I wait all year for beautiful, succulent pomegranates to return to stores ... and they're finally here. November is National Pomegranate Month, so if you still have never tried one, make a pledge to yourself that this is the month to do it. Pomegranates are native to desert climes; because I grew up in Phoenix, I've always known about them. Our neighbor had a tree, and every fall we kids would pick and then drop the fruit on the sidewalk to get at the jewel-like seeds. Just a few years back, POMwonderful's marketing geniuses put pomegranates on the national map, so now many more people know about these superhealthy fruits.
Look for nice, round, smooth, and shiny pomegranates. If you've never cut one up before, be aware that the juice does stain; I recommend scoring the fruit with a knife and then peeling back the thick hide in a sink or bowl full of water. Peel off the hide and white pith underneath (they will float), then dislodge the seeds by bending back the sections. They are worth the trouble! I eat them straight, or throw them into salads all autumn long. Perhaps the easiest way to enjoy pomegranates is to buy pomegranate juice, now readily available in stores' refrigerated section -- you'll find straight up 100 percent pomegranate juice, or mixed with other fruit juices, such as blueberry. And it's mixed into tea drinks too, such as Bombilla's organic pomegranate yerba mate.
And here's a new twist: I just got a sample of POM's new all-natural-ingredients POMx Iced Coffee, made with a proprietary pomegranate extract ... so you get the antioxidant powers of pomegranate in a coffee drink! I remember reading about the development of this drink in The New Yorker several months ago. I admit, I was skeptical about the taste -- but after trying it, I'm a convert. Delicious, with just the very tiniest hint of tart-sweet pomegranate. Whodathunk?