I recently received a case of really cute 8 ounce POM pomegranate juices sent to me by the kind people at POM Wonderful.
Pomegranates are the mythical or iconic symbol of fertility.
It has these fascinating seeds or arils on the inside and a thick wall that holds them in.
There are all sorts of reasons why one might think of this fruit as good symbol of fertility.
There are many examples of pomegranates in art through the ages as well. One lovely example is this madonna and child by Sandro Botticelli where the child is touching a pomegranate that the madonna is holding in one hand.
Aside from all of these romantic ideas about this fruit there are many healthy reasons to consider drinking it.
In these times of food safety concerns, it is wonderful to know that POM is grown in the US and is made only from the pomegranates grown in the US (in California). They do not add anything to the juice, its 100% just juice!
The people at POM Wonderful sent me some information on the medical research that has been done on pomegranate juice (POM has funded $32 Million itself). I have no problem using this data because its not like POM has genetically engineering a franken-pomegranate that it has been testing to show safety (like Monsanto and other bad Big Ag actors).
These studies reveal that pomegranate juice can play a role in improving heart function in coronary heart disease, mediated a reduction of up to 30% (!!!) in arterial plaque in elderly patients with advanced atherosclerosis (drank 8 oz of POM every day for a year), reduced ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme – a biomarker for cardiac function) by 36% (!!!!!) after 2 weeks drinking POM daily, and a reduction in LDL in people who drank POM daily for 2 weeks.
It has activity in reducing PSA in men (this is the biomarker for prostate cancer) and improved erectile function by 50% (!) within 4 weeks (talk about fertility treatments!).
A simply HUGE reason for all of this goodness is that pomegranate juice (especially the crushed whole fruit juice) is bursting with antioxidants.
You may have heard about how wine, grapes, blueberries and other blue and red fruits and products made from those fruits contain goodly amounts of antioxidants (resveratrols), pomegranates seem to have won the lottery in that regard and packs the antioxidants in more than any other fruit.
All you really need to know about antioxidants is this:
- many metabolic processes in your body and many of the crappy things that food processors do to our food results in the production of what are called free radicals (molecules with oxygen atoms that want to pair up with other molecules),
- those free radicals are promiscuous and will bind to things that then cause damage (like to proteins and DNA, etc),
- antioxidants soak up those free radicals so that they do not do damage to your cells!
Ok, one last thing.
Pomegranate juice tastes delicious and it is quite distinctive! It is also a gourmet ingredient that many of us could not get until recent times. Working with the whole fruit can be a bit daunting so you might want to stick with the juice. There is so very much you can do with the juice too.
I have taken this windfall as an opportunity to stretch my wings and try out some different recipes. I am working my way through various ways of using the juice (am working on a vinaigrette now!) and today I am going to show you a very simple way of using the 100% pomegranate juice – as a syrup.
Papaya Ice Cream with Pomegranate Syrup
- 2 cups sugar
- 8 ounces POM pomegranate juice
- 1 package frozen Goya Papaya chunks
In a sauce pan, heat 2 cups sugar and 8 ounces POM juice until sugar has dissolved and the liquid has reduced by about 1/4 or 1/3. Allow to cool, even put it in the freezer, it will not freeze but cool to a really thick fluid.
Take frozen papaya chunks and feed into a juicer with a blank in place of the screen (see this post at my raw food blog Raw+Simple to see more about the Champion juicer and this blank that you use to make the ice cream).
The papaya ice cream comes out the other end, ready to eat.
I can tell you that this exact recipe yields an intense explosion of flavors that will just amaze you. I had hoped that papaya would go with the POM syrup, crossed my fingers as I drizzled during the shot. When I tasted it after the shoot, WOW, was it ever good!