Pomegranates... the Jewels of Winter
After enjoying an abundance of Summer berries and stone fruits this past season, it may seem that Fall and Winter are open to only apples, pears, and citrus - but don’t forget about pomegranates! The hidden little sweet-tart gems inside pomegranates can brighten up any rainy or wintry day.
History behind the Fruit
Pomegranates are one of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits. Native to Iran and India, archaeological findings show that they were grown and harvested by the Persians as far back as 2,000 BC. Today pomegranates continue to be featured heavily in Middle Eastern cuisine, with crops growing well in Asia and the Mediterranean region. In the United States, both California and Arizona have a great climate for this special fruit.
Buying and Storing Pomegranates
The three most common pomegranate varieties in the US are the Wonderful, Red Wonderful, and Early Foothill. Their season runs from late September to January.
When buying pomegranates, select fruits that are heavy for their size and have slightly browned skins. Pomegranates are one of the few fresh fruits you want to buy that don’t look good on the outside. If the leathery rind is clean, smooth, and bright red, chances are the arils (that’s what the ruby-red pulp around the seeds are called) aren’t sweet enough. The uglier the fruit looks on the outside, the better the chance that the inside is bursting with sweet arils.
Pomegranates can be kept at cool room temperature out of direct sunlight for up to two weeks. They can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to two months.