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Now mainly grown in America, Spain, the Middle East and India, pomegranates originated in the area from Northern India to Iran. They have a round shape, like an apple, with a hard, shiny skin blushed with red or yellow. Inside, scores of edible little white seeds are held in jewel-like, ruby-coloured sacs filled with sweet, juicy flesh. The sacs themselves are packed in a bitter, pale yellow pith.
Pomegranates have always been highly prized for their flavour, but their recent emergence as a highly nutritious superfood, packed with antioxidant vitamins, has made them even more popular. The skin and the pith should not be eaten.
Read our guide on the health benefits of pomegranates.
All year round.
Choose the best
Look for pomegranates with unblemished, shiny skins. Those that feel heavy for their size are the juiciest. Avoid any with soft patches.
Cut open across its middle then, holding a half over a bowl, cut-side down, bash the skin with a rolling pin. The seeds should pop out.
To extract the juice, put the seeds in a sieve and press out the juice with the back of a spoon. Avoid crushing the sac membranes too much as they can taste bitter. Be careful when preparing pomegranates, as the juice stains.
From ancient Persia to the Himalayas and beyond, tangy pomegranates are mentioned several times in the Bible and are one of the world's most popular and cultivated fruits today.
Pomegranate 0 all recipes using pomegranate
Choose fruit with glossy skin that are heavy for their size.
Pomegranates will keep for several weeks in a cool room.
For maximum flavour, buy whole fresh pomegranates. Hold the fruit over a bowl and carefully break open the skin. Discard the skin and remove the segments of juicy seeds, saving the juice as you do so. Discard the pith. (Pomegranate seeds can also be removed from their skin by holding a pomegranate half in the palm of your hand over a bowl and bashing the skin with the back of a spoon: the seeds should fall out.)
Use fresh pomegranate seeds in sweet and savoury salads. They have an affinity with oranges, bitter salad leaves, nuts and sharp, fresh cheeses as well pineapple, clementines and poached rhubarb. Sour pomegranate syrup works well with seared duck, sauteed aubergine or fried fish.
Article by Sybil Kapoor
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