All Hail the Pomegranate! Our Favourite Summer Fruit December 17, 2017
When we think of Christmas and Summer, we automatically think of pomegranates. Hanging ripe on a tree they look just like shining baubles and, once opened, their deep red jewel-like seeds look as festive as they taste. Let’s get a grip on one of our favourite fruits, including how to prepare and cook pomegranate.
We’re in the midst of pomegranate season now, which in Australia is from November to March. What better fruit then, to symbolise our summer and Christmas season? Like Christmas itself, this dazzling specimen has roots in history stretching back to ancient times. The ancient Egyptians considered them a symbol of ambition and prosperity. The Greeks used the myth of Persephone being tricked by Hades into eating pomegranate seeds in the underworld as an origin story for the seasons.
Thought to originate in Iran, the name pomegranate actually comes from the latin pōmum (meaning apple) and grānātum (meaning seeded). Call us biased, but we think the resultant fruit is actually a fair bit more exciting than a really seedy apple.
Its rich red colour and crown-like calyx might indicate some kind of untouchable elitism, but the humble pomegranate is actually ideal in all manner of sweet and savoury dishes! There is a trick to harvesting the delicious seeds from the fruit, but once you’ve mastered that, incorporating it into your cooking is a cinch.
We prefer to separate the seeds from the white membrane over a bowl filled with water – allowing the seeds to sink and the white parts to float on the surface for easy skimming. Simply slice the pomegranate into quarters (you can also cut one end off and then break apart with your hands along the natural segments), then gently prise apart over the bowl.
Braver souls not adverse to a bit of mess can also divide the pomegranate into quarters and then get to whacking the back with a wooden spoon into a waiting vessel. The result is much more dramatic, if bloody, result. Either way, we heartily recommend using gloves for the task. Unless dyed red hands on Christmas day is your thing, of course.
- The little segments inside a pomegranate are called arils. The average fruit contains about 600 of them.
- Pomegranates are drought tolerant, which make them perfect for arid Australian climates.
- We’re used to seeing reddish skinned pomegranates, but they vary in shades from yellow and pink to purple!
Pomegranate, Pepita & Fetta Salad
There are so many ways to cook pomegranate, but this bright, ruby red flecked salad is just the thing for cutting through the richness of a Christmas lunch. Pomegranate seeds burst in the mouth in the most delightful way!
- 1 pomegranate
- 2 Roma tomatoes
- 2 tbs pepitas
- 40g fetta cheese
- 120g mixed salad leaves
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
You will need: large bowl, chef’s knife, chopping board, medium frying pan and a medium bowl.
- Deseed the pomegranate.
Fill a large bowl with water. Slice the pomegranate into quarters and submerge in the water. Using your hands, pry away the white membrane, setting the seeds free. Tip: The white membrane will float to the surface and the seeds will sink. Skim the membrane off the surface and discard. Drain the water and set the pomegranate seeds aside. Use rubber gloves to avoid staining your fingers!
- Dice the tomato.
Chop the Roma tomato into 2 cm chunks. Tip: Use a serrated knife to make it easy to cut through the tomato flesh.
- Toast the pepitas. Heat a medium frying pan over a high heat. Add the pepitas and toast, stirring regularly, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Remove from the pan and set aside in
a small bowl.
- Toss the salad.
In a medium bowl, toss the mixed salad leaves and chopped tomato with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with a pinch of salt and pepper. Tip: Dress the salad just before serving to avoid soggy leaves.
- Garnish the salad.
Divide the salad between one or two serving bowls. Sprinkle over the pepitas and pomegranate seeds, then crumble over the fetta.
- Serve up.
Serve the pomegranate, pepita and fetta salad in the middle of the table with the main Christmas feast. Enjoy!
Like this recipe? For all the ingredients for this and plenty more sumptuous Christmas dishes, order your very own Christmas Box for delivery to your house or holiday home at HelloFresh.com.au/christmas.