The pomegranate shrub (small tree) has been planted in the Mediterranean region since ancient times. The name “pomegranate” derives from medieval French and means “seeded apple”. In many cultures, the fruit symbolizes prosperity and fertility. Juice, wine and molasses are processed from pomegranate fruits, the latter being very popular in many cuisines including the Lebanese one. The seeds have also their share in the kitchen; when dried, they are used in Indian and Pakistani cuisine as spices in the preparation of chutney and curry.
Several varieties of pomegranates are planted on different altitudes across Lebanon; they vary from sour acidic to sweet. The fruits are harvested in fall. Pomegranate molasses or debs el remman, which is commonly used in the Lebanese cuisine, is prepared by boiling the sour fruits’ juice until it thickens; sugar is sometimes added. It is used in salads and vegetarian pastries as a substitute for lemon juice; it is also used to marinate meat and adds rich flavors to makanek (Lebanese sausages).
Health benefits of pomegranate
Pomegranate or “the hard red fruit with million seeds” is considered to be a “super fruit” since it is packed with antioxidants, vitamins (C, A, E & Bs), and minerals (Calcium, iron, potassium) that boost your health and wellbeing. Its crunchy and refreshing texture makes pomegranate an attractive garnish on salads and dishes or a fantastic fresh juice. It is also used in the form of “Pomegranate molasses” to add a sweet and bitter touch to dishes leading to a flavor explosion for the taste buds!
80 calories / 100 g pomegranate
135 calories / 1 cup pomegranate juice
50 calories / 1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
Tip: Freezing the entire fruit makes it easier to separate and remove the grains