Friday, October 11, 2013

Meet the Pomegranate

Meet the pomegranate, my second favorite food next to my Dad's homemade chilli. Pomegranates are one of those food items that I ran across years back simply because I was curious as to what they were. They are naturally "in season" between the months of October and January and are an ancient fruit that is packed with antioxidants which help to boost your immune system and fight off illness. I call them the pearl of fruits because they are ugly on the outside, take effort to get them out and are generally gone within minutes because they are loved so much.

The key with pomegranates is knowing how to clean and eat them. The best way I have found is to cut them in half and then break the half into smaller pieces with your hands. They are very juicy and messy and the juice does stain, so first rinse as much juice off as you can and hold them towards a strainer when breaking them into smaller pieces. Next, if you remove the white skin on the inside, the red jewels just pop right out with your fingers. Again, it works best if you put them into a strainer and then rinse them off once it is all done. This is a time consuming process. It usually takes me about 5 minutes per fruit. But it is well worth it. 

 Pomegranates can be used in a variety of ways. They can be eaten raw which is what we tend to prefer. They have a sweet and tart flavor so they taste great when added into a fruit salad, on top of a vegetable salad or also convert into great glazes for meats like lamb. One of my favorite fall recipes is a pomegranate, apple and cranberry cobbler recipe that has evolved from a family recipe over time.  It is packed with the flavors of fall fruits and is easy to make and a flavorful dessert to bring to parties during the holidays. 

Pomegranate, Apple & Cranberry Cobbler
1 pomegranate cleaned out
1 cup of raw cranberries
3 small - medium apples chopped into small pieces
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS coconut flour
1/2 cup honey (to reduce tartness of dessert)
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, mix together pomegranate, cranberries, apples, cinnamon, coconut flour and honey. Pour into a greased 9x13" baking dish. Make topping and pour evenly over top. Bake in the middle of an oven uncovered for approximately 35-40 minutes until fruit is cooked through and topping is browned. Cool for 10 minutes before serving warm.

1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS grass-fed butter, melted
1 TBS maple syrup
 Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together until crumbles form.

Paleo/Vegan Topping
2 cups almonds or walnuts
1 cup dried apricots or pitted dates
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired texture.