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An exotic fruit rich in antioxidants

The pomegranate is a typical exotic crop. In fact, at least in terms of flavour and appearance, it differs from other fruits. However, it is of Mediterranean origin, at most Middle Eastern. It has been cultivated for at least two millennia and has been consumed in Europe since ancient times.

The fortune of the pomegranate lies not only in its flavour but also in its adaptability on a botanical level. It grows almost everywhere in the Mediterranean area and resists both arid climates and slightly colder and rainier ones. It is excellent from both a nutritional and an organoleptic perspective. It is rich in vitamin C, antioxidants, and mineral salts, primarily potassium. The calorie intake is not too high; it is 83 kcal per 100 grammes.

Varieties of pomegranate

By virtue of its long history, the pomegranate is characterised by numerous varieties. Here are the most consumed ones in Italy:

  • This variety is characterised by its intense red skin, its oval shape, and its seeds with a delicate but tasty flavour. They are mainly consumed raw because they are not very juicy.
  • Mollar Del Elche. This variety is grown mainly in Spain. The fruit has a small size, light red skin, and intriguing hues that accentuate its features. The seeds are very sweet and juicy.
  • Purple pomegranate. The main feature is suggested by its name. The peel is dominated by a rather bright purple colour. The seeds are medium-juicy, very sweet, and not at all acidic.
  • This is an Asian variety and is distinguished by its vibrant red colour (on both the peel and the seeds), its juicy texture, and its well-balanced acidity.
  • Horse Tooth. It is the most consumed variety in southern Italy. It is characterised by its light skin, between pink and brown, and its sweet and sour seeds. It is often consumed raw.

Its uses in the kitchen

Pomegranate is mainly consumed raw, after shelling the seeds. These are rarely sweetened with a little sugar. They can, however, be used for recipes, especially confectionery ones. In this instance, the pulp of the pomegranate seeds serves as a garnish rather than being the primary ingredient.

Obviously, this fruit can be used to make delicious juices and smoothies. By the way, sorbet and pomegranate ice cream are also available. Pomegranate is a popular ingredient in drinks.

Some delicious recipes

The pomegranate can become a resource for expressing one’s creativity in the kitchen. This is demonstrated by the recipes I am about to present to you, which revisit some traditional dishes and embellish them with intense tones and acidic notes.

Pomegranate cheesecake. The vibrant and delicious coating of this cheesecake, with pomegranate as the main character, makes it stand out. Just bring the juice, sugar, limoncello, and cornflour to a simmer. As a result, the cheesecake will come out of the refrigerator with a sort of dense, soft icing.

Pomegranate tiramisu. It is the revisitation of the legendary tiramisu, which stands out for its presentation in a glass and for the inclusion of pomegranate. The juice contributes to the preparation of the mascarpone cream, while the seeds form a crunchy garnish.

Sea bass with pomegranate. A second course with a delicate and slightly sweet and sour flavour. The dish consists of pan-cooked sea bass, a bed of blended peas, and a pomegranate-seed garnish.

Potato and pomegranate salad. A seemingly traditional salad that displays a distinct flavour that lies in the middle of acidic and full-bodied notes. The pomegranate seeds, with their vivid scarlet colour and striking contrast to the potatoes’ equally vibrant yellow colour, contribute to the sour flavour.

Couscous with tuna and pomegranate. A wonderfully rich first course, with the shelled pomegranate adding a true touch of sophistication to the veggies and spices.

All the benefits of pomegranate

I mentioned the active ingredients present in the pomegranate fruit. I’ll now go into more detail on the health advantages of pomegranates, providing a summary below:

It strengthens the immune system thanks to the abundant presence of vitamin C. This material aids in the absorption of iron and functions as an antioxidant, preventing cancer.

Protects the cardiovascular system. The credit goes to potassium, which regulates blood pressure. Moreover, punicalagin, which is abundant in this fruit, can significantly lower the incidence of strokes and heart attacks.

It keeps the body’s energy levels high. This is due to the abundance and variety of minerals. Among the most important mineral salts are potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and manganese.

Protects the gums. It specifically reduces inflammation. Furthermore, it generates a feeling of freshness if it is consumed in the form of juice.

It benefits the digestive system. Because pomegranates contain fibre, they aid with digestion. Because of its high tannin content, this fruit can also effectively treat diarrhoea when ingested as a decoction.

Contraindications of pomegranate

Does pomegranate have any contraindications? The question might sound strange, especially in light of the many benefits it brings to the body. Yet some contraindications must be highlighted.

Pomegranate should be consumed in moderation or even excluded from the diet in the two weeks before surgery. Actually, it has a slight anticoagulant effect, which increases the risk of blood loss during surgery.

Pomegranates also impede the absorption of several medications due to their interactions with them. The reference is to depressant drugs and some products for the treatment of heart diseases.

There is also a rare form of pomegranate allergy. The symptoms are quite limited, as they are exclusively gastrointestinal: diarrhoea, vomiting, nausea, and cramps.

And what about diabetics? The question is legitimate if we consider that the fruit is acidic but also quite sweet. As a matter of fact, the fruit reduces glycemic peaks by limiting the absorption of carbohydrates, making it safe for those with diabetes.

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