The first time I ever saw a pomegranate was in my Nonna’s garden. It wasn’t a common fruit back then, and certainly not something you found in the local fruit and veg store. So I only really got to eat them when I was lucky enough to score one from her tree. I can still remember painstakingly removing each kernel, one by one, sucking on the red juicy exterior and discarding the seed. There’s not a lot of flesh to each kernel, so getting full on one pomegranate is pretty hard to do and incredibly messy. The juice stains your fingers and your clothes. But I really didn’t care. Those pomegranates, the one , maybe two per year that I was able to get my hands on were very special, exotic, and something I loved.
I now look forward to pomegranate season, as I can thankfully find them most places these days. Instead of sitting down eating the kernels one by one I like to incorporate them in my cooking (although I do eat them just as they are as well). They are fantastic in savoury recipes as they have a sweet, but tart flavour. The juice makes a beautiful sweet glaze for cakes and tarts, but can also be made savoury to add rich flavour to chicken, pork and lamb. I particularly like this glaze with chicken, and it looks amazing on the plate. I love the colour.
I like to spatchcock my chicken, meaning to remove the spine and flatten it out. It speeds up the cooking process and results in crispier skin (the best bit!). I love this with a simple green salad, but a big bowl of couscous or pasta would go down nicely too. If you’d like to try this recipe for Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze, click here.
The easiest way to de-seed a pomegranate is to cut it in half, then hit the end of it with a wooden spoon so the kernels fall out. Otherwise you can break it open and pry the kernels out with your fingers. It’s a little messier but not difficult. You can freeze the kernels, so if you love them as much as I do, buy when in season and store them in snap lock bags in the freezer so you can enjoy them any time of the year.
Pomegranate brings a burst of flavour to any salad. Try it with roasted pumpkin and feta, or baby spinach and cucumber. or just toss over your favourite salad. I love the pairing of pomegranate with smoky eggplant. This easy salad uses Risoni, which is a rice-shaped pasta and goes really well with the roast chicken (above) or lamb. It keeps well too, so leftovers can be packed up for lunch the next day (always a bonus).
Enjoy this delicious fruit while you can. It’s full of antioxidants and vitamins, adds vibrance to your plate and is absolutely delicious.