By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
The pomegranate is full of panache and prestige. This ancient fruit has certainly withstood the test of time and taste with style and grace. Long before becoming the “it” ingredient of modern times, and being hailed for its nutritious benefits and dynamic flavor, its crown-like top and rustic red exterior placed it center stage as a ceremonial or tabletop decorative item. And it remains so today. Yet, looks can be as deceiving as they are intriguing. Just beneath its hearty skin lies a stunning interior of alluring ruby edible gems, on which folklore and legends have bestowed a sense of deep-seeded responsibility.
Egyptian, Greek, and Roman myths all significantly showcase its beauty while its presence remains an important component in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish rituals. Pomegranate power is profound and seems to have made its mark early and almost everywhere in the world. Derived from the medieval French word “Pomme Garnete” meaning “seeded apple”, rumors even abound that it was actually this lustful cousin of the apple that Eve presented to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Factually speaking, the pomegranate is evident in scriptures; this is seen in frescoes and stone carvings from biblical times onward.
Native to Iran, Israel, and India, and now a California commodity too, these tiny arils are eternally and internationally revered as symbols of fertility, hope, and renewal. They are also an appreciated element in savory and sweet dishes as well as drinks. Harvested from September to January, they can be enjoyed in versatile ways and often play a prominent part in holiday specialties. On their own, in a salad, smoothie, or cocktail, or as a sauce atop a main course or dessert, the seeds are exceptional. They are as delicious as they are pretty. In a healthy twist of food fate, they are also loaded with potassium, fiber, folic acid, and Vitamins A, C and E. Rest assured on every front, the pomegranate – is alive and well.
GETTING WARMED UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH MASTER CHEF BRENDAN COLLINS
Pomegranate power does add pizazz when this creative Master Chef beautifully blends colorful flair and fantastic flavor with a pristine pork roast, alongside autumn squash tortellini with pecans. Take note of his rustic yet refined impressive results. > More! In this month’s featured Chef Spotlight with Brendan Collins
Tools for the Taste
As an executive chef, pork perfection is a promise when preparing your own savory roast using Matfer’s Copper Sauté and Sauce Pans, Exoglass® Spatula & Spoon, the Ergonomic Truffle Cutter and the Giesser Messer Knife.