The POWER of Pomegranates

Pomegranates have been around as a food since ancient times and their health benefits have long been recognized. Pomegranates can range from yellow-orange to red to deep purple. Rich in potassium, vitamin C, polyphenols and vitamin B6, pomegranates are phytochemical powerhouses. Pomegranate juice may have two to three times the antioxidant power of equal amounts of green tea or red wine. In one study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, pomegranate juice was a potent fighter in the battle against atherosclerosis. As little as ¼ cup of pomegranate juice daily may improve cardiovascular health by reducing oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

Studies of several fruit juices and wines have reported the highest polyphenols concentration in pomegranate juice followed by red wine and cranberry juice.

Pomegranate seeds represent about half the weight of the fruit and so the heavier the fruit the better. The skin should be shiny without any cracks. You can store your pomegranate in a cool place for about a month but it will keep in the fridge for up to two months.

Pomegranate juice, mixed with seltzer and a slice of lemon or lime makes a wonderful drink to sip.

Use pomegranates juice for sauces, vinaigrettes and marinades. Use the whole seeds in salads and desserts or as a garnish for dishes of meat or fish.

To get to the seeds, cut the top of the fruit and cut the rind vertically (from top to bottom) in about four places. Then put the fruit in a bowl of water or a clean water-filled sink. Peel away the sections of the fruit, releasing the seeds from the bitter white membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the water and the remaining part of the fruit will float. Skim off and discard the floating bits and pour the seeds into a colander to rinse. You can then use the seeds in a recipe or put them in a blender or food processor to make juice. If you freeze the seeds first, they’ll yield more juice. Each medium fruit yields about a half cup of pomegranate juice.

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