Pomegranate arils are quite crunchy due to the seed contained within the juice-filled outer membrane. The seed within the aril and the juice both have health benefits. Research teams around the world have also found that the white membrane and tough outer peel also contain beneficial nutrients. Research is even finding the pomegranate flower to have health benefits for the heart, and to help prevent metabolic syndrome. (Huang, 2005)
Fresh or thawed pomegranate arils are good served alone, or on top of salads, yogurt, granola or hot oatmeal, or mixed with other fresh berries or fruit.
- The crunch of the pomegranate seeds mixes well with other crunchy textures and might be good in a Waldorf type salad with apples, walnuts, and celery in addition to the grapes or in place of them. Recipe below, or see: (simplyrecipes.com/Waldorf Salad)
- Amaranth is a gluten free grain that remains crunchy when cooked and can be served as a hot breakfast porridge or allowed to chill (similar in consistency to cornmeal polenta except crunchier) and then served cold on a salad by chopping the chilled mass into smaller pieces. (Navitas Organics/Pomegranate Amaranth Porridge)
Pomegranate Waldorf Salad, (yield about 10 cups, 10 servings)
- 7 cups peeled and chopped apple
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds, about one large pomegranate
- 1/2 cup minced inner white membrane of the pomegranate
- 3 six ounce tubs or one 20 ounce tub of vanilla yogurt - the walnuts absorb some of the moisture by the second day.
Menu Ideas for use of the peel and inner membranes:
The inner white parts of the pomegranate are mild in flavor compared to the tough outer peel and also contains healthy phytonutrients as well as beneficial fiber. Trim away any bad spots and the fresh inner structure of pomegranates could be chopped to add to soups (add during the last half hour of cooking time). It would not change the flavor of a soup noticeably.
Availability of fresh pomegranate is seasonal. Juice and dried products are available all year.
Pomegranate juice is available full strength, concentrated, or as a powder. Organic or commercially grown products may be available in larger grocery markets, international markets, or ordered online. Hispanic, Asian, or Indian markets may have fresh pomegranate more months of the year while standard U.S. groceries tend to have fresh pomegranate during the U.S. harvest season of late autumn through January.
Anardana - dried seeds are available whole or powdered in markets with foods from India.
Dried arils are available in Indian grocery markets whole or as a powder and are called Anardana in the Hindi language.
The whole dried arils are crunchy with a slightly sweet tang and are good as a snack by themselves and the powder is good in soups where the crunch of the ground seeds is softened somewhat by the cooking process. Add towards the last 20-30 minutes of the cook time to preserve the health benefits. About two heaping tablespoons for a two quart batch of soup adds a tangy fruit flavor similar to adding tamarind to a soup or sauce.
Menu Ideas for dried Pomegranate Peel or Powdered Juice
Powdered juice or powdered peel may also provide health benefits and could be added to smoothies or foods or taken in a capsule form. The powdered or fresh juice is sweet and tangy and would be good in smoothies or other beverages or even in cookies and other baked goods. The powdered peel would have a stronger bitter flavor that would need a savory soup or sauce for balance, or take it in a capsule.
An unusual property of pomegranate juice powder (nuts.com/Organic Pomegranate Powder) might be useful for chefs who wanted to clarify a broth or sauce. Pomegranate powder added to liquid, and stirred, will cause protein within the liquid mixture to clump and rise to the surface shortly later, where the protein clumps could be easily skimmed out. Be aware that the sauce or broth would then have the tang and health benefits of pomegranate juice as it would become part of the liquid mixture. (Flocculant, Wang et al, 2018))
Serving Size of pomegranate that might be helpful for health benefits
Health benefits for anxiety, nerve numbness, or other inflammatory conditions may be provided with a serving size of a third to a half cup of fresh arils or 100% juice per day. Tea or a concentrated liquid can be made with the peel and smaller portions of only a spoonful or two of concentrate can provide symptom relief. A cup or two of tea per day prepared with the following method might provide some anti-inflammatory benefits and may be best taken in the morning with adequate water intake during the day as there are also diuretic properties.
- Dried peel is also good made into a savory tea with rosemary, thyme, and a little coconut oil, simmer for 20-30 minutes to maximize health benefits (approximately 3 cups water, one teaspoon/one inch piece dried peel, ¼ teaspoon rosemary, ¼ teaspoon thyme, ½ teaspoon coconut oil, *fresh peel could also be used, simmer for 20 minutes rather than 30, using about one tablespoon chopped peel/membrane.