieve to catch stray seeds. You can store the juice in the freezer for up to a month.

Shopping tip: Look for fruits with shiny, smooth skins that are heavy for their size, brightly coloured and free of blemishes.

Unopened, pomegranates will last in the fridge for up to two months, or store them in a cool, dark place for a month. You can keep seeds in the refrigerator for about three days or freeze them for up to six months.

SHNS

17 comments so far

  • Thank God the Spanish conquistadors brought the pomegranate to America in the early 1500s. Now we can enjoy them in world class Australia!

    Commenter
    Bob
    Location
    Carlton
    Date and time
    April 23, 2012, 3:22PM
    • Why must we buy them off the Yanks. Can't we grow them ourselves? In my local stores they are up to $5 each and have been shipped halfway around the world leaving a large carbon footprint.

      Commenter
      Spud Murphy
      Location
      Planet Earth
      Date and time
      April 23, 2012, 3:39PM
      • Heya Spudley,
        If you live on Planet Earth, why don't you come back down to it and grow your own Pomegranates? That solves your problem of getting them from America.

        Commenter
        BatsyCline
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 23, 2012, 5:01PM
      • We have a neighbour with a pomegranate tree beside our driveway (the tree was there long before the current neighbours). It's a hardy tree and bears fruit every year. The pomegranates are a bit smaller than what you see in the shops (the size of a smallish mandarin) - but they're plentiful and cost nothing (I've used them in various recipes). The tree has never been fertilised or looked after in any way (it gets watered occasionally when I'm watering our plants - using rainwater, of course)) - but it continues to thrive - and it's at least 25 years old.

        Commenter
        doppelganger
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        April 27, 2012, 6:02PM
    • Why does the age source its online articles from online blogs?

      http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/2009/10/05/in-season-pomegranates/#more-10466

      What does SHNS mean as an author, what does it relate to? Certainty not the original author toby from the food network.

      Commenter
      Nig Som
      Location
      Melb
      Date and time
      April 23, 2012, 4:39PM
      • Fair question Nig Som. SHNS stands for Scripps Howard News Service. It is a wire service syndicating news and features from a variety of sources including The Food Network, The San Francisco Chronicle and The Seattle Times, amongst others. Like most publishers, Fairfax Media subscribes to a number of syndicated news services, these stories normally appear without a byline and are attributed to the news service solely. On shorter stories, it is the convention to use only the initials of a news service, ie. PA instead of Press Association. Some of the more common abbreviations seen on Life and Style stories are: CM - Cover Media (UK entertainment news service); DPA - Deutsche Presse Agentur (German Press agency); AFP - Agence France Presse (French press agency); AP - Associated Press (American news agency); WENN - World Entertainment News Network (UK entertainment news service).

        - Editor

        Commenter
        Nig som
        Date and time
        April 23, 2012, 5:11PM
    • Spud, you're such a cynic. Just enjoy the story of this new exotic fruit with the many seeds. I look forward to reading in more detail of this 'avocado pear' I hear they have in the States. The pomegranate is clearly to the northern Indian or Iranian what Keith Urban is to the Australian: legitimated and ready to be savoured! Let's face it, if it wasn't for the conquistador, you'd still be eating spuds back in Ireland.
      Seriously though, I do worry that this article is taking up column inches that might be better deployed on some great local journalism about coffee and cafes and baristas and cafe culture that prove that Australia is a sophisticated place with great taste in coffee and cafes and stories about coffee. And the milk in coffee and the way to make coffee and the machines that make coffee.
      Don't need no conquistabaristador to make a great Australian coffee in a cafe in a laneway on a coffee break with a barista.

      Commenter
      Bob
      Location
      Carlton
      Date and time
      April 23, 2012, 4:59PM
      • My tree is laden.....easy to grow ...beautiful to look at ...just need to know when they are ripe enough to harvest....with such leathery outer skin...tis difficult to know!

        Commenter
        PjN
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 23, 2012, 5:19PM
        • When the skin just starts to split is when they are at thier sweetest..

          Commenter
          AT
          Location
          Melbourne
          Date and time
          April 23, 2012, 7:45PM
        • and if you are too lazy for the seeds, cut them in half and squeeze out the juice - you'll get a glassful and it is pure bliss!

          Commenter
          yum!
          Date and time
          April 23, 2012, 8:43PM

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