Thursday, May 24, 2012

All About Pomegranates

" For A Virgin and Child"
Dante Gabriel Rosetti, 1828-1882

Mystery: God, man's life, born into man
Of woman. There abideth on her brow
The ended pang of knowledge, the which now
Is calm assured. Since first her task began
She hath known all. What sterner anguish than
She oft hath suffered, who for many a space
Of nights and days hath wept upon her face
While like a heavy flood the darkness ran?
All hath been told her touching her dear son,
And all shall be accomplished. Where he sits
Even now, a babe, he holds the symbol fruit
Perfect and chosen. Until God permits,
His soul's elect still have the absolute
Harsh nether darkness, & make painful moan.
Boticelli " Madonna of the Pomegranate: 1437


These beautiful blooms come straight from Aunt Ruth's amazing garden in Huntington Beach, California.
These are Aunt Ruth's lemon cucumbers she planted last week. She can hardly wait for them to get here!


Oxalis with lemon verbena

This is a Brazillian Plume Flower.This plant came from a funeral arrangement for next door. Mrs Wiegandt started it and we both got a beautiful shrub from it. It doesn't bloom very long so enjoy it while it is blooming. It is related to my shrimp plant and that blooms practically all year.
Had our first lily from last year bloom today...a stunning fire orange color. Very showy.

  Right now it's about 2:30 pm and 80F degrees. Sunny with a slight wind, but definitely cooler than it has been.

The mulberries are ripening and you had better look out! They are falling with all this wind and are like little missiles. Very tempting, but only the ones high up have ripened and the ones nearest your mouth have not! :(
The pomegranate , Punica granatum (The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum "apple" and grānātum"seeded"), is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree. We have a lovely big one in our front yard that is a wonderful producer.

The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran . It is quite an unusual looking fruit, with a tough red exterior resembling leather and the interior containing seeds. The flowers are bright red, 3 cm in diameter, with four to five petals (often more on cultivated plants). Some fruitless varieties are grown for the flowers alone. The edible fruit is a berry and is between a lemon and a grapefruit in size, 5–12 cm in diameter with a rounded hexagonal shape, and has thick reddish skin. The exact number of seeds in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to about 1400 seeds, contrary to some beliefs that all pomegranates have exactly the same number of seeds. Each seed has a surrounding water-laden pulp—the edible aril—ranging in color from white to deep red or purple. The seeds are embedded in a white, spongy,astringent pulp.

After opening the pomegranate by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the arils (seed casings) are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is easier in a bowl of water, because the arils sink and the inedible pulp floats. Freezing the entire fruit also makes it easier to separate. Another very effective way of quickly harvesting the arils is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon. The arils should eject from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded arils to remove.

The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty aril is the desired part. The taste differs depending on the subspecies of pomegranate and its ripeness. The pomegranate juice can be very sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic tannins contained in the aril juice. Pomegranate juice has long been a popular drink in Persian and Indian cuisine, and began to be widely distributed in the United States and Canada in 2002. I have seen it on the shelves as "Simply Pom" or "Pom Wonderful".

Dried pomegranate arils, found in some natural specialty food markets, still contain the seed and residual aril water, maintaining a natural sweet and tart flavor. Dried arils can be used in several culinary applications, such as trail mix, granola bars, or as a topping for salad, yogurt, or ice cream. Chocolate covered arils, also available in gourmet food stores like Trader Joes, may be added to desserts and baked items. 

Ancient Egyptians regarded the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition. In the Ancient Greek mythology, the pomegranate was also known as the "fruit of the dead".  Pomegranates were known in Ancient Israel as the fruits which the scouts brought to Moses to demonstrate the fertility of the "promised land".  It is also traditional in Greece to break a pomegranate on the ground at weddings and on New Years, In Judaism, It is traditional to consume pomegranates on Rosh Hashana because the pomegranate, with its numerous seeds, symbolizes fruitfulness. Pomegranates figure in many religious paintings, often in the hands of the Virgin Mary or the infant Jesus. The fruit, broken or bursting open, is a symbol of the fullness of Jesus' suffering and resurrection. 

My favorite story is the myth of Persephone, the goddess of the Underworld,and it also prominently features the pomegranate. In one version of Greek mythology, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken off to live in the underworld as his wife. Her mother, Demeter (goddess of the Harvest), went into mourning for her lost daughter and thus all green things ceased to grow. Zeus, the highest ranking of the Greek gods, could not allow the Earth to die, so he commanded Hades to return Persephone. It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Persephone had no food, but Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was still his prisoner and so, because of this, she was condemned to spend six months in the Underworld every year. During these six months, when Persephone is sitting on the throne of the Underworld next to her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourns and no longer gives fertility to the earth. This became an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons. 
Dante Gabriel Rossetti's painting Persephona depicts Persephone holding the fatal fruit. 

Editor's Note: Be sure not to miss GARDEN GOODIES today as we share how to make pomegranate molasses, a great alternative to syrup for ice cream or waffles for diabetics, as there is no added sugar. There is also a great recipe for Roasted Pomegranate Chickpea Salad.


What’s red, white, blue, and green?
A patriotic turtle! 

How is a healthy person like the United States?
They both have good constitutions! 

What dance was very popular in 1776?

What would you get if you crossed George Washington with cattle feed?
The Fodder of Our Country! 
Have you heard of pomegranate molasses, a thick, syrupy concentrate that is sweet and tart and as delicious as it sounds. 

Pomegranate juice can be consumed as is or mixed with sugar syrup. The latter is called grenadine, a popular flavoring for cocktails (though many modern grenadines are synthetic and no longer made from pomegranate juice).

If you take the unsweetened juice and boil it down until it is thick and syrupy, you have pomegranate molasses, a popular flavoring in Middle Eastern cooking. Pomegranate molasses once was unheard of outside of ethnic markets, but today can be found in the international aisle of most larger grocers.

And if you can't find it, it's easy enough to make. Buy a bottle of pomegranate juice (or juice concentrate), then boil it until it has reduced and become thick.The thick, deeply red syrup has an intensely sweet-tart flavor that pairs surprisingly well with savory dishes, especially grilled meats. For example, pomegranate molasses and walnuts are a classic flavoring for poultry.Opened bottles can be refrigerated for long periods. But it's not likely to sit around for long.  Here are some amazingly yummy recipe ideas to try your new pomegranate molasses with:

  • Mix it into your favorite sweet or spicy barbecue sauce (yes, even the bottled stuff) for an amazing sweet-and-savory glaze for grilled meats.
  • Blend a splash of it into a basic vinaigrette, then use that to dress a robust salad with plenty of meats and cheeses.
  • Blend a 1:1 ratio of pomegranate molasses and vinaigrette, then use this stronger version as a marinade for chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Mix tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Use this as a glaze for meatloaf or meatballs.
  • Drizzle pomegranate molasses over warm rice pudding, oatmeal or ice cream. It also makes a fine drizzle over angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
  • Sauté shallots and garlic, then add pomegranate molasses. Spoon this mixture over grilled pork chops.
  • Toss cubed butternut squash with a blend of garlic, olive oil and pomegranate molasses, then roast until tender.
SHARE OUR GARDEN RECIPE #0024 Roasted Pomegranate Chickpea Salad
Start to finish: 30 minutes  Servings: 4

You Will Need:

3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Ground black pepper
4 cups arugula
2 cups baby spinach
Kosher salt
4-ounce log soft goat cheese


Heat the oven to 450 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pomegranate molasses, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Add the drained chickpeas and toss to coat evenly. Arrange the chickpeas in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, or until the chickpeas are dried and starting to get crunchy.

Remove the chickpeas from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl whisk together the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with pepper, then add the arugula and spinach. Toss to coat.

Divide the greens between 4 serving plates, then sprinkle each with kosher salt. Divide the chickpeas between the salads, then top with crumbled goat cheese.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 370 calories; 140 calories from fat (38 percent of total calories); 15 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 15 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 16 g protein; 8 g fiber; 930 mg sodium.

As always, we would love to hear from you! Please share here; Or find us on Facebook!


Garden Centre Bewdley said...

That thing is serious! I would put it smack into the middle of my edibles garden so there would be some structure there instead of just a big odd space! Gosh, it's really beautiful.

Virginia said...

Very well researched and always on theme--great blog today!