The season starts around now and culminates with a jeweled flourish in January. A great source of vitamin C, the pomegranate is worthy of being designated a Pomegranitessuper food, a symbol of fertility and a pretty sweet contribution to cooking. From the city of Granada in Spain, renamed by the Moors to Botticelli’s ‘Our lady of the Pomegranate’ painting, the pomegranate has a rich and varied history around the world and plays a part in the symbolism and liturgy of the worlds main religions.¬ The legends and myths surrounding the seeds are endless and too detailed to go into here. The seeds are perfect for salads and soups and the juice is perfect for cocktails and sauces for poultry and game. Pomegranate molasses are used in many sauces including muhammara. To make the juice, cut the pomegranate in half and sink the fruit into a bowl of water. Remove the seeds while the fruit is submerged so the peel and membrane float to the top to be discarded. Then press the seeds either in a food processor or an old fashioned juice press. To make molasses, just bring the juice to the boil on your stove with lemon juice and sugar simmering until you get the required consistency.

On a recent trip to the south west of China, our hosts in the Shaxi valley offered us pomegranates after dinner each night which we consumed while engrossed in incomprehensible soap operas. They were fresh, crunchy and reminded me that I wanted to experiment with them in the kitchen once I got back to Paris.

Pomegranate sauce

This simple sauce with yogurt and garlic and a touch of mint goes well with grilled lamb, green beans or perhaps as a dip.¬ Otherwise, add the seeds to couscous, to rice,¬ quinoa and to salads.DSC_0526¬

Ingredients

the seeds of 2 pomegranates
1 half of a clove of garlic
some roughly chopped fresh mint leaves
150 gr Greek or plain yogurt

Making

De-seed the pomegranates by cutting in half and freeing the seeds from the membrane
chop the garlic into a paste with a little salt and add to the yogurt, add the seeds and the mint, roughly mashing the seeds a little to release the juices.

Serve chilled.

Afterthought of the day.

Pomegranate “Pilav” : chop a little garlic and add to a hot pan, then add the seeds of one pomegranate with a little water (a tablespoon), stir¬ quickly at a high heat for a few minutes, add a little turmeric and brown sugar (1 tablespoon), then add one cup of quinoa.

Bring to the boil, then simmer until the quinoa is cooked. Serve with a little crème fraiche stirred in while piping hot and 1 tablepoon of shoyu or tamari sauce.

Delicious all in a bowl supper, use rice, millet, couscous or any other grain you prefer and adjust cooking times accordingly.