Friday, November 11, 2011

The Fruit of the Dead, but its good for you!

Pomegranates... It is fitting that they are in season from October - January (well at least around here, in supermarkets)
According to Greek mythology Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken to live in the underworld as his wife.  Her mother, Demeter - goddess of the harvest, was so grief stricken that in her mourning all the green, living things stopped growing.  Zeus commanded Hades to return Persephone.  However the Fates decreed that anyone who ate or drank in the underworld was doomed to eternity there, and Hades had tricked Persephone into eating 6 pomegranate seeds.  Because of this Persephone must return for 6 months every year and rule the underworld alongside her husband.  While her daughter is in the underworld Demeter goes into mourning and ceases giving fertility to the earth. 
That's how it all fits together, pomegranates are a winter fruit and the reason for winter... well at least according to the ancient Greeks ;)
Ok so that's why they are "the fruit of the dead" but why are they good for you?

There are a host of benefits to pomegranates: high in antioxidants (up to 3x that found in red wine & green tea!), combats LDL cholesterol, studies show it helps reduce risk of certain cancers, reduce the inflammation from arthritis, improves heart health & lowers blood pressure.  On average a pomegranate has 105 calories.

You can get the benefits of pomegranates by drinking the juice, however if you want to eat the fruit things can get a bit messy... to help keep things a bit cleaner my father-in-law taught me to do the following:
Cut off the crown and score the fruit, but don't cut all the way through!
Place the fruit in water (sink, plastic tub, etc)
Break apart the rind & membranes and discard
Scoop out the arils/seeds and enjoy!

Things to do with those arils... sprinkle them on your oatmeal, add them to cookies, bake them into muffins, add them to salads, use them in a salsa, add them to yogurt.  Seriously, there are SO many things you can use them in, just google pomegranate recipes!

1 comment:

John and Regina Zdravich said...

Wow! never knew the story of the pomegranate, or the trick about how to get the seeds out for easier eating. I was about to say that another benefit is that it takes a lot of work to eat them, so you burn a lot of calories, but your trick sort of negates that....I guess if someone wanted to burn the calories they could eat it the hard way -- cutting in half and picking the seeds out...