Kickin’ Off Cocktail Hour

When the weather outside is frightful, or even when it’s not, kick your cocktail hour up a notch with festive pomegranate seeds. The pomegranate is typically in season in the Northern Hemisphere from September to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. So for us here in the Northeast US, ’tis the season!

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The name for the fruit is derived from Latin and literally means “seeded apple.” Only the seeds are edible and are found inside this large, rounded red fruit. An average pomegranate contains about 600 juicy seeds, also known as arils, which are encapsulated in white pith.

One of the essential benefits of pomegranate seeds is that this fruit is a powerhouse of various nutrients like calcium, potassium, phosphorus, vitamins C, B complex and K, folic acid, iron, protein, etc. It is also a rich source of dietary fibers, zinc, magnesium and carbohydrates. Also the bright red juice extracted from the pomegranate fruit has been proven to possess medicinal properties in a number of studies (TMI for this blog.)

I’m enthralled with many of the health benefits of pomegranate seeds and juice that have been attributed to their extremely strong antioxidant properties. But the antioxidants in pomegranate can also provide beauty benefits! Due to their ability to destroy free radicals, the antioxidants in pomegranate can help fight wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. Got your attention now?

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OK, so how do you extract those luscious arils and what do you do with them? The process is fairly easy, and the list of uses is only limited by your imagination, but I’m going to focus on how to dress up your cocktail hour for the holiday season with festive ice cubes.

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IMG_9346First, slice all around the equator piercing the tough skin but do not cut through, you don’t want to slice through the seeds inside.

IMG_9347Twist the the halves in opposite directions until you can pull it apart. Then pull the skin outward to help loosen the insides.

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Place one of the halves upside down in your palm over a large bowl and tap often and sharply. This forces the arils to pop out into the bowl.

 

Repeat with other half. Remove any white pith that may have fallen into the bowl.

IMG_9353You’ll end up with around 600 seeds and some juice.

IMG_9354Place 5-7 seeds in each ice cube square then freeze for a few hours or overnight. When completely solid, pop the frozen cubes into a ziploc bag until ready to use.

 

Store the leftover seeds in an airtight container in the fridge for 5-7 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Use them to in salads, cereal, smoothies—or more ice cubes!

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