Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pick of the Week: Pomegranate

Before pomegranate juice became the it drink. most of us never gave this wondrous fruit a second thought -- except to decorate a holiday wreathe of dress-up a bowl of fruit.

But what about eating the real thing, a gorgeously colored ruby red fruit with a lumpy round leathery skin? In most cases, it never happens.

I often write about my mom, who taught me just about everything I know about fruits and vegetables. She loved them all, treated them with reverence-like care, but thought pomegranates were just too much work for so little reward. In this case, my mom was so wrong.

I urge you to pick one up and give it a try. Inside each fruit are hundreds of seeds called arils, the prize of the pomegranate. Of course, these juicy small sacs are squeezed and made into juice,. But they are also perfect tossed into both savory or sweet recipes, or added to a salad to punch it up a notch.

Selecting: The skin should be shiny and bright red, and although the leathery texture looks as if it needs a good moisturizer, there should be no signs of shriveling. When it comes to this fruit, size really does matter: Buy the biggest one you can find, because they have the most seeds. When you pick it up, it should feel heavy for its size.

Storing: When you see pomegranates at the market, they are ready to eat. They keep in the refrigerator a few weeks, or remove the seeds and freeze them up to a year.

Removing the seeds: A few years ago,I stumbled across the Pomegranate Council's Web site -- -- and learned a very easy, no-mess three-step process for removing the seeds.
  • Cut off the crown, then cut the pomegranate into sections.
  • Place the sections in a bowl of water, then using your fingers, roll out the seeds into the water. You only want the seeds; discard the skin and the membrane.
  • Strain out the water. Voila! Hundreds of ready-to-eat juice sacs.
And now for a recipe from the Council's Web site, that I promise is worth the effort. It makes a glorious presentation, but beware that it is a pretty pricey meal. This just might be our Christmas dinner this year.


1 large of 2 lbs. firm-fleshed, 1/2-inch thick halibut
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup olive oil or butter
1 onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup pomegranate juice or 3 Tblsp. pomegranate paste
Tblsp. slivered candied orange peel, purchased or use the recipe that follows
Tblsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. ground saffron, dissolved in 2
Tblsp. hot water


2 Tblsp. chopped walnuts
Tblsp. pomegranate seeds

  • Rinse fish in cold water. Pat dry with paper towel and rub both sides with 1 teaspoon salt. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan and brown onion and garlic. Add all ingredients except the saffron water, lime juice and garnish ingredients, and cook for 3 minutes. Mix well and remove stuffing from heat.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay fish out on the baking dish. Place a layer of stuffing on one end of the fish about 1 inch long and gently roll from the stuffing end and pin closed if necessary. If you are using halibut pieces, roll each separately. Pour the saffron water, the rest of the oil, and the lime juice over the fish. Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes (until the fish flakes easily with a fork), basting from time to time.
  • Arrange the fish on a serving platter. Pour the sauce from the baking dish over the fish and garnish with walnuts and pomegranate seeds. Makes 8 servings.

Candied Orange Peel

2 large oranges, 1/4 inch of top and bottom cut off
4 cups sugar, divided
3 cups water
  • Cut peel on each orange into 4 vertical segments. Remove each segment (including white pith) in 1 piece. Cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips. Cook in large pot of boiling water 15 minutes; drain, rinse, and drain again.
  • Bring 3 cups sugar and 3 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add peel. Return to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until peel is very soft, about 45 minutes. Drain.
  • Toss peel and 1 cup sugar on rimmed baking sheet, separating strips. Lift peel from sugar; transfer to sheet of foil. Let stand until coating is dry, 1 to 2 days. Wrap and freeze up to 2 months.


  1. Tim says he would really enjoy the halibut for Christmas...even though Kara voted against it tonight. He can't wait to try it some time. I think it looks good too!


  2. Maybe we can give Kara a side of kielbasa! Love you guys.