What is Pomegranate?
Pomegranates are round fruits with red skin. They originated in the Middle East through to the north of India, and they are about the size of an orange.
These shrub looking pomegranate trees are available usually only in the winter months and now grown all over the world.
The only edible part of the fruit are the seeds, which are sweet and tart. They are eaten as is, can be frozen, dried, used for juice and even as natural dyes.
Extracting the seeds is somewhat tricky although I have seen plenty of hacks of how to get them out. I use the simple wooden spoon method.
Cut the fruit in half horizontally (not stem to base). Over a mixing bowl, place the open part of the fruit in the palm of your hands.
With a wooden spoon, whack the skin of the fruit to loosen the seeds. The seeds will loosen and fall into the bowl through your fingers. It’s a bit of a messy business, so I always do it in the sink.
I have also seen the method by which you lop off the top of the fruit at the crown. Then scoring the fruit from top to bottom 4 times to create 4 segments.
Then pressing the fruit, pry open the segments and opening it up into quarters. Place in a bowl of cool water and then bend them to loosen the seed.
I tried this method and felt that whacking the fruit was a much more satisfying experience!
What Does Pomegranate Taste Like?
Flavour: Pomegranates are sweet and tart in taste. They are incredibly refreshing and add great flavours to both sweet and savoury dishes.
Texture: the exterior of the pomegranate is round and is around the size of an orange. Its skin is smooth and hard, and if you knock on it, it sounds hollow.
When opened, the inside of the fruit has a white, pulpy mesocarp that houses the pomegranate seeds, or arils as they are known as.
The arils are pops of juicy freshness and are crunchy. Some people don’t like the texture of the seeds as you’re eating it as it feels like debris in your mouth. But stirred through a salad, it is less noticeable.
What Goes Well with Pomegranate?
Fruit and Vegetables
Apple, capsicum, carrot, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, cucumber, dragon fruit, eggplant, elderberry, fennel, ginger, grape, grapefruit, guava, lemon, lettuce, lime, lychee, mandarin, mango, nectarine, orange, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomelo, potato, raspberry, watermelon, tomato.
Herbs, Nuts and Spices
Allspice, cardamom, chervil, chestnuts, cinnamon, cumin, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, pistachio, rosemary, sage, star anise, sumac, tarragon, thyme.
Protein and Other
Bacon, barley, basmati rice, beef, brie, bulgur, chicken, chickpea, crab, egg, elderflower, freekeh, gorgonzola, gruyere, lamb, lentil, mustard, oyster, pork, wild rice, yoghurt.
How to Use Pomegranate in Salads?
Pomegranate arils are the only edible part of the whole fruit, and they are eaten as they are. They can make a prominent appearance in the overall salad or used more as a garnish to spruce up the colours and aesthetics.
I personally cannot get enough of the fruit and as they are a winter bearing fruit, they are wonderful to use on festive occasions in the Northern Hemisphere. Just think how gorgeous these pops of red would be on your sides.
As pomegranates are so juicy, you can crush them to extract the juices to make salad dressings. Better still you can make sticky, sweet pomegranate molasses, which is my all-time favourite salad dressing ingredient!
Salad Recipes with Pomegranate
Pomegranate Cauliflower Salad with Chestnuts
Imagine little roasted florets sprinkled with red seeds against a backdrop of bright green sprouts. This Pomegranate Roasted Cauliflower Salad is a recipe bursting with contrasting flavours and textures.
Pomegranate, Barley and Freekeh Salad
Here’s a salad recipe for anyone who’s looking for a non-leafy salad. This Freekeh and Pomegranate Salad mixed through with a sumac infused yoghurt is simply divine.
Pearl Couscous and Pomegranate Salad
A nod to Middle Eastern flavours with this delicious salad that is super light to eat but packs an earthy punch. This Pearl Couscous Salad with Za’atar halloumi and sweet pomegranate makes a perfect weekday dinner.
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