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Pomegranate

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The pomegranate fruit is nearly round, 2-1/2 to 5 in. wide and is crowned at the base by a prominent calyx. The skin is tough and leathery skin and is typically yellow overlaid with pink or red. The inside of the fruit is separated by membranous walls into compartments which are packed with sacs filled with juicy, red, pink or whitish pulp.

Some of the common names of the pomegranate are Granada (Spanish) and Grenade (French).

The pomegranate tree is native of Iran and India as well as the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe. The fruit was featured in Egyptian mythology and art and praised in the Old Testament of the Bible.


Contents

[edit] Nutritional information

The pulp (seed) is 82.3% water and contains 63 calories per 100 grams of the edible portion. One pomegranate provides most of the body's daily potassium needs, a little vitamin C, a healthy dose of fiber, and no fat. Pomegranate, 1 fruit (raw)has 105 calories.

[edit] Health benefits

The leathery fruit is full of edible seeds which are nestled in tiny juice sacs which are full of the vitamins A, C, E and iron.

They are rich in antioxidants that keep bad LDL cholesterol from oxidizing. Degradation of LDL seems to be an initial step in the development of atherosclerosis. pomegranate juice, rather like aspirin, can help keep blood platelets from clumping together to form unwanted clots.

Recent research has found that consuming eight ounces of pomegranate juice everyday for three months improves the amount of oxygen that is getting to the heart muscle of patients with coronary heart disease. Long-term consumption of pomegranate juice may also help combat erectile dysfunction. There is also a possibility that pomegranate compounds might prevent prostate cancer or slow its growth. Other reports suggest that pomegranate juice might help reduce the risk of breast cancer.

[edit] Buying and storing

Select large, shiny pomegranates that are firm to the touch and heavy for their size and have a rich colour. They should be free of cuts and blemishes. The larger fruits the more the juice. Pomegranates do not ripen once they are picked. Ripe pomegranates make a metallic sound when tapped. Fruit that is overripe will have cracks. Avoid bruised or shriveled pomegranates.

Pomegranates last for 2 to 3 weeks at room temperature, becoming juicier and more flavorful with time. To store pomegranates for up to 1 month place them in the refrigerator. The seed pips can be frozen in an airtight bag up to one year. Fresh juice should be refrigerated and used within two to three days.

[edit] Serving ideas

To Prepare: 1.Cut off the crown. 2.Gently scoop out some of the center white core with a spoon. 3.Score just through the outer rind, marking the fruit into quarters. 4.Place your thumb in the center of the core and gently pull apart the sections. 5.Peel away the white pith and discard. 6.Turn the skin inside out and pop out the seeds. 7.To separate the seeds from any remaining white pith, place sections of pomegranate in a bowl of cold water and gently swish around. The white pieces should float to the top while the seeds sink.

Juicing: To juice a pomegranate, put the seeds through a juicer or ream the halved fruits on an orange juice squeezer. Alternatively, warm the fruit slightly and roll it between your hands to soften. Cut a hole in the stem end and place it over a glass. Let the juice run out, squeezing the fruit to extract it.

Serving: Pomegranate juice can be added to lemonade. Pomegranate juice can be used to make jelly, flavor baked apples, and used instead of citrus juice in marinades for meats and poultry.

In South Carolina, housewives make pomegranate jelly by adding 7 1/2 cups of sugar and 1 bottle of liquid pectin for every 4 cups of juice. Pomegranate juice is widely made into grenadine for use in mixed drinks. In the Asiatic countries it may be made into a thick syrup for use as a sauce. It is also often converted into wine.

In northern India, the wild fruits is used for the preparation of "anardana"–the juice sacs being dried in the sun for 10 to 15 days and then sold as a spice.

Pomegranates go well with apple, cardamom, chicken, cinnamon, ginger, honey, lamb, lemon, orange, pork, port wine, red wine, tangerine, turkey, white wine.

Note: Using an aluminum or a carbon steel knives can turn the juice bitter.

[edit] Cosmetology

Pomegranates are used in many skin care products such as cleansers, lotions, scrubs, oils and exfoliaters.

[edit] Medicinal uses

Folk medicine in the Middle East, Iran and India use the bark, leaves, skin and rind as well as the edible bits of the fruit to cure everything from conjunctivitis to haemorrhoids.

It is believed that a boiled infusion of the rinds is said to soothe a sore throat,while a paste of the leaves, if massaged into the scalp, can reverse baldness.

The bark of the stem and root contains several alkaloids which help get rid of tapeworms. An overdose may cause dilation of pupila, dimness of sight, muscular weakness and paralysis.

Extracts of the bark, leaves, immature fruit and fruit rind have been prescribed as astringents to halt diarrhea, dysentery and hemorrhages.


Amazing fact Every pomegranate is composed of exactly 840 seeds, each surrounded by a sac of juice.

[edit] Useful websites

  • http://www.chow.com
  • http://www.hort.purdue.edu
  • http://homecooking.about.com
  • http://www.healthcentral.com
  • http://news.bbc.co.uk
  • http://ladiesblendthymes.typepad.com


[edit] See Also