The Fruit of Love — Pomegranate Season!
A story, a bit of history, a recipe and a tip on how to easily remove the seeds
Be still my beating heart. It’s pomegranate season!
I do most of the grocery shopping these days, but on this last outing my husband went. I always love when he does because he invariably brings home something I didn’t think to get. This time, he came home bearing a bag of all the regular items in his left hand, but in his right hand he cradled a big vibrant bright red pomegranate.
Just looking at it made my heart tingle with romantic longings.
You see the pomegranate symbolizes passion and love for us, just as it has for people around the world for centuries.
An aphrodisiac or the forbidden fruit?
It is said Aphrodite planted the first pomegranate tree and some say the fruit is an aphrodisiac. Others speculate that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was really a pomegranate rather than an apple.
For me, it is inextricably tied to young love.
For about a year, just before and after getting married, we lived in a tiny “casita” — to give it a romantic name — in the back of another house in a mildly sketchy part of Culver City, CA. The rooms of that house were so small that I could almost touch both walls of the living room if I stood in the center and outstretched my hands. We were poor enough that we didn’t have much furniture. Our kitchen table was an old round discarded picnic table with a missing leg, that we balanced with one edge on the window sill to keep it upright.
But we were young and in love and adored our abode. Although the house was tiny, the yard was generous with a fire pit out back where the neighborhood cats would gather with us in the evenings. To one side we made a huge organic garden — our own Garden of Eden. Best of all, beside our front door there was a pomegranate tree. It was here, as a newlywed, that I picked my first pomegranate right off the tree.
It might be the forbidden fruit, but for us it had no ill effects only titillating ones as we are still married 36 years later, the subject of our own fairy tale — or Greek myth.
The sensual art of eating a pomegranate
Visually on the outside pomegranates are gorgeous bright red and round, while inside they are bursting with juicy jewel-like seeds. They fairly exude passion and sensuality.
And, indeed, it can be a sensual act to break one open and, a chunk in hand, individually pick out seeds, delighting as the each seed explodes with juice in your mouth. My husband and I used to cuddle up and watch a movie this way, eating pomegranate seeds instead of popcorn.
Pomegranates as a miracle cure and culinary delight
The thing about pomegranates is that in addition to the juicy feelings they engender, they are good for you.
Modern medicine agrees with the thousand-year history of medicinal claims, touting it’s qualities: full of anti-oxidants and vitamin C, important in cancer prevention, offers protection from Alzheimer’s, is good for the gut, is a power anti-inflammatory, lowers blood sugar… The list goes on.
Pomegranates are quite the culinary delight too — adding an unexpected playful sweet tart “pop” to a dish and a dash of bright color.
A favorite holiday dish, for its festive beauty, simplicity to make, and divine taste is one my friend, Nancy, shared with me called “Cabbage with Jewels.” It’s delicious.
Cabbage with Jewels
1 cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup olive oil 2 teaspoon salt
1 pomegranate, seeds only
A practical matter — how to remove the seeds?
As much as the sight of the vibrant red globe brings a tingle up and down my body, however, and as much as I appreciate the slow sensual way of eating pomegranates, and get excited about the medicinal qualities and unusual culinary treats, there has always been the practical issue of how to get the seeds out when you want a bunch at a time — as in the dish above.
It has been a couple years since we’ve had a full pomegrante (lazily buying just the seeds if a recipe called for it) and, today, as I was handling it lovingly, I dreaded getting all the seeds out.
Then, all of a sudden, I remembered a simple trick I learned years ago that makes removing the seeds from a pomegranate mess-free and easy! I tried it tonight and once again was so amazed at how well it works that I had to share it. You won’t believe how simple and effective this trick is!
Here is my love apple gift to you:
Steps for the easy removal of pomegranate seeds:
- Cut the pomegranate in half as shown, crosswise to the stem.
- Take one half of the pomegranate and position it seed-side down over a large bowl.
- Take a wooden spoon or other blunt instrument and whack the backside of the pomegranate half firmly. Keep whacking all the areas of the pomegranate as if you are bruising it all over. The seeds will simply pop out into the bowl, leaving the white pithy part behind!
- Voilà! It takes about 30 seconds.
Now, you too can invite the passionately playful young lover in, wallow in the gorgeous visual appeal of your pomegranate, reap the medicinal benefits, and create a special culinary delight too!
I invite you to let a little pomegranate magic into your life this Fall.