Inside of their tough exterior shell sits a network of tiny seeds located in multiple chambers of a spongy membrane. Each seed is encased in a gem-like flesh known as the aril.
With more than 500 cultivators of pomegranates grown around the world, you can expect to encounter at least a dozen different types at the farmers’ markets throughout the fall. While the red varieties tend to be the most common, you may be able to experience pomegranates that range from white to pink, yellow and dark purple.
Delivering a nice balance of tart and sweet notes throughout, pomegranates have gained increasing popularity over the past decade,. They’re considered a “super food” by many.
Both the seeds and the surrounding flesh are edible, with the skin discarded. It does take a little bit of extra effort, but I have found one of the best methods is cutting them in half and tapping the uncut side with a spoon to release the seeds into a bowl. The seeds can then be enjoyed as they come, added to a salad or steamed rice, or pressed into juice for sauces or cocktails.
This week I prepared a simple kale salad that incorporated fresh sliced apple, almonds, shredded carrot, red onion, sweet peppers and of course, pomegranate seeds. I prefer using a sweet crisp apple, such as a fuji, for this type of recipe that helps balance the tanginess of the pomegranate. I also like avocado for an added layer of richness. I made a quick honey lemon herb dressing, but you can also toss with any favorite salad dressing you prefer.
Kale Pomegranate Salad
1 bunch Kale, stems discarded, leaves rinsed, dried and chopped
3 tablespoons Lemon Honey Herb Dressing
½ cup shredded carrot
¼ cup red onion, sliced thin
½ cup pomegranate seeds
1 apple, sliced
½ cup almond slices or slivered almonds
½ cup sweet pepper, sliced thin (I used fresh pimento peppers)
Optional: 1 small avocado, diced
For the Lemon Honey Herb Dressing
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon chopped thyme or oregano
¼ cup good quality olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt and freshly cracked pepper
Whisk all ingredients together before serving.
Place your kale in a mixing bowl and drizzle with a few tablespoons of salad dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale leaves, which will help make them more tender. Then add carrot, red onion, and pomegranate seeds and toss again. Plate into separate bowls, or plate and top with apple, almonds, sweet pepper and avocado. Drizzle top with a little additional dressing to taste.
Yield: Serves 4.