The inside of a pomegranate has white walls dividing the fruit into compartments filled with sacs of reddish seeds, known as arils. The round, crimson fruit is a staple in the Middle East, and pomegranate juice has become a trendy beverage in this country.
Health benefits: Pomegranate is a gold mine of antioxidants, particularly the proanthocyanins, which are found in other red and purple pigmented fruits, such as blueberries, strawberries and black raspberries. The fruit's high levels of polyphenols and flavonoid compounds are thought to be heart protective and may reduce inflammation. Pomegranate is a good source of vitamins C and K, and potassium.
How to eat it: Getting to the edible fruit of a pomegranate takes several steps and can be messy if you don't how to do it -- especially because the juices can stain your clothing.
First, you cut the crown off. Then you lightly score the rind with a knife from top to bottom into sections. Next, you immerse the fruit into a bowl of cold water to let it soak for about five minutes. You can then pull the fruit apart underwater and push the seeds out with your fingers, allowing them to sink to the bottom of the bowl. The membranes and pulp will float to the top and can be skimmed off. Finally, pour the seeds into a strainer and rinse them with cold water, and they're ready to eat.
Heber described the taste of pomegranates as "tart and tangy," and he said most of the research on its health benefits has looked at the juice rather than the fruit itself.
Available from October through February, the fruit can be stored at room temperature for two to three days or in the refrigerator for about two months.
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