In Season West Coast: Pomegranates

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One of my most vivid kid food memories is of eating pomegranates on the living room floor.

My fastidious mother would finally succumb to our pleas for pomegranates, cover the floor with newspapers, dress us in old t-shirts and let us go to town on the lovely red fruit with the jewel like seeds.

I’m always excited when I first see this exotic fruit in the markets. This year, I spotted them for the first time at the Twin Girls Farm stand at my neighborhood market. I learned something new from the vendor, Jim, that day. I’ve always sort of wondered how to choose a pomegranate. Do they reveal their quality from the outside? So I asked. Turns out they do. Jim told me “the uglier the better”. You’d think the brighter red and prettier fruits would be best, but rough brown skin means that the spider mites have been nibbling and they only nibble at the sweetest fruit. Likewise, cracks are good. They signal that the seeds inside are fat and full of sweet juice, so much so that they are starting to outgrow their home.

Pomegranates are around until December, making them the perfect holiday fruit. I like to toss them into salads with nuts and cheese or mix them into grain salads. They’re also a classic garnish for Middle Eastern stews.

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