Northeast Times

Pomegranate Salad

Avoid pack­ing on the pounds around the hol­i­days by treat­ing your­self to this salad.

My dad al­ways called them Chinese Apples. I’m talk­ing about pomegranates, the jeweled-look­ing fruit that makes its way to our mar­kets from late fall through early winter. The pomegranate’s sparkly, ruby-red, gem-like seeds seemed so exot­ic to me way back when. They were a fas­cin­at­ing fruit, those little, ed­ible jew­els. Found right be­fore Christ­mas, we al­ways pur­chased one to just take apart and to eat.

There was just one prob­lem with pomegranates – their leath­ery skin. That tough skin al­ways gave me a run for my money when try­ing to ex­tract the seeds. It is pos­sible to just slit the skin and te­di­ously pop out those bright ker­nels. But, be­sides be­ing time con­sum­ing, the juices from the pomegranate seeds, if broken, can cause stain­ing. So, how do you get those seeds out eas­ily?

One meth­od that I have used to eas­ily re­move the pomegranate seeds goes like this. First, cut off the flowery top. Next, score four slits in­to the skin length­wise, top to bot­tom, leav­ing pomegranate in­tact but di­vided in­to four quad­rants. Use gentle enough pres­sure to just pierce through the skin, but be care­ful not to punc­ture the seeds. The pomegranate should re­main in­tact, al­though the skin is now di­vided in­to four sec­tions. Next, place fruit in a bowl con­tain­ing enough wa­ter to cov­er it, and let it soak for 5 minutes. Fi­nally, care­fully break apart the sec­tions while it is in the wa­ter. Dis­lodge seeds gently with your fin­gers. The seeds should sink to the bot­tom, and the mem­brane particles should float to the top. Dis­card rind and float­ing mem­brane debris and drain seeds. It’s really a quick, pain­less, stain­less op­er­a­tion. 

Little did I know that pomegranates were destined to be­come one of our nu­tri­tion­al su­per foods. Fast for­ward to today, and the pomegranate has come a long way. Be­sides adding a little sparkle to the fol­low­ing salad, pomegranates con­tain an­ti­ox­id­ants found in Vit­am­ins E and C and Vit­am­in K, as well as the min­er­als po­tassi­um and cop­per. Plus, they con­tain fiber. Cur­rent re­search sug­gests that the an­ti­ox­id­ants found in pomegranates, called poly­phen­ols, may play an im­port­ant role in pro­tect­ing your heart and ar­ter­ies.

Here is a jew­el-be­decked salad for your hol­i­day table or buf­fet. It mixes pomegranate seeds with or­ange slices for a sweet tart-like taste that makes a spec­tac­u­lar present­a­tion.

POMEGRANATE CHRIST­MAS SALAD

For the Dress­ing:

¼ cup lem­on juice

¼ cup cil­antro, chopped

½ tsp. salt

½ cup vir­gin olive oil

½ tsp. cay­enne pep­per

2 cloves gar­lic, minced

¼ tsp. pep­per   

-Com­bine all in­gredi­ents in pro­cessor or blender and pur­ee.  

-Ad­just salt and pep­per to taste.

-Dress­ing can be made a day ahead and re­fri­ger­ated.  

For the Salad:

Con­tain­er of mixed greens 

Small bag or bunch of spin­ach or one head of but­ter lettuce

3 na­vel or­anges, peeled and sliced thin

1 small red onion, sliced thin

1 pomegranate, seeds     

½ cup wal­nuts, broken

-Wash and dry greens.

-On a large, flat plat­ter, mix and ar­range all greens as bot­tom lay­er.

-Ar­range or­ange slices and onion rings across the top.

-Sprinkle pomegranate seeds and wal­nuts on top.

-Drizzle dress­ing across the salad just be­fore serving.

Food­ie Alert: Be­sides the pomegranate, nick­named the Chinese apple, there may be an­oth­er kind of Chinese apple (in ad­di­tion to Steve Jobs’ Apple) com­ing to our shores soon. Ap­par­ently, China wants to ex­port apples to Amer­ica, and Wash­ing­ton state grow­ers are giv­ing their OK. Con­versely, the US Apple As­so­ci­ation fears that by im­port­ing China’s apples, we may also be im­port­ing some in­vas­ive pests (think stink bugs) that could dam­age orch­ards here. U.S. law states that im­por­ted apples must be free of dam­aging pests and dis­ease.

So, be­fore you take a bite of that apple you’re hold­ing, read the stick­er. If this trade agree­ment be­comes real­ity, will it still be on point to say, “As Amer­ic­an as apple pie?” Oh my, what would Johnny Apple­seed say? Will these apples have con­sumer a-peel?

Eat well, live long, en­joy!

(Ques­tions or tips can be sent to Donna Zit­ter Bor­de­lon at Whats­cook­in­NEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the North­east Times, 2512 Met­ro­pol­it­an Drive, Tre­vose, PA 19053)

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