Thursday, 19 November 2009

Pomegranates provenance mystery

I bought these from Sainsbury’s, a fresh pomegranate and some seeds packaged in plastic with a little plastic spoon. There was no country of origin label on the fresh version, not on the labels stuck on the individual fruit or the shelf, and I could not see it on the box. I asked a member of staff who found out that the label was on the back of the box and the pomegranates are from the US. In the UK there is a legal obligation to label single ingredient fresh produce with the country of origin, but as more of the ‘fresh produce’ aisle is taken up processed foods provenance information is being lost. The packaged version just says ‘produced in Egypt’ which could well mean the fruit was just packaged there.

Pomegranates are fiddly to get the seeds out without seeds and juice flying everywhere. I can understand pre-prepared versions of this fruit, unlike ridiculous pre-peeled oranges encased in plastic. The best way I know to eat a fresh pomegranate is to cut off both ends, score a sharp knife through the skin in a circle around the middle and then about six lines from end to end. Then gently tear the fruit into chunks, and it is quite easy to get the seeds out and peel off the layers of white pith. It is still a bit fiddly. So a comparison between the fresh and the packaged - the juice from the fresh was much darker red, the classic colour that pomegranates are prized for, not really sweeter but a more complex flavour with more to it than the packaged one, which tasted fine but the fresh had the edge.

Pomegranates are considered a ‘superfood’ with all sorts of health benefits like reducing risks of cardiovascular disease and packed with antioxidants but I get a bit annoyed with certain fruits being trendy as supposedly the healthiest with the price then being hiked up. Lots of countries are increasing their production and exports of pomegranates, so some info about that will be pomegranates part 2 posting at some point.

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