Every month we bring you recipes showcasing our fruit and the many ways it can be used in both sweet and savory applications. While we’re not the most kitchen savvy people–everyone can cook with fruit, it’s simple–we like to think we put up some decent work. But imagine what a professional could do, given some time, fruit, and a little encouragement? Well, wonder no more as this week we’ve brought in our guest blogger Lauren Brennan (of Lauren’s Latest) to prepare a few pomegranate themed dishes this week.
Hello fruit fans!
I’m Lauren Brennan from Lauren’s Latest. Last week, I had the opportunity to cook and bake with some pomegranates from The Fruit Company. I had a bunch of ideas. Like……9. So, I narrowed it down and tested the best of the best. But before we get into all these tasty recipes, I need to give you some background information.
Growing up, I hated fruit. Literally hated it and would not eat any, except for the occasional banana. I’d eat all the veggies I could get, but the “eeww’s” would start once the fruit hit the table. So when I first tried a pomegranate years and years ago, I didn’t like it. I didn’t think they were awful (like blueberries or strawberries) but they weren’t exactly good either.
So when I had the opportunity to not only try them again but use them in recipes, I jumped at the chance. And, what do you know! I like pomegranates! I think they are a delicious fruit that are completely underused! The arils are sweet and they crunch like a grape. They have a slight tangy and bitter quality as well. It’s like mother nature’s perfectly balanced fruit with a bunch of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants too!
The only downside is having to figure out how to get those cute little arils out of their skins! Well, downside no more! I’ve tested technique after technique to get those gorgeous ruby beauties out and ready to use with the least amount of effort and I’ve got a great method! Here’s what you do:
(1) Cut off the top and bottom of the pomegranate to view the arils and the white membraneous sections.
(2) Gently cut 6-8 vertical slits through the pomegranate skin (but not too far to damage the arils).
(3) Grab a bowl of luke warm water and break apart the sections of pomegranate and place in the water.
(4) Gently remove the arils from the white membranes underneath the water! (You could also do this above the water, but you run the risk of breaking the arils and squirting yourself or your shirt therefore staining it!)
(5) The pomegranate arils will sink to the bottom and the white membranes will float to the top. Drain the water and discard the membranes.
(6) Spread the arils over some paper towels to dry and then eat! See? Simple!
Now for these recipes! This past week, I tested some Peanut Butter and Pomegranate Jelly Bars, Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette, and Pomegranate Salsa. Oh mama, are all these recipes tasty! My favorite may just be the bars……or the salsa……or the vinaigrette. I’m indecisive. Ask my husband. Anyways, I loved them all and would recommend making them while you can still get pomegranates from The Fruit Company. They are some of the biggest and best pomegranates I’ve tasted!
yield: 8 servings
3 medium on the vine tomatoes, diced
1 cup pomegranate arils
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, finely diced (seeds and ribs removed)
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon sugar
salt & pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients together and serve with tortilla chips.
Pomegranate Balsamic Vinaigrette
yield: 1 large salad
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3/4 tablespoon sugar
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup light olive or canola oil
salt & pepper, to taste
In a small saucepan, combine arils, vinegar and sugar. Heat over medium low heat and crush the arils with a fork or potato masher. Take off the heat once sugar gas dissolved and strain into a small bowl. Whisk in remaining ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Peanut Butter and Pomegranate Jelly Bars
yield: 12 servings
for the pomegranate jelly-
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup water
3 cups pomegranate arils
for the peanut butter bar base-
1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
For the pomegranate jelly:
In a medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch. Whisk in cold water until smooth. Stir in pomegranate arils and place over medium heat. Use a potato masher to break arils while heating. This should take around 5 minutes. Bring mixture to a boil to thicken. Remove from heat and strain jelly to make it seedless. Set aside to cool. As the jelly cools, it should thicken more.
To make the bars:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whip butter and peanut butter together until smooth. Stir in sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla. Slowly incorporate all dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of a greased 8×8 square pan. Top with cooled pomegranate jelly. Break up remaining 1/3 of peanut butter dough into small pieces and sprinkle evenly to top the bars. Bake for 35 minutes or until top has browned lightly. Remove and cool completely before serving.
The Fruit Company® got its start in 1942 when Roy Webster began selling apples and pears from his orchards located in Hood River, Oregon. The area was perfect for growing fruit thanks to the volcanically enriched soil and glacial water from the nearby Mt. Hood. The fruit was exceptional. The company was passed down from father to son and today is owned and operated by Roy's Grandson Scott Webster.