Pomegranate - A Complete Guide

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A bowl of fresh pomegranates in winter is indeed a fine sight, a taste of the exotic, and the look of a far off land. Highly esteemed in cultures and religions through the centuries it has, however, struggled to establish itself in the culinary mainstream.

Originating in the Middle East and Central Asia it is now cultivated in South America, the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands. Pomegranates are about the size of an orange with a tough leather like skin either brown or crimson in colour.

Cut the fruit in half, there is a yellow inner pith and within that small cells containing all of the juice. Each group of cells is separated by a bitter yellow membrane which, like the pith is inedible. The juice makes excellent syrup; the French make Grenadine from it, or try it as a sorbet. With its Middle Eastern roots try pairing it with blood orange or rosewater, maybe a little cinnamon or star anise.
Pomegranates work well in savoury preparations; try them with lamb, duck, game or cheese such as feta. Pommegranates are notoriously difficult to grow outside the countries mentioned, they can take months to germinate, if at all and require a hothouse environment. Better to wait for the arrival in late autumn and brighten up those gloomy nights.

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