Growing up in Southern California, I remember any given piece of produce to always be available. At 27 when I packed up my bags and left for the northeast, I don’t think I was prepared for all the little things in everyday life that would be so different. Take, for instance, farmers markets. In San Diego they’re open year round. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my favorite one in Pittsburgh would be closed from November through May! And so, for the last part of the fall and all of winter and going into spring, I get all my produce at the grocery store. No problem, right? I mean, I can still get everything in the store all year round like at home, right? Wrong. Case in point: my search for a pomegranate in May. It all started with Pinterest…I found and pinned a sensational-looking recipe calling for a pomegranate. In total, I visited five markets looking for just one pomegranate; towards the end, I was even willing to shell out extra money for a container of pomegranate seeds – you know, the containers that go for triple the price because all the hard work has been done for you? No luck. I had to face the fact that pomegranates simply weren’t in season. (I beg one of you readers to tell me, can you find pomegranates in California in the spring? I just can’t remember). I ended up substituting with some dried cranberries.
So here we are in November and I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to visit the market recently to find a big, beautiful display of ruby-red pomegranates, priced very nicely. And come to find out, November is National Pomegranate Month! I just knew I had to dig up that recipe again, and this time make it right. The recipe is called Superfood Salad and is maddeningly delicious. Besides the pomegranate, the ingredients include quinoa, red onion, corn, cilantro, avocado, orange and black beans, all tossed together in a tangy lemon vinaigrette and served at room temperature. It’s colorful, quick, easy, filling and healthy – in other words – the jackpot of meals! And, did I mention my husband and 2-year old love it? Throughout the summer I made Superfood Salad a handful of times and it was actually extremely good with the dried cranberries. But the pomegranate perils give it an extra little zip and a shot of antioxidants to boot. I suppose I should have made it a true antioxidant superstar of a meal by serving it with red wine, but I instead uncorked a cool white, similar to Ponte’s 2013 Torrontes to compliment the lemon and garlic in the vinaigrette. It did not disappoint. The recipe comes from the Iowa Girl Eats blog and you can find it here.
Now, some words of advice on de-seeding a pomegranate. Pomegranates are so good and so good for you, but many-a-white shirts have been irreversibly stained by the red juice that they emit. The seeds can be difficult to get out, but they don’t have to be. My favorite way is this:
- Cut just through the skin, all around the middle of the pomegranate
- Gently pry it apart so you’re left with 2 equal halves
- Take one half and gently pull all around, just to loosen the skin from the seeds a bit
- Over a bowl, turn the half upside down so the seeds are facing away from you and towards the bowl.
- Take a wooden spoon and – SMACK, SMACK, SMACK! Whack that pomegranate until all the seeds fall out, which they will.
- Ta-da! All seeds, no stains
- *Need some more details? Just look it up on YouTube.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family and I do.
–And while we’re on the subject, what’s your favorite way to enjoy a pomegranate? (It’s ok if it’s in a martini)