Thursday, November 02, 2006

pomegranates

picture: source - ancientneareast.net

i am always somewhat amused, or is it intrigued, when something old becomes the latest north american trend, whether it relates to food or some other non-food item. for some time now, pomegranates have been the new "in" food. i am sure i am behind on the times, and pomegranates have already had their 15 minutes of fame. i still ask, however:

in? since when? it's not like it's the exotic horned melon or as scarce as hen's teeth. i guess things are only as exotic as people make them out to be. having always been exposed to, and eaten this fruit, its exotic cachet has been taken away.

the pomegranate is indeed a beautiful fruit to look at, especially when opened exposing its supposed 613 individual crimson bursts of tart juice nestled tightly between papery bitter separations. the pomegranate has a long history filled with lore and interesting facts. it also comes in a wide variety of different kinds.

this post came to be when my friend called to tell me of the mess that had been made and how juice stains were everywhere on an attempt to open one. when i asked how the procedure had been performed, i cringed listening to my friend's description and imagined just how funny the scene must have been. those poor butchered pomegranate seeds!

i learned to open this fruit in the way i am showing below. i found this site here which shows the same way and has a lot of other information — it's the "official" pomegranate site.

with a very sharp knife, remove a "lid" from the blossom end and then score the skin along the length of its natural sections all the way to the stem end.

carefully open up the pomegranate, exposing the sections.

remove the core and break the sections up and remove the seeds.

with this method there is very little damage to the fruit and very little loss of juice, which means less staining.

interestingly, when i was looking for information on thai ingredients, i found this great site which also shows how to do it with amazingly precise photos and descriptions. check this out, it's a must see. the pomegranate they use is a thai variety, however.

you can read about its health benefits and the products associated with them here, here and here. take a look, they are interesting and fairly short articles.

another good site is the about.com one which provides all you wanted to know about this ruby red seeded fruit. lots of stuff there to look through.

a very middle eastern product is pomegranate molasses or the boiled down juice which forms a very tart, dark brown souring agent. its taste is fantastic and unique. called dibs roumman in arabic or nar ekşisi in turkish, this is used in many cuisines especially with meats. i use it often with ground beef for fillings and for lahmacun, a meat based kind of "pizza" or should i say, pit(a)-za. it's really something worth trying to make. it is also used in salad dressings & to make a thirst quenching drink.

you can actually try to make your own pomegranate molasses. (another recipe for it). i have never tried it but it looks like a fun experiment. here are some ideas for what to do with it.

in india, the seeds are dried and used in cooking. they are called anardana and can be bought whole or ground.

this also reminds me of two funny things:

one way i learned to call this fruit was nar which in a totally unrelated language, yiddish to be exact, means fool or idiot. in a jewish context, it can be kind of amusing.

my friend's ex boyfriend was iranian of kurdish descent. she recounted to me how she watched him consume this fruit, not from a bottle but by vigorously rolling it on a table back and forth over and over again and then cut the top off and drank the juice, squeezing it to death. i'm sure i'd end up drenched and dyed red if i ever attemped this feat.

so, how many seeds does a pomegranate really have? look here to find out. have fun counting.


4 comments:

chanit said...

אנו מאוד אוהבים רימונים, שותים כמעט כל יום, אחד מהפירות הכי בריאים שיש

Anonymous said...

I love, love, love pomegranates. When I moved from So. California, to So. Utah, I noticed their pometranates were different. Softer...and lighter in color.
St. George, Utah...where I lived is known as Utah's Dixie..and the salad that is traditional for Thanksgiving for a lot of the old timers there,is called "Dixie Salad" It's a fruit salad with lots of pomegranates..and whipped cream...delicious! I was suprized by how many people grew these tree's in Utah!

burekaboy — said...

hey thanks for the comment.

pomegranates are one of my all time favourites also.

who'd have thought -- utah & pomegranates! i have also never heard of such a salad but anything with whipped cream sounds good to me! ;p

thanks for stopping in and visiting.

burekaboy — said...

חנית -- את צודקת שהרימון אחד מהפירות הכי בריאים שיש

אני אוכל רימון כל הזמן