Pomegranates are in the news thanks to the current focus on their health giving properties. Recent studies reveal an array of benefits from reducing the risk of heart disease and mediating high blood pressure to reducing the risk of certain cancers including prostate cancer. Jo Rogers in her invaluable resource What Food Is That? says that the pomegranate: ‘has excellent vitamin C, fibre and moderate iron. The pomegranate is slightly higher in kilojoules (calories) than most fruit but contains a wealth of fibre. One pomegranate supplies a quarter of the daily recommended requirement.’
POM Wonderful Pomegranate Juice (GI 67) was glycemic index tested in the US following standardised testing procedures and the results published on www.mendosa.com.
Pomegranates are about the size of a large orange. The leathery skin ranges from dusky pink to brilliant red depending on variety. The multiple chambers inside the fruit are filled with sweet nectar and small arils (seed sacs) bursting with crimson juice. Avoid the white membrane or pith as it is very bitter. Pomegranates are harvested ripe but check before buying as the heavier they are the more juice they will produce. Store them in the fruit bowl for a week or two if the weather is not humid. They can also be refrigerated for a few days. For best results when juicing, cut the fresh fruit in half as you would a grapefruit and use a hand press citrus juicer. If using an electric juicer care should be taken not to include any spongy membrane as the juice will taste tannic and bitter.
Pomegranate molasses is made from boiling the juice of the fruit until it is a thick concentrate, an excellent alternative when pomegranates aren’t in season. It can be purchased from Middle Eastern stores and specialist food shops.
- Add pomegranate juice to the blender with low-fat milk, a large banana, some slivered almonds and ice cubes. Add a teaspoon of honey and whiz for 30 seconds for a healthy morning shake.
- Try a simple marinade of equal parts pomegranate molasses and olive oil combined with fresh rosemary and crushed garlic and spread over baby lamb cutlets before barbequing.
- Add pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachio nuts to softened low fat vanilla ice-cream. Stir to combine and serve immediately with ripe strawberries.
—Thanks to Australian food writer, restaurant critic and passionate cook, Lynne Mullins, for these meal ideas. Lynne regularly contributes to Good Living and Sunday Life. She is a reviewer for the SMH Good Food Guide and has published two books: Noodles to Pasta, Harper Collins Australia (1999), Relish, New Holland (2001). Lynne presents the fortnightly food and produce segment on Channel Nine ‘Mornings with Kerri-Anne’.
French Green Beans with POM, Goat Cheese & Almonds
Thanks to POM Wonderful for this recipe and photograph—a great way to boost your fruit and veggie intake. It was developed and tested using POM Wonderful Pomegranates and 100% Juice. If you enjoy it, check out the POM website for more pomegranate recipes.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes cooking
Serves 6 as an accompaniment
1/3 cup (3–4 heaped tablespoons) arils (seed sacs) from 1 large pomegranate
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
600 g (1 1/4 pounds) fresh green beans, trimmed and cut diagonally into 2.5 cm (1 inch) pieces
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1/2 cup (50 g) slivered or flaked almonds
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste (optional)
juice from 1 large pomegranate or 1/3 cup (80 ml) 100% POM pomegranate juice
115 g (4 ounces) goat cheese, sliced
1. To free the arils, score 1 fresh pomegranate and place in a bowl of water. Break open the pomegranate underwater—the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float to the top. Lift out the membrane then strain putting the arils in a separate bowl. Reserve ⅓ cup of arils and refrigerate or freeze the rest.
2. Place oil in a wok or large skillet and heat. Add the beans and stir-fry with the lemon zest for 6 minutes.
3. Add the almonds and stir-fry for 1–2 minutes or until beans are crisp-tender. Remove from heat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Toss beans with reserved pomegranate arils and pomegranate juice; turn onto a serving platter.
Arrange goat cheese slices over the top and serve.
Per 5.2 oz (about 140 g) serving
777 kJ/185 calories, 8 g protein, 14 g carbohydrate, 12 g total fat (5 g saturated), 295 mg sodium.