The pomegranate is a round fruit about the size of a large orange with thick leathery skin that encases juicy, pale-pink or deep-crimson pulpy seeds, held in place by a bitter-tasting, creamy-yellow membrane. Pomegranates themselves can vary in colour from deep red to yellow flushed with pink. Fresh pomegranates sold in the UK are of the sweet variety, but you can buy dried sour pomegranate seeds or powder from Asian shops and ‘sour’ pomegranate syrup molasses from Iranian and Middle Eastern stores.
Choose fruit with glossy skin that are heavy for their size.
Pomegranates will keep for several weeks in a cool room.
For maximum flavour, buy whole fresh pomegranates. Hold the fruit over a bowl and carefully break open the skin. Discard the skin and remove the segments of juicy seeds, saving the juice as you do so. Discard the pith. (Pomegranate seeds can also be removed from their skin by holding a pomegranate half in the palm of your hand over a bowl and bashing the skin with the back of a spoon: the seeds should fall out.)
Use fresh pomegranate seeds in sweet and savoury salads. They have an affinity with oranges, bitter salad leaves, nuts and sharp, fresh cheeses as well pineapple, clementines and poached rhubarb. Sour pomegranate syrup works well with seared duck, sauteed aubergine or fried fish.
Article by Sybil Kapoor
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