The juicy, red pomegranate is in season now, from September through January, and it’s a great time to take a few home and start drinking some pomegranate juice! The health benefits abound and squeezing the juice is so much less expensive than buying the bottled juice—and a lot easier than you probably think! You don’t need a machine or any equipment, surprisingly! (No, you don’t have to squeeze every tiny little seed into a glass!) The ruby-like seeds are filled with the most powerful anti-oxidants of all fruits and contain more than a glass of red wine, green tea, blueberries and cranberries. A single glass of pomegranate juice can provide you with 40% of the daily requirement of folic acid, and vitamin A, C and E plus calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, niacin, thiamin, folates and riboflavin.
Health Benefits of Pomegranate Juice:
1) Heart: keeps arteries flexible, decreases inflammation in the blood vessel linings, reduces atherosclerosis and plaque, lowers risk of artery blockage, lowers LDL cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol
2) Blood Sugar: even though pom juice contains fructose, it does not raise blood sugar levels or harm diabetic patients
3) Blood Pressure: reduces high blood pressure, keeps the blood from coagulating and forming blood clots, acts as a natural blood thinner, reduces lesions and inflammation of blood vessels
4) Cancer: eliminates free radicals from the body, inhibits the growth and development of cancer cells in breast, colon, prostate and leukemia, promotes a strong immune system
5) Stomach: helps treat diarrhea and dysentery, aids with digestion
6) Immunity: strong anti-bacterial and anti-microbials to fight viruses and bacteria, reduces cavities and staph, inhibits HIV transmissions
7) Anemia: contains ample iron to help red blood cell deficiencies
In addition to these healthy benefits, pomegranate juice has been shown to relieve or protect against depression and osteoporosis, may relieve symptoms of arthritis and bone inflammation, may curb the onset of Alzheimer’s, known to dissolve kidney stones and cure erectile dysfunction. A diet high in pomegranate juice can help slow down the aging process by reducing wrinkles and fine lines on the face and helps to sustain the regeneration of skin cells. It has even been used to strengthen hair follicles!
What doesn’t pomegranate juice do?
It seems likes there is no bodily function that can’t be improved by a daily intake of pomegranate juice!
The Easy Rolling Method to Juice a Pomegranate:
1) Put pomegranate in plastic bag and seal
2) On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside.
3) Crackling stops when all seeds have broken open
4) Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice into a glass, or poke in a straw and press to release the juice.
5) If the pomegranate splits open in the bag from the pressure of rolling it, keep squeezing the unbroken seeds in the bag and pour the contents of the bag through a strainer into a bowl.
Drinking fresh pom juice that you’ve squeezed yourself is wonderful!!
Dr. Fuhrman’s Antioxidant Rich Smoothie
8 cups organic baby spinach
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup blueberries, frozen
2 cup strawberries, frozen
8 dates, cut in half
2 Tbs ground flaxseeds
Another great way to use pomegranate juice is to make pomegranate molasses, which is really just a reduction of the juice into a thicker, sweet-tart syrup that can be used in cooking, salad dressings and marinades
How to Make Pomegranate Molasses:
Put at least 2 cups of fresh (or bottled) pomegranate juice in a pot and heat on medium heat until it boils. Boil until it’s a thick syrup. No additional ingredients are needed, but some people add sugar and/or lemon juice to it. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Fabulous Recipe Using Pomegranate Molasses
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- 1 cup coarse bulgur
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup sliced chives
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup chopped mint
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (recipe below)
- Juice of ½ lemon
- Salt and pepper
Pomegranate Molasses (makes about 3 tablespoons):
- ½ cup pomegranate juice
For the Bulgur Salad
- Combine the bulgur and water in a medium-sized pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
- Lower the heat, cover, and cook until the water has absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
- Transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the bulgur and toss to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper as needed, and add more pomegranate molasses or lemon juice to taste.
- Serve immediately or store, covered, overnight and allow to reach room temperature before serving.
For the Pomegranate Molasses:
- Put the pomegranate juice in a small pot and bring to a light boil over medium-high heat.
- Allow to simmer until it has been reduced by more than half and is a thick syrup, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Use immediately or store in a sealed jar in the fridge for up to 1 month (you may want to make a big batch and store it for future use).