Friday, March 12, 2010

Pomegranate Juice Experimentation

Have you heard any of the news in recent years regarding pomegranate juice and the health benefits of it? Well, apparently, this stuff is very good for you. If you google "pomegranate health benefits" you will get a slew of links from all over with all sorts of health benefits. Are they all true? Who knows? However, there have been some official studies done that showed cardiovascular benefits, prostate benefits and more. In addition, this stuff is loaded with antioxidants, and that's a good thing. You can read about some of the health benefits here.

This all sounds great. But does this stuff taste any good? I decided to try it out. I was given a free case of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice by the nice folks at POM Wonderful. (Thank you Kristen!) I don't know that I would have tried it out otherwise. I'm very fond of my orange juice! But hey, it's worth a shot, right?

To begin with, the little bottles are so so so cute. Little bulbous, bumpy 8 oz bottles - very cute. But is what's inside the bottle, as cute as the outside of the bottle?

I tried some and it's not bad. The flavor is reminiscent of cranberry juice but sweeter. It has that dry tartness that cranberry juice has, but without quite so much pucker.

But how did the rest of the family feel about it? Well, right off, Doodlebug and Snickers refused to even entertain the idea of trying it. Sweet? Don't care! Don't want it! You might like it? Don't care! Don't want it!. OK. No surprises there. They have their few (very few) foods that they allow to cross their lips and it's very hard to break into that food safe zone. But Sweet Pea tried it. She was a little unsure, but up for the challenge. A tiny sip passed her lips, a grimace, "Too sour!" she proclaimed. But at least she tried it.

Then the hubster tried it and declared it drinkable. How's that for enthusiasm? He liked it, but wasn't WOW! about it. However, with a sugar content of 32 grams of sugar in 8oz (compared to about 21 grams in orange juice) it's a bit high for a diabetic so he won't be drinking a lot of it. At least not straight up in large quantities.

But one thing we often do with other juices, that would work well with this as well is to mix it about 70%/30% soda (diet lemon-lime soda) to juice (cranberry, orange, Hawaiian punch, etc). The juice adds a little flavor to otherwise boring soda. We tried it and declare it a success. Pom + soda is yummy!

So, what else could I do with this stuff? How about baking something? How about citrus pomegranate bars? Or pomegranate coffee cake? Or both?

First, I modified a standard lemon bar cookie recipe to use with pomegranate juice. If you like lemon bars, I think you will like this. The sweetness of the POM was a nice addition. Sweet Pea really liked these.

This is the finished product:

And a closeup of the tastiness:

Citrus Pomegranate Bars
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

3/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange juice
1 tbsp + 1 tsp pomegranate juice
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan.

For the crust, in a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, 1 cup flour, and confectioners sugar until fluffy. Scrape the mixture into the pan and smooth it out. Bake for 15 minutes or until it just starts to turn golden.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the eggs and white sugar. Add the extract and juices and mix. Add the 1 tbsp flour and baking powder and mix until well blended. Pour the mixture into the crust.

Bake for another 20-30 minutes until the filling is set. Let it cool before cutting and sift powdered sugar over the top if you'd like.

They are not quite as tangy as lemon bars and they are very very sweet! But also very good. A success.

And for a final experiment I decided to try pomegranate coffee cake and this was an even bigger success. Very tasty!

First make the pomegranate filling:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp butter or margarine

In a saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch and pomegranate juice. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in margarine or butter. Let it cool.

Buttermilk Coffee Cake
1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup shortening, margarine or butter
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 egg

Combine the flour, brown sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening until crumbly. Set aside 1/4 cup of the crumb mixture. To the remaining crumb mixture, add baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Mix well. Then add buttermilk and egg and mix well.

Spread 1/2 of the batter into a greased 8x8 inch baking pan. Spread the pomegranate filling over the batter. Add the remaining batter to the top and spread it around. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of crumb mixture over the top. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Neither recipe even comes close to using the recommended 8 oz daily portion, so in that regard, I don't know that there would be any health benefits there (and it would most-likely be countered by the vast amounts of sugar and butter) but it was a tasty experiment. I don't know that we're pomegranate converts, but overall, it's pretty tasty stuff no matter what you do with it.


POM Wonderful sent me a free case of POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice
along with some pomegranate juice information.

1 comment:

  1. The pomegranate coffee cake sounds pretty good but that will be long gone before our return. But, we'd be open to a couple of bottles of the juice should there be any left. At the rate the kid(s)would be drinking it I'm sure there would be a bottle or two left lying around for us to test.