Luca’s Original Sweet-Tart Fruit Salad

The other weekend, while browsing the farmers’ market, Luca stopped dead in his tracks upon seeing a giant pile of pomegranates. One was cracked open with hot pink seeds tumbling out. He grabbed my arm and said “Can I try that?”. We’ve had pomegranates around the house before, but this is the first time they’ve made a real impression on him. We tasted and after a few moments, Luca gave his thumbs up and offered this perfectly succinct description of the flavor: “the original SweeTart” (referring of course to those candy pellets which show up in his Halloween trick or treat bag). I couldn’t have said it better myself. Honestly, the kid kills me with those haiku-like pronouncements. I wish I had the gift.

Naturally, we bought a few pomegranates and, while we have featured recipes on the blog  for pomegranate granita and jam, we’ve just been enjoying them au natural. I give a small chunk to our little guy and he finds it quite entertaining to sit there and pick out the seeds and pop them into his mouth. If you don’t mind pink hands and juice-stained clothes it’s great fun. Luca, our kindergarten chef, was inspired to create a simple sweet-tart fruit salad that features pomegranate seeds and some of his other favorite ingredients of the moment: clementines and those frozen “pineapple tidbits” you can buy at Trader Joes. [My kids are obsessed with eating the little pineapple chunks right from the freezer].  We’ve been making this fruit salad every night and I have to say it’s quite addictive. The contrast of colors is beautiful, there’s a great balance of sweetness and tartness and the crunch of the pomegranate seeds, softness of the oranges and the pop of cold from the frozen pineapple give it textural complexity. This is a truly refreshing snack or dessert.

Luca’s “Original Sweet Tart” Fruit Salad

(makes enough for 1 kid)

  • 1 seedless clementine, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 handful of pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup of frozen pineapple (1/2″ pieces so you can easily bite through them, or buy “Frozen Pineapple Tidbits” at Trader Joe’s)

Combine the fruit and enjoy!

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Luca and I also took a few minutes to look up the history of the pomegranate and found a few interesting facts:

  • Pomegranates are actually part of the berry family and are native to the area that is modern day Iran.
  • Pomegranates are most commonly enjoyed as a fruit or a juice, but throughout the middle east you’ll also find pomegranate molasses (a syrupy reduction of the juice) that is used to add a tart element to many dishes.
  • In Indian cuisine the seeds are used as a spice called anardana.
  • In Mexico, you’ll find them in a dish called chiles en nogada where their red color represents the red of the Mexican flag alongside the green poblano chiles and the white nogada sauce.

Pomegranate Ice is Nice!

The rain has lifted (at least temporarily) and the glorious sunshine this week has got us thinking about cool, refreshing desserts.

Granita(or Italian ice) fits the bill perfectly. It’s incredibly light and refreshing and doesn’t require any special equipment like an ice cream maker or popsicle molds. Once you make it, it can hang around in your freezer indefinitely, and requires no cooking or particular skill to make. We’ve tried countless varieties from espresso to meyer lemon to cardamon-plum. While pink grapefruit is still my personal reigning favorite, pomegranate  (or “purple ice cream” as Luca calls it) might just be the current runner up. The color is absolutely gorgeous and the flavor is super delish — like a grape snow cone, but way, WAY better — and not an artificial color or flavor in sight. This is so easy that even a preschooler like Luca can do most of the work and making it gives him the chance to get his hands on the citrus squeezer and the whisk, his two very favorite kitchen tools.

Give it a try and experiment with you favorite flavors!

Pomegranate Granita

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice (fresh if you’re ambitious or bottled. If juicing the fruit yourself, you will need to let it settle so you can strain off the sediment that accumulates)
  • Juice of 1 large orange
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
  1. Mix all of these ingredients well in a plastic container that has a lid (wide and shallow is better, but you can get by with a 32 oz. yogurt container). Taste and adjust the flavorings to suit your taste.
  2. Put the lid on and pop it in the freezer.
  3. Mix the granita with a spoon every half hour until it is slushy and semi-frozen (3-4 times). Keep covered until ready to serve.
  4. To serve, scrape the fully frozen granita with the tines of a fork and serve in pretty little glasses or espresso cups.