The Pomegranate with fruit like beautiful red jewels glistening in the sun always makes me think of far-off climes and hot sandy deserts.
It just says eat me it is another fruit which grows in abundance here and I can see the little pomegranates as I type. The branches swaying in the gentle breeze.
It has beautiful flowers and is grown as an ornamental tree because of these.
Although not native to Japan or Korea it is widely grown there as when they mature the bark makes unusual, twisted patterns and hence this tree is very suitable for Bonsai trees some trees live up to 200 years.
Originally from Iran, it has been successfully cultivated throughout the Meditteranean and North India. It grows very successfully from seed and we have many pomegranate trees here..well in almost every garden, this edible fruit is a berry and the tree is extremely drought tolerant so suited to the climate here and other Asian countries.
Medicinally the fruit rind is used to treat chronic dysentery and diarrhoea. The pulp and seeds are used as a laxative.
Like many people I was put off by getting those little seeds out from the surrounding membrane don’t they make a lot of mess? but if you separate the seeds in a bowl of water it is much easier to do. Tricks of the trade so simple when you know how!
They make wonderful juices, smoothies, garnishes for cooking…I just love seeing those little red jewel-like berries scattered over some lamb, duck or just a simple eggplant dish and Pomegranate syrup is a lovely thing and elevates many a dish.
Lovely in a cocktail as well…just saying…lol
Just make a lovely gin and soda cocktail and add a handful of pomegranates and a splash of the syrup..very nice and a beautiful pink colour.
Pomegranate seeds are also used to make a spice called anardana which is very popular in Indian and Pakistan cuisine it is made from the dried seeds of the pomegranate and then ground to a fine powder. It is used as a flavour enhancer in many dishes from salads, meats, smoothies and yoghurts.
I cannot buy pomegranate syrup/ molasses here but it is is very easy to make and I love it poured over Ice cream.
To make the syrup you need
- 4 cups of Pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice.
Put the arils….which is what the fleshy coloured coverings are called into your blender and pulse just enough to break them up. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. You will need enough to make 4 cups of pomegranate juice.
Put the juice into a large wide pan on the medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, let the juice simmer until it has reduced to about a cup or a cup and a quarter and is nice and syrupy. Pour into a sterilised jar/ bottle, cool and keep in the refrigerator.
Because Pomegranates vary in their sweetness and acidity you may need to add more or less sugar/lemon juice.
Guinea Fowl, walnut and pomegranate stew.
- 1 free-range guinea fowl jointed into 4-6 pieces
- 1 ltr of fresh chicken stock
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 large onions sliced
- 6 cloves garlic sliced
- 300 gm walnuts shelled
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 125 ml pomegranate molasses/syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- Garnish with a handful of pomegranate seeds, coriander, parsley, tarragon, chives mint or basil and some sliced spring onions.
Toast the walnuts on a baking tray in the oven at 180 degrees/gas 4
Then whizz them in the food processor I have a small little chopper until they have a smooth texture, scrape the sides down occasionally it will look like a smooth peanut butter.
Put the walnut mix in a large pan add the chicken stock and 1 ltr water and bring to a simmer cook until the mix has reduced by half stirring often so the walnut mix does catch and burn about 45-50 mins.
Heat the oil in a wide shallow dish when hot add the seasoned guinea fowl skin side down fry over a medium heat until the skin has browned.
Turn over and sear the other side transfer to a plate and cook the remaining pieces the same way. Set the plate to one side.
In the same pan add the onions and on a medium heat cook for about 10 minutes stirring often add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes then add cinnamon, sugar and tomato puree bring to a gentle simmer and add the walnut mix and the pomegranate molasses bring back to a gentle simmer add the guinea fowl legs skin side up and cook for 30 minutes. Add the breasts making sure everything is evenly placed to ensure even cooking and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the guinea fowl is cooked through. Check the stock every so often and if it is reducing too much top up with chicken stock or water and gently stir.
Once ready check and adjust the seasoning you are looking for a sweet but sharp, savoury balance of flavour it might require more molasses or sugar.
Scatter with the pomegranate seeds and a garnish of the freshly picked herbs.
N.B Guinea fowl can be tough to portion so get your butcher to do it or use chicken portions or baby quail.
This can be made a day or two in advance just loosen the sauce with some water when reheating.
Serve with rice or couscous…It is a lovely rich dish and ideal for that special occasion I just love the flavour the pomegranate molasses impart to this dish.
Lastly, Pomegranate vinegar makes a lovely present and is also very nice and can be used to make a very nice personal gift which any cook would be pleased to be given.
I use apple cider vinegar as it is readily available but a good quality wine vinegar can be used or a balsamic vinegar as it gives a sweeter tasting vinegar.
To make you will need equal quantities of pomegranate seeds to vinegar. What I do is decide on the bottles or jars I am using and measure the vinegar in that then once I know the amount of vinegar I then work out how many arils I will need( they must be deseeded)
.Put the pomegranate seeds in a saucepan and flatten them to release the juice ( use a plastic cup or something to flatten the seeds.
Bring them to a slow rolling boil not completely boiling so as to release the pomegranate juice and turn off the heat. Pour everything into a sterilized jar or bottle and cover the top loosely and allow to cool completely.Once cool put the cap on the jar or bottle and store in a dark cool place or in the fridge the flavour will develop as the days go by…When ready to use strain the vinegar you can add some molasses to strengthen the flavour or add sugar to sweeten.
It can be used as a drink by adding a tbsp or two of vinegar to a glass of water and sweeten with honey. OR used to make salad dressings either on its own or by mixing with Olive oil, garlic or mustard.
It also makes a lovely Christmas or birthday gift..who doesn’t like a bottle of a handmade vinegar…
I hope you are enjoying these Fruity Fridays …Thank you for reading and I hope you love the recipes …If you do please share on your favourite social media xxx