DEBBIE MURPHY COLUMN: Delicious red jewels bring healthy sparkle to a plate

During the dark days of winter, I am always lifted to see a favourite of mine joining the seasonal food list again. So, welcome back pomegranate, writes Debbie Murphy.

By Janet Bew (edited by)
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 1:46 pm
Pomegranate is a favourite of Debbie's
Pomegranate is a favourite of Debbie's

These bright red and jewel-like juicy seeds can always bring some sparkle to a plate, bowl, or glass, so I would like to give you a couple of recipes to be inspired by.

I think another reason I get excited by pomegranates is the fact they remind me of warm days and happy holidays. They always take me to the rows of trees that I saw in Turkey, bursting with this bright red fruit and filling me with ideas with what to cook, and how to use them.

You may need to ignore the fact that in Greek mythology the pomegranate was called the “fruit of the dead” as it was said to have come from the blood of Adonis and instead, concentrate on the real benefits this wonderful fruit has.

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Its bright red colour is due to the plant chemicals, called anthocyanins, they contain. These are great antioxidants for us, thought to help mop up the free radicals in our bodies and reducing our risk of developing chronic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. They are also reported to work as an anti-inflammatory too. So, certainly not a ‘fruit of the dead’!

But what can you do with them and how do you prepare them without looking like you live on the set of a horror film (I have needed to wipe walls clean after a particularly ripe one!)

Here’s an easy way to get one open:

Grab your pomegranate, a knife and a small bowl of water large enough for the fruit and your fingers. If you look closely, you will see six flattened ridges on the smooth skin, indicating sections.

Score along these ridges, cutting through the skin, but not through the seeds. Hold your pomegranate over the bowl of water, prize open one of the cuts with your fingers and the fruit should split open in half.

Pull sections apart covered in the water and press against the skin to pop out the seeds. Keep going under water until all the seeds are removed; drain the water away and you’re done!

Now you have your seeds – here’s some ideas what to do with them.

Banana Pomegranate Pot

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 banana, sliced

1 pomegranate, seeds removed

4 tbsp oats or granola

1 tbsp sesame seeds

1 tbsp sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Lemon Drizzle

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp honey

Layer each of the ingredients inside a glass jar. Mix the lemon juice and honey together and drizzle over the top of each glass. You can serve with a dollop of yoghurt.

Almond, Ginger and

Pomegranate Smoothie

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 tsp almond butter (or other nut butter)

1 large banana

600ml coconut milk

½ tsp fresh ginger root, grated

3 tsp maple syrup or honey

4 tbsp pomegranate seeds

1 tbsp black sesame seeds to serve (optional)

Place the ingredients into a high-speed blender and process until smooth. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and serve immediately.

Pomegranate seeds can also be a great addition simply scattered on to a fruit salad, a leafy salad, roasted vegetables, or a soup. Mix them up with flavours such as ginger, lemon, and cumin if you want a taste of the Middle East as a pomegranate goes perfectly with them.