Pomegranates come into season just in time for the holidays. The deep red fruit is a beautiful table decoration all in itself, the jewel-like seeds make a lively garnish and the healthful and delicious juice can be used an array of sweet and savory dishes. Enjoy pomegranates now through Valentine’s Day.

"I love pomegranates," says FoodFit Executive Chef Bonnie Moore. "You can use them to dress up just about anything. They add a nice, vibrant taste, color and crunch to so many recipes."

Pomegranates became an "it" ingredient several years ago, because they are loaded with health-promoting antioxidants. Their crimson color comes from the same powerful plant chemical that gives blueberries their deep hue, which experts say helps the body fight disease and aging, and improves vision.

Pomegranates also have lots of potassium and are fine source of vitamin C.

They may be trendy here now, but they have been a staple in Middle Eastern cooking for centuries. Use pomegranate seeds to add texture and sparkle to salads, vegetable dishes, seafood, poultry and meat dishes, and creamy desserts. A bowl of plain yogurt with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top is a culinary match made in heaven. You can also eat pomegranate seeds out of hand, carefully, because the juice stains clothes, even countertops.

Chef Moore says the best way to seed a pomegranate is to roll the whole fruit on a countertop to loosen the seeds from the membrane. Next, cut it in half and turn each half upside down over a bowl. The seeds will start to fall out. Tap the fruit with a wooden spoon to dislodge the rest. Discard any membrane. Pomegranate seeds will keep in the fridge for three days.

Fruits: bananas, blood oranges, grapefruit, oranges
Nuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts
Spices: cumin, ginger, garlic, mint
Sweet: chocolate
Savory: cream cheese, yogurt

Pick pomegranates that feel heavy for their size.
Pomegranates will keep for up to two months stored in the refrigerator.
To make your own pomegranate juice, process the seeds in a food processor or blender until they turn into juice. Strain.

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  4. Broiled Salmon with Pomegranate Seeds
  5. Broiled Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Seeds

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