Pomegranate: Super Food and Super Delicious (And, a Bonus Recipe for Pomegranate Blackberry Vegan Pastry Cream Parfait)
Good Morning, fellow Steemians! It's Monday, the sun is shining and life is good! Therefore, it must be time for #Fruitsandveggiesmonday..hosted by none other than my Steemit friend, Lena @lenasveganliving.
Now you know that I love fruits and veggies. After all, I live by the motto,** "Plant strong! All day long!"** One of my favorite fruits is the pomegranate.
And there is much to love about the pomegranate!
Pomegranates..A Little History
According to https://www.pomegranates.org/:
Pomegranates have been cherished for their exquisite beauty, flavor, color, and health benefits for centuries. From their distinctive crown to their ruby red arils, pomegranates are royalty amongst fruit.
They are symbolic of prosperity and abundance in virtually every civilization. Fortunately, this treasure’s versatility and possibilities are as abundant as the juicy arils bursting forth from within.<
This ancient fruit is native to Iran but is also cultivated in cultivated in the Mediterranean, Asia, Africa, and Europe. I've even seen some varieties of pomegranates growing in gardens in my native state located in the mid-Atlantic United States of America. The pomegranate was one of the earliest cultivated fruits. Throughout history, the pomegranate has reigned supreme in culture, art, Greek mythology, literature, and religion. Some have even theorized that it was the pomegranate and not the apple that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Pomegranates: Health Benefits
For thousands of years, pomegranates have been used as medicine. However, more recently, pomegranates have been been called a "superfood" . A "superfood" is a term used today for foods that can protect against disease.
According to an article published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, (http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/pomegranate), in laboratory tests pomegranate shows antiviral, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.
The pomegranate can go toe to toe with the heavy hitters of the antioxidant world and come out a winner. In fact, a laboratory analysis of pomegranate juice shows it to "have greater antioxidant capacity than red wine, grape juice, cranberry juice, green tea or acai juice." (Source: https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/23/9-pomegranate-health-benefits-that-offer-powerful-disease-protection and Seeram NP, Aviram M, Zhang Y, et al: Comparison of antioxidant potency of commonly consumed polyphenol-rich beverages in the United States. J Agric Food Chem 2008, 56:1415-1422.)
Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash
But, that's not all the "super powers" of the "superfood" that is the pomegranate. It is believed and some tests show that pomegranates have anti-cancer properties, protect against heart disease, and guard memory and brain function. (Source: https://www.drfuhrman.com/learn/library/articles/23/9-pomegranate-health-benefits-that-offer-powerful-disease-protection)
Pomegranate: A Delicious and Healthy Food
I must admit that I used to be intimidated by fresh pomegranate. Though I often saw pomegranate in my local produce market, I had no idea how to even select a pomegranate. Much less what to do with the pomegranate once I got it home. A good friend and mentor who I worked with when I was in training to become a Vegan Chef, taught me a few basics.
When selecting pomegranates, look for a ripe, deep-colored fruit with a red to reddish-brown outer rind that is heavy for its size. Pomegranate season typically runs from October through February.
The easiest way to get at the delicious fruit of the pomegranate, is to cut it half (after washing thoroughly, of course).
Then place the halved fruit in a bowl of cold water. Working under water, gently loosen edible arils from the pomegranate. Use your fingers as necessary. The white pith will float to the top and the edible arils will drop to the bottom.
Then you can simply skim the pith off the top and drain the water off the arils. Leaving you with delicious arils to eat. Enjoy fresh pomegranates when they are in season. And, you can store some arils in the freezer for later. That way, you can get the health benefits of pomegranate all year round. The effort it takes to get the arils are well worth it once you taste this delicious fruit.
Pomegranate:: The Deliciousness and The Recipe
Once you've gotten all those delicious pomegranate...what to do, what to do??!!
Why eat them of course!
Just look at all that lucious, red, fruity goodness!
****Recipe: Pomegranate Blackberry Vegan Pastry Cream Parfait****
1 medium, ripe, pomegranate
1 pint ripe, blackberries
1 - 2 teaspoons organic cane sugar (optional)
For Vanilla Pastry Cream
(Note: This recipe was adapted from a recipe found on www.francostigan.com)
2 cups whole, raw cashews (rinsed and soaked in water at least 3 hours, preferably overnight)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (And, none of that low-fat stuff. You're going to need full-fat for this recipe)
6 Tablespoons Organic Cane Sugar
Pinch of sea salt
1 Tablespoon mild olive oil (or you can use avocado oil or any other organic neutral oil of your choice)
3 -4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Prepare the fresh pomegranate using the method described above. Here is a video of a slightly different method.
Gently rinse the blackberries and place in a non-reactive bowl. If desired, lightly toss with sugar and place in fridge until ready to assemble your parfait.
Thoroughly drain the soaked cashews in a strainer. Rinse thoroughly.
In a high speed blender add the cashews, coconut milk, cane sugar, oil, salt and vanilla.
Blend on low for 30 seconds and then increase to high for about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender as needed. Blend until the cream is thick, creamy and smooth.
The cream is ready to use as is, but, for this application, I prefer to refrigerate the mixture for an hour or two before using. (It can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days or frozen for up to a month.)
Assembling your Pomegranate Blackberry Vegan Pastry Cream Parfait
Divide your blackberries evenly among 4 1 pint bowls/containers. Reserving 4 blackberries for garnish. Spoon about 1/2 cup pastry cream atop the blackberries. Top mixture with 1/3 cup of pomegranate arils and 1 blackberry for garnish.
(Note: Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs are my own.)
Until tomorrow, all the best my fellow Steemians!
Hi, I'm Benita G. You may also know me as, or call me, @AtMemesTable.
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