In the Garden
Dec 01, 2015 02:26PM ● Published by Elena Hutslar
Easy Ways to Partake in the Pomegranate
By Lesley Stiles
It looks like we may actually have a winter this year! Rain already and lots of snow in “them there hills” creates a sense of much needed optimism, especially in a drought. Holiday madness marches in, assesses us, and proceeds to attack from all angles, sparing no one in its wake, religious or not. Stress moves in, weakening immune and temper systems, and patience disappears as fast as heat through an opened front door.
Persephone was held prisoner for six months of the year by her husband, Hades, who tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds. This so devastated her mother, Demeter, that she no longer blessed the earth with fertility for those six months. Could be one ancient explanation for the seasons. Whatever the cause, when pomegranates come around, they are a delight to behold. Representing romance and mysticism doesn’t hurt either. If cleaning it stops you from partaking in the pomegranate, cut off the top, score the sides and immerse in water to dislodge the arils. They will sink and the inedible pith will float. Use these sweet-tart seeds to liven up a salad with Fuyu persimmon slices while dousing all in orange vinaigrette. Eat the seed along with the juice; this is where all the fiber is stored.
Pomegranates are packed full of vitamin C and are an amazing source of antioxidants. You can get fresh pressed pomegranate juice all winter at most farmers’ markets. This amazing, nutrient-filled ruby nectar is a great sauce medium. Reduce 2 cups pomegranate juice with 2 cups stock. Take down by half and add a few tablespoons of honey, a handful of toasted walnuts, and a sprinkling of fresh thyme. Toss your grilled chicken breast or, better yet, grilled eggplant to achieve romance and health in your life.
Shake fresh-pressed pomegranate juice with a dash of soda water, a tablespoon of simple syrup, and a nice jigger of good vodka. Strain into an iced martini glass and garnish liberally with fresh arils and a wedge of lime to create the perfect holiday cocktail, literally guaranteeing passage at all the best parties of the season.
Newer to arrive at the party of the seasonal farmers’ markets are the cocktail grapefruits. Also known as the Mandelo, they are a genius cross between ancient ancestors, mandarins, and a pommelo. Not technically a grapefruit, this luscious fruit is eligible to be thoroughly enjoyed by statin-consuming friends. White fleshed and a little seedy, cocktail grapefruits have not yet achieved huge commercial success, which bodes well for the tirelessly loyal farmers’ market shopper as they remain as they were when created: tenderly amazing, instead of molded into something that packs and ships better.
Uniquely flavored, crazy sweet, and addictively juicy by the cross of citrus, cocktail grapefruits meld well with savory as well as sour, acidic, or sweet flavor profiles, bushwhacking taste buds as well as visitors to your table. Toss segments with sliced oranges into crunchy, sweet, winter salad greens, along with crumbled chevre and local, toasted, chopped almonds doused with lemon juice and lemon oil, creating a salad intoxicating enough to straighten out a crooked juror or bend an honest judge. Simple austerity has nothing on slices of cocktail grapefruit on a plate, seeds removed, drizzled with honey and lime juice, sprinkled with a mere thought of chili powder, and accompanied by chunked jicama. Juice of said grapefruit muddled with mint leaves and enriched by a shot of rum is sweet enough to bypass simple syrup for a winter take on the mojito. Sprinkle brown sugar and lemon juice into a sauté pan with hot melted butter to caramelize thick slices of cocktail grapefruit to lavishly slather over ice cream, French toast, pound cake.
Fresh Kale Salad w/ Pomegranate Arils and Fuyu Persimmons
1 large bunch kale of any kind, sliced and washed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 to 2 lemons or 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
2 Fuyu persimmons, sliced
1 bunch green onions, sliced
Sea salt and pepper to taste or Braggs Amino Acids to taste
Toss kale, tomatoes, fruits and green onions in a large salad bowl. Drizzle on lemon juice, zest and olive oil and toss well. Season with Braggs or salt. Let sit a few minutes to gently “cook” the kale for a few minutes or up to an hour before serving. Serves 4 to 6.