I'm so thankful God made seasons--times and seasons of the year and times and seasons of life. This time leading into Thanksgiving is one of the best times of the year for me. I love the crisp, fragrant, blustery (or even tempestuous, as it is at the moment!) days and how cozy it feels to be inside. I can't help but smile as I see the all the lovely shades of brown in the form of mature, "pregnant" grasses dancing roadside and across fields. I love the awe-inspiring sunsets and flickering candlelight. And you know...just being honest....I really, really love the food!
Apples & Cider
Nuts & Seeds
What beautiful food! I never tried a pomegranate until last year. These fruits are surely a little taste of Heaven. Perhaps I just don't get out much, but pomegranates cure a bit of the wanderlust I tend to experience this time of year. There's something about them that seems so ancient, so exotic.
I did a little research, and apparently there's a reason they seem that way. Pomegranates were one of the first cultivated fruits, and have greatly impacted many civilizations for thousands of years. Historically, they've been extremely symbolic in Middle and Near East, the Mediterranean, Asia, Europe, and North America. Ancient Egypt revered pomegranates as symbols of afterlife, and there are numerous depictions of them on tomb walls. They were required food in the pharaohs' residence, and had many other purposes as well. Ancient Greece included pomegranates quite prominently in their myths. The fruit came to signify a change of seasons.
My favorite history of the pomegranate is the Biblical significance and Jewish tradition. They are referenced in Exodus 28, Song of Solomon 7, and 1 Kings 7, among other places. Tradition teaches that they symbolize righteousness, as they are said to contain 613 seeds, corresponding to 613 mitzvot (commandments) of the Torah. It is said that pomegranates symbolize fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom, and they are often enjoyed in celebrating Rosh Hashanah.
In addition to being exotic, lovely and delicious, they're very healthful. They're jam-packed with antioxidants, giving all those free-radicals a run for their money. But the question remains, how do you eat them, and how do you do it without squirting yourself, your cat, your children, and your entire kitchen?
Let me share this wonderful trick with you (that was my original purpose of this post anyway, before I digressed...)
- Wash the pomegranate and chop off the end, enough that you see the outer seeds inside.
- Cut through the outer peel only, beginning at the chopped end, all the way down the the other end. I do this four times, quartering the fruit as I would do to peel an orange.
- Place the pomegranate cut-end down in a bowl of very cold water for ten minutes or so.
- Keeping the fruit submerged, break the fruit apart into quarters. The seeds, called arils, will break easily out with your fingers under water and sink to the bottom of the bowl. The white stuff will float to the top, and you can skim it off.
- When you've loosened all the arils out of the peel, dump out the water and you've got yourself a lovely bowl full of pomegranate! You can give them a final rinse in a colander, if you want, but I find that's not really necessary.
Eat them plain, add them to salads, swirl a few into water or other drinks for flavor and color. Enjoy, and give thanks to God for the creativity He used in designing our food!