Pomegranates are known for their health benefits, tough exterior, and bright red juices that can easily stain your favorite t-shirt if you're not careful. While they might not be as common in the U.S. as berries or bananas, there are plenty of ways you can use them in your cooking. Here's everything you need to know about these somewhat mysterious red fruits.
What Is A Pomegranate?
Round pomegranate fruits grow on the pomegranate plant, a shrub-like tree native to Iran and now cultivated in many parts of the world. The name comes from the Latin words pomum and granatum, which mean "apple" and "many seeds." They have a short growing season, from October to January, which is probably why they're included in so many holiday recipes.
Can You Eat Pomegranates?
Yes, you can eat pomegranates, but not like you would an apple. The inside of a pomegranate contains seeds that are enclosed in a red sack of juice called an aril. The seed and aril together are considered to be pomegranate seeds, which are edible. There is also a white membrane surrounding these seeds, which you can eat, but is said to be bitter. These seeds are often used to make pomegranate juice. The root, stem, and peel might not be safe to consume in large amounts, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), because they have substances that can be harmful.
Are Pomegranates Healthy?
Pomegranates have been touted for their health benefits, but what exactly is their nutritional makeup? A half cup of the arils, according to USDA FoodData Central, contains about 72 calories, 1.5 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, 16 carbohydrates, and 12 grams of sugar. While you won't find much fiber in the juice, there's about 3.5 grams of fiber in a half cup of arils. In addition to vitamins and minerals, pomegranates are known for containing antioxidants.
How To Cut A Pomegranate
Getting to the seeds might seem a bit daunting, but we have a step-by-step guide on how to cut a pomegranate to make things easy and mess-free. You'll start by removing the flower on top, slicing shallow scores from top to bottom in the ridges along the sides, and then separating the sections and removing the seeds.
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