Pomegranates are a unique fruit that for millennia have been regarded as symbolic and healthful. Newly en vogue, you find a pop of these ethereal, vibrant and crimson beauties here and there for wow factor. Although they have regained popularity in recent years, pomegranates really have been adored for their health benefits dating back to ancient Egyptian times. The middle eastern, sweet and sour fruit is packed with vitamins including vitamin c, and even fiber if you are eating the arils. (seeds)
The astringent quality of this juice has been said to counterbalance sugar and fat, with a calming or cleansing effect similar to a digestif but without alcohol. Pomegranates and deep hued berries are helpful for indigestion and sore throat, even some mild types of infections. When concentrated these berry elixirs and cough cures help to boost immunity and hasten the neutralization of the flu, or even the dreadful common cold. There is also word that the super fruits (allegedly) help combat heart disease, anxiety, cancer and diabetes.
Eldberberry, Aronia, acai, goji and various other deep hued fruits are similar to pomegranates health wise. They all have favorable high antioxidant qualities, and they are all said to help combat common sicknesses. Although most common berries such as blueberries, cherries, cranberries and blackberries are packed with antioxidants, not many can really hold a candle to the one of a kind beauty and significance the pomegranate carries.
Symbolic of prosperity, ambition, death and even fertility or “fruitfulness.” Ancient religion and Greek mythology refer to the pomegranate frequently. In Israel we heard of it quite often referred to as one of the “Seven Species.” These species being: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives, pomegranates and dates. They are the native staples that date back to biblical times. These species are revered as culturally and religiously significant. They represent sustenance, and celebration. These fruits are typically in season in late fall and early winter but unlike eldberberries and aronia, pomegranates (more specifically their juice) can now be found easily in any grocery mart all year long and it won’t cost you a fortune. They are best when in season and fresh, but honestly they are good by me any time of the year seeing that we don’t grow many pomegranates here in the Poconos.
Pomegranate Molasses This ethereal and delicious potion is simple, pure and easy to make if you have just a little patience. Pomegranate molasses is used in a lot of modern cuisine as a “secret ingredient.” It is available online or in very well stocked grocery marts that have a good middle eastern section. Use pomegranate molasses instead of grenandine in cocktails, drizzle it atop oatmeal, ice cream or yogurt. Try it with savory foods such as squash, sweet potatoes, chicken, ham, meatballs, or even eggplant (with tahini of course!)
It is mind blowing how divine this syrup is. I was truly baffoozled when I tasted this syrup for the first time. Once chilled it is very, very similar to regular molasses in texture as well as taste, but it also has a powerful fruity taste. Super fruit “cleanses,” detoxes or elixirs can run $20 to $45, tiny little bottles of natural “cough syrup” run up to twenty dollars. You can leave this unsweetened entirely to create a sugar free concentrate, or you can sweeten it with honey or maple syrup to taste. As a cough and cold remedy, or nutritional aid take one teaspoon once or twice a day. This unsweetened molasses can be blended with coconut oil, raw honey and ginger to further aid ailments such as cough or indigestion. I usually just add concentrates to smoothies with homemade raw kefir or yogurt.
- 6-8 cups 100% pomegranate juice (or other juice for blueberry, cranberry or cherry molasses)
- Pinch- Sea Salt
1. In a 2 quart sauce or soup pot, simmer juice over medium heat. If you have something flatter with more surface area exposed, this will allow for a quicker reduction.
2. Simmer while occasionally whisking for 30-40 minutes. During the last ten minutes it is critical that you do not walk away or ignore this mixture. It will scorch much like an unattended jam… you will end up with burnt, awful smelling napalm.
3. To me this pomegranate reduction is exactly perfect, if you prefer it to be wetter reduce it less. If you prefer it sweeter, add sweetener such as raw honey or maple syrup. (You can sweeten it with raw honey once the mixture is cooled to preserve the raw quality of the honey) The mixture will thicken as it chills. You want it to thicken, reduce and and caramelize but not burn.
4. Refrigerate until you need it, bring it to room temperature before use.
“The myth of Persephone, the goddess of the Underworld, prominently features the pomegranate. In one version of Greek mythology, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken off to live in the underworld as his wife. Her mother, Demeter (goddess of the Harvest), went into mourning for her lost daughter and thus all green things ceased to grow. Zeus, the highest ranking of the Greek gods, could not allow the Earth to die, so he commanded Hades to return Persephone. It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the Underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Persephone had no food, but Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was still his prisoner and so, because of this, she was condemned to spend six months in the Underworld every year. During these six months, when Persephone is sitting on the throne of the Underworld next to her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourns and no longer gives fertility to the earth. This became an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons.”-Wikipedia