The pomegranate, which is indigenous to Iran, was known in Ancient Rome as «malum punicum», which means «Carthaginian apple». Appreciated as much for its sparkling red arils (pulp encased seeds) as for its sweet-tart flavour, the pomegranate is refreshing, low in calories, rich in potassium and full of antioxidants.
To separate the arils from the non-edible membranes in which they are lodged, cut off the top stem of the fruit and cut the skin into four or five sections, taking care not to cut into the arils, as this will leak out the juice.
Immerse the fruit in a bowl of water and separate the sections with your fingers, to free the arils from the membranes: the denser arils will sink to the bottom, while the much lighter membrane will float to the top. You can add pomegranates to all sorts of salads.
Personally, I like to serve it as a simple dessert with port wine poured over it. But be careful, the juice stains are hard to remove (it was used to make ink in the olden days!).
Originally published in the Journal de Montréal on November 17, 2007.