I get excited every year when pomegranates are in season. They possess a special aura that makes me buy as many of them as I can eat. My family loves them but refuses to do the messy work of removing the seeds. I find that is really easy and just requires a tiny bit of patience. There are several approaches from buying a special $10 pomegranate peeler (that is absolutely useless) to quartering it and hitting it with a wooden spoon (very effective and stress relieving) to removing the seeds under water (I’ve never tried this one). Whatever method you use, these seeds must be included in your diet.
The seeds are very healthy since they are high in vitamins C and K and some important minerals. They became popular a few years ago when their fantastic antioxidant properties were identified, specifically the type that might slow the spread of cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease.
My husband was surprised, years ago, when I bought the first one after we were married. Since he grew up with them and ate them all the time it wasn’t a big deal to him. I ate my first one as a child and had the opportunity to eat them on occasion when they were in season. I always thought they were special which, apparently, they are.
In Indian cooking, they are used in four different ways:
- The raw seeds (juice sacs) are used in light dishes like raita, green salads and fruit salads or as garnish to many meat and lentil dishes.
- The juice from the flesh is removed by pushing the seeds and juice sacs through a press and then added to some curries for its sour-sweet flavor. Because of its high sugar content it is used in some sweets recipes and even reduced in volume to form sweet syrup.
- Some varieties of pomegranate seeds are dried in the sun and are used in vegetable and lentil dishes in North India. These seeds still have a bit of the pulp on them so they bring a tangy, fruity flavor to a dish. These are sold in stores as snacks
- The dried seeds are also roasted and ground into a powder. This is used in recipes as a souring agent like amchoor (dried green mango powder) or lemon juice. In areas where fresh lemons or limes are not available year round, pomegranate seed powder is a great substitute. It can be purchased in an Indian grocery store or made at home.
I hope this post has given you some new ideas on how to incorporate pomegranate seeds into your cooking. They are a healthy and tasty addition to any recipe.
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