September 19, 2007


The 10 Best Foods You Aren't Eating: Want to do your body a world of good? It's as easy as expanding your grocery list (Jonny Bowden, Ph. D., Men's Health)

Pomegranate juice

A popular drink for decades in the Middle East, pomegranate juice has become widely available only recently in the United States.

Why it's healthy: Israeli scientists discovered that men who downed just 2 ounces of pomegranate juice daily for a year decreased their systolic (top number) blood pressure by 21 percent and significantly improved bloodflow to their hearts. What's more, 4 ounces provides 50 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.

How to drink it: Try 100 percent pomegranate juice from Pom Wonderful. It contains no added sugars, and because it's so powerful, a small glassful is all you need. (For a list of retailers, go to

Back to the pomegranate: Before the juice, before the liqueur, there was the fruit. And it was fabulous. (Regina Schrambling, 9/18/07, LA Times)
Admittedly, pomegranates are intimidating. They are the crabs of the produce aisle, wondrous to eat but a messy hassle to break down to extract that wondrousness. Since they have such a short season, though, the pleasure outweighs the pain. They never get to be a routine.

And the rewards are endless. Pomegranates are tart and crisp, which is the least you expect in fall fruit. But they are also dramatic in a way no apple or pear could ever hope to be. A handful of seeds tossed into a mesclun salad with blue cheese can elevate the whole eating experience, with color, texture, flavor and drama.

The seeds can also make a statement in soups. They're the ultimate seasonal garnish.

The trick is just to flick every seed out without catching any of the exceptionally bitter yellow pith around it. Luckily, the seeds are contained in fairly fat compartments inside each pomegranate and you just have to open the whole thing and prize them out. If you do that over a bowlful of water, the good stuff sinks and the bitter bits float, making it easier to separate the two.

Making juice from fresh pomegranates is also easier than it looks. "Chez Panisse Fruit" by Alice Waters and her team suggests a simple technique: Break open the pomegranate (with a knife if you must) and carefully separate the seeds. Using either an immersion or regular blender, liquefy the seeds and strain the juice through a sieve. "Viola!" as they say on the blogs. Two to three heavy pomegranates should yield a cup of juice.

This is a very different product from what you can buy bottled. It's thinner and naturally tarter. But even the Pom juice will work in most recipes. Most other brands seem to be the pomegranate cousin of cranberry juice cocktail, more grape juice and high-fructose corn syrup than the fruit on the label.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 19, 2007 10:18 AM

Now there is something I will never understand... Dramatic Food.

Posted by: Jay at September 19, 2007 11:03 AM

Pomegranate molasses -- basically the juice reduce to a syrup -- is also especially useful in the kitchen, particularly as a glaze for meat, pork above all.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at September 19, 2007 11:15 AM

Pomegranate molasses? Does it make a statement? Because if it doesn't make a statement I have no time for it.


Posted by: jefferson park at September 19, 2007 1:03 PM