Trees bearing pomegranates are usually grown in regions which are sub-tropical or tropical. They are abundant in the Mediterranean parts of Asia, Europe and Africa. The flowers on this tree are in conical shape and this grows in to a fruit. This fruit is green and firm when raw and it turns red when ripe. Pomegranates have a long shelf-life. One should be aware that the pomegranates available in the stores may be taken from cold storage.
This fruit is not completely edible with its skin like apple. It has a white astringent rind which tastes bitter in which juice sacs called crimson arils are available. These arils are the edible part of the fruit and are housed in clusters. These can be removed and stored in containers for later consumption as well. The arils contain seeds within. These are edible and their softness or crunchiness will depend on the species of the pomegranate. The arils are not available only in the fresh form for eating but dried form as well. The arils are not de-seeded before consumption. Instead, the aril and the seed are consumed together. Mostly the pulp of the aril is juicy and thick. But sometimes one might have to do with arils which are more of seed than the pulp. It is not worth the effort or the time to try and separate the aril pulp from the seed.
Depending on the taste one develops for this fruit, arils can be added to salads, dressings, chicken preparations and also in cereals and granola as topping. The easiest way to break open a pomegranate is to use a knife to score the skin and making wedges. Many times, the pomegranates have a hexagonal shape naturally which makes wedging easier. The crown or the portion of the fruit which is attached to the stem can be separated for slicing the fruit easily. The sections made by the rind along with the arils housed within can be put in to a bowl of water. The rind will separate out easily leaving behind juicy arils ready for consumption. Arils can be stored in the refrigerators for later use as well.
When the aril and seeds are consumed together, it provides nutrients like vitamins, anti-oxidants, fiber and polyphenols. It is believed but not fully proven that consumption of pomegranate or drinking the extracted juice prevents build up of plaques in arteries. People with medical conditions should consult a doctor before consuming it as a dietary supplement.
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