In Season: Pomegranate


[Flickr: Swamibu]

As beautiful as they are delicious, pomegranates are in season from October through January. The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits in history, first cultivated in Egypt around 100 B.C. Serving as a sign of fertility and rebirth, this highly celebrated fruit's skin and bark served medicinal purposes throughout history, although only the seeds are truly edible.

Today, the power of pomegranate is just as strong—loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, studies show that pomegranates have been proven to reduce heart disease and aid other health issues. There are well over 100 varieties of pomegranates, such as Cloud, Francis, Granada, Home, King, and the most popular and widely distributed, Wonderful variety.

Pomegranate recipes and tips after the jump.

When selecting pomegranates in the market, look for a plump, vibrantly colored, round fruit free of blemishes. Pomegranates do not ripen once they have been picked from the shrub, so make sure that you choose a perfectly ripe one at the market.

Whole pomegranates can be stored in a cool and dry area for up to two months, but once cut, enjoy your pomegranate within two to three days. If you want to prolong pomegranate season, simply freeze the seeds in an airtight bag for up to one year.

Not only wonderful on their own, the pomegranate is fantastic in many dishes, including the recipes below: