For years I’ve been hearing buzz about pomegranates: their juice, their seeds – all around a fruit you want to be including in your diet! But to be honest my closest encounter to date has been the Pomtini (don’t judge, they’re delicious!)…
Pomegranates are actually an ancient fruit (Egyptian Pharaohs actually were buried with a pomegranate, believing it would help them gain rebirth) and have roots originating from the Himalayas to the Mediterranean.
These days, you’re probably most familiar with the Pom brand – enjoying the seeds and juice in pre-packaged form.
The juice is also fantastic for you, but I like to go directly to the source – the seeds – rather than relying on the juice from concentrate. Pom has an answer for this, too, with their cute little Pom-Pom container that I found at Lunds, but juice or seeds, you’d be wise to pay attention to this fruit: 3/4 of a cup of arils (the juice-filled seeds found inside the pomegranate) contains 17-20% percent of your daily need for Vitamins C & K, which helps with everything from bone strength to iron absorption to healthy gums and the production of collagen and elastin (fabulous benefits for your skin’s health).
In addition, in according to Livestrong.com, pomegranate seeds, like other fruits and vegetables, are rich in phytochemicals, which are substances found in minute quantities in plant foods that fight disease. The group of phytochemicals in pomegranate seeds is called polyphenols. Pomegranate seeds are rich in specific polyphenols, such as tannins, quercetin and anthocyanins — all of which may offer both heart health and anti-cancer benefits. As powerful antioxidants, polyphenols may improve healthy cell survival, induce cancer cell death and prevent tumor growth, according to an article published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” in January 2005. Anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
To boot, 3/4 of a cup of seeds only contains 83 calories and 4 grams of dietary fiber – and I have to tell you, these seeds are DELICIOUS!
Great! So the question is – how do you get the arils out of the pomegranate if you’d rather use the seeds for cooking (or save quite a bit of money by doing it yourself and buying the fruit whole rather than pre-packaged)? It’s a couple steps – but will only take 3 minutes of your time!
1. Cut off the crown of the pomegranate (top) and slice it in half, then cut it into sections. Be careful! Juice will come out (don’t wear a white scarf while de-seeding, as I so wisely did :))
2. Place the sections in a bowl of water, and roll the arils out of the pomegranate. We do this in water because some of the white pith inevitably comes out with it, and the pom seeds sink to the bottom but the pith floats – making it easy to separate for eating!