Friday, March 23, 2012

Pomegranates - A Sweet Street Treat

A Thai pomegranate, split open and ready for eating

Ripe Thai pomegranates,
still hanging on the tree
When I was a child and had a bit more patience to deal with them, pomegranates were a special treat I looked forward to each Autumn. I could spot the rich deep red of their skins from fifty paces in the produce section of the supermarket as my mother gathered far more mundane things, resisting my plea to go directly to them. Being of humble beginnings I was allowed only one, and I took my time looking at the color, judging the weight and checking the dried blossom stub of the end as if I could determine the freshness by the remains.

Back home I was made to sit at the kitchen table to open them up, thus keeping the crimson juice from staining the carpet or sofa or my clothes. I didn't care - I just wanted it open.

The tart, ruby red jewels wrapped beneath layers of thin yellowish membrane were worth every minute spent carefully loosening them, gathering a dozen or so before popping them into your mouth where they the tiny seeds inside made a satisfying crunch as the juice burst from the kernels and startled your taste buds.

Having had the privilege of visiting Thailand during every season at least once I'm still (pleasantly) surprised when I note it's the season for a special fruit or vegetable, and this trip just ended I found myself there during pomegranate season.

Ripe pomegranate skins don't turn the deep red we in the USA expect to see, and the kernels inside also aren't the bright ruby red I'm used to, but the flavor is still as delicious as expected and as full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants as ever, so other than the possibility of staining your shirt, what's not to like?

A sidewalk cart near my hotel prepared small bottles of the juice right in front of you each morning, the young man putting a handful of kernels into a press he pushed the handle down on, releasing the fresh juice into a stainless steel cup he emptied into the plastic bottle, capped shut and put on ice.

Pink kernels of pomegranate become sweet juice with one quick pressing

Two bottles were B30, or right about $1US, and that was difficult to resist.  I had it several mornings, and surprised a few friends with it, too.  If you see it while out wandering around, don't miss trying it.

A dollar's worth of juice goes into a take-away bag


Anonymous said...

Marian plums are in season there now too. Did you try those?

khunbaobao said...

I did, thanks. It was the first time I'd had them and a couple at an outdoor market had handed me a sample. I'll post about them soon.