When closed, the pomegranate it almost looks like a small sculpture. When cut, then, it reveals red beans, sparkling, transparent, similar to precious stones, which make it a very special fruit. With numerous gifts, gastronomic and more.
An ancient auspicious tradition
The pomegranate is native to Persia and there is evidence of its cultivation since the most remote antiquity, also mentioned in the Song of Songs, the poetic biblical text dedicated to love. Pomegranates ripen in the Muslim Paradise and are blessed by Buddhists. As often happens with fruit rich in seeds, they are a symbol of fertility And wealth and, as such, good wishes. From these ancient traditions derives the one that wants the pomegranate present on the festive tables, especially on the occasion of new Year's Eve, to bring prosperity and luck in the year that is about to begin.
Where does it come from
Today, foreign productions mostly come from Spain, Turkey And Israel. Its increasing diffusion on our markets is due to the fact that, in recent years, it has also begun to be cultivated in ours center-south, in particular in Calabria and Sicily.
How it is made
The pomegranate is a fruit with a curious morphology. In fact … it is a false fruit! It is a kind of big one berry with an internal white membrane (called "cica") that divides it into segments. Each of the cloves contains i grains which, in turn, contain i sow. Skin and membrane make up about 40% of the whole pomegranate. Therefore, from an average weight pomegranate, around 300 g, about 180 g of grains are obtained. The taste is mildly sour, sweet without being cloying. Furthermore, the juice abundant content in the grains makes them particularly fresh e thirst quenchers. Finally, from a nutritional point of view, the pomegranate is rich – like all red fruits – in antioxidant substances that made it a superfood, decreeing its current success.
How it cleans up
Although the peel appears leathery, almost woody, to open the pomegranate a good knife is enough to cut it with in the middle or in wedges, and then detach the beans from the membrane with your fingers or a teaspoon. If you work in a bowl, you will recover all the juice that comes out during this operation.
How you squeeze
Juice, which has become very fashionable, can be obtained simply with one juicer, on which to pass the half fruits. They can also be used centrifuges or extractors, in which to work only the beans. The latter can also be done blend, but in this case the juice must be filtered through a fine sieve, to retain the skins and seeds.
In long drinks and cocktails
Brewed at home or bought ready, the juice can be the basis for many cocktails. After all, it is obtained from the pomegranate la grenadine, classic bright red syrup used both in mixing and in non-alcoholic drinks. It goes well with cocktails "Sour", i.e. acids, for example based on vodka or white rum, lime or lemon juice. It can be used to replace a part of the tonic in the Gin tonic or the cranberry juice of the Cosmopolitan. Mixed with Prosecco becomes a perfect holiday aperitif. Simply, you can pour a teaspoon of grains on the bottom of cups and flutes in which to serve it bubbly wine, to toast the New Year's and wish happiness and luck.
In the kitchen
In pastry shop, pomegranate juice can be used for sweet sauces and jellies but also in soft doughs, such as that of plumcakes and muffins, in the creams and in mousses. The very decorative beans can enrich fresh fruit toppings, for example in pies, and embellish simple fruit salads. But it is in the savory cuisine that this fruit gives unprecedented sensations. Try to combine a handful of grains, at the end of cooking, on a risotto parmigiana or, better still, radicchio, of which it softens the bitter notes. Use the juice for marinate fish and crustaceans, from salmon to prawns, and serve them decorating the plates with the shiny grains. Add them to chicken salads, capon or other poultry typical of the festive tables or spread them on carpaccio, on bresaola and parmesan, on carne salada. Make it a sauce for the roasts or join them to stuffed of birds and rollé. Combine them with Side Dishes of red cabbage and savoy cabbage, raw or lightly seared, to fennel, cauliflower or broccoli salads … Or try our recipes!
Risotto with red cabbage, apple and pomegranate. Peel 300 g of red cabbage and chop finely in a blender. Peel and clean a Golden apple, then cut it into cubes. Melt a knob of butter in a saucepan with 2 juniper berries and the apple. Deglaze with half a glass of Calvados, add salt and pepper, cover and cook for 5-6 minutes. Drain the apple and juniper from the cooking juices. Add a drizzle of oil, a small chopped onion and let it simmer. Add 320 g of Carnaroli rice, toast it, add the red cabbage (except for a spoon) and cook, gradually pouring in about a liter of boiling broth. Blend the apple and mix it in a small bowl with 50 g of sour cream. Remove the rice from the heat and stir in 40 g of grated parmesan and a knob of butter. Serve with apple quenelles, pomegranate seeds (40 g in total) and the raw cabbage kept aside. For 4 people.
Guinea fowl, clementine and pomegranate salad. Cut a pomegranate in half and squeeze the juice with a juicer. Brown a kilo of guinea fowl in pieces in a pan with a drizzle of oil. Add the wine, salt, pepper and continue cooking in a covered pot for about 35 minutes, adding the pomegranate juice but as the bottom dries. Turn off, let it cool, remove the skin from the guinea fowl and fray the pulp. Peel 4 clementines and cut them into slices. Arrange 160 g of salad, slices of clementines and guinea fowl pulp in a serving dish. Shell another half pomegranate and sprinkle the grains on the salad. Add 40 g of chopped walnut kernels and season with oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. For 6 people.
Fennel, oranges and pomegranate. Peel 3 oranges and cut the wedges sharp, collecting all the juice. Clean and julienne 4 tender white celery ribs. Peel and thinly slice 2 fennel. Emulsify in a small bowl a tablespoon of the orange juice with a tablespoon of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables and orange wedges on a plate and season with the prepared sauce. Complete with 200 g of crescenza reduced to flakes, a handful of chopped walnut kernels and the grains of half a pomegranate. For 4 people.
Panettone with citrus and pomegranate. Julienne the peel of an orange, a pink grapefruit and a lemon. Blanch them for a minute in boiling water and drain. Pour 100 g of sugar and 1 dl of water into a saucepan, bring to a boil, add the peel and cook for 5-6 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken. Turn off and let cool. In a saucepan, mix 4 dl of fresh orange juice, 3 dl of fresh pink grapefruit juice and 3 dl of pomegranate juice with 80 g of sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the juice by a third, add 3 g of agar agar and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Let it cool and add 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur. Cut 200 g of panettone into cubes and toast them under the oven grill. Let them cool and divide them into 8 cups. Pour over the citrus reduction and let it cool in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Garnish with the candied peel and the grains of half a pomegranate. For 8 people.