I love fruit, I always have. Maybe it’s because of the four apple trees, grape vines, a plum tree and a cherry tree that filled our yard while growing up; or maybe it’s because of the delicious fruit salad my grandmother brings to every family get together; either way, to this day I enjoy trying new fruits, some of which I remember well.
I can remember the first time I ever tasted the sweetness of a kiwi - in the second grade, at a buffet with my mom after getting a boot on my fractured foot that was a result of jumping off the monkey bars. The first time I had fresh mango was in Brazil after barely dodging a concussion as it fell from the tree I was obliviously standing under. And I remember the first time I ever had a pomegranate. Unlike the other fruits, this introduction was not the result of my clumsy self, but rather about five years ago, at my dad’s house, as we stood there trying to figure out just which part of this ruby jeweled fruit was edible.
Pomegranates are known as one of the oldest fruits in the world, originating all the way back to Persia in the Middle East. However, only recently has the pomegranate popularity really soared, with its very own Pomegranate Month in November.
It is labeled a “super food” for good reason. It is the only food that contains the antioxidant punicalagin, which has shown to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as increases the speed of which atherosclerosis fades away, preventing heart attacks and strokes. In addition to the advantages it provides to our cardiac health, pomegranates are shown to inhibit the development of many cancers including breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia.
Pomegranates are not only full of antioxidants that improve our physical health; they also have the power to better our emotional and mental health. Pomegranates contain phytochemical compounds the provoke serotonin receptors in the brain, a key component in fighting depression.
So, in case you’re new to the pomegranate like my family was, the seeds on the inside are the edible part. They are the most delicious when they begin opening on their own. The easiest way to de-seed a pomegranate is by cutting the stem off, then placing the blossoming end upright, cutting this out with a paring knife. Then, using the ridges of the outside of the pomegranate as a guide, gently cut just through the red part of the pomegranate from top to bottom, making several cuts on the outside. This should allow you to gently pry the pomegranate apart into various sections. Next, working over a bowl half full of water, pry the seeds from the white membrane under the water. This allows for less mess and is an easy way to remove the membrane from the seeds, as it will float to the top. Lastly, skim the membrane out and strain the seeds from the water. ENJOY.
Pomegranates are now a staple in my house during their peak season of October through February. I put them on top of my salads and in my yogurt, or I just eat them by themselves (in handfuls). Give this depression-fighting, heart-loving super fruit a try this November. Who knows, maybe you’ll create some memories of your own!