Food Challenge: Pomegranate

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Food Challenge:  PomegranateThis week, we challenge you to make something with a pomegranate.

This seasonal fruit can be somewhat intimidating, but don't let your fear keep you from giving it a shot. We promise that the shiny, deep red seeds nestled within the hard shell are worth the extra effort needed to prep this scrumptious treat (see instructional graphic below).

Food Challenge: Pomegranate

Pomegranates are the perfect complement to any fall recipe. They can be purchased October through December at an affordable price. In addition to tasting great, they are full of antioxidants to help you and your family maintain optimal health. Seeds can be stored in the refrigerator up to five days or frozen up to three months.

Practice this week by purchasing a pomegranate at your commissary or local market. Use the next couple weeks to experiment. Start by simply including a few seeds into a bowl of Greek yogurt and honey for a snack or easy breakfast.

Once you've mastered the basic technique, we challenge you to take your skills to the next level. This fall, consider incorporating pomegranates into your holiday cooking. Military life is sure to bring many special gatherings between now and December. Use this as your chance to try something new. I recommend trying one of the recipes listed below. Any one of these bright side dishes will make the perfect addition to a festive table.

Be warned: Any and all of these side dishes are sure to become party favorites. Make sure you are prepared to hand out the recipe to guests who are dazzled by your culinary skills!

Once you've succeeded and getting the seeds out of the pomegranate, share your dish with us on Instagram at #IDfoodchallenge. We want to see what you made!

Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets, and Pomegranate

  • This recipe calls for red quinoa because it holds up better in a salad than white quinoa. In a pinch, white would be just fine. My commissary recently started carrying the red variety so you could request it if your commissary doesn't have it yet. Make sure to check the package of either variety to see if you need to wash it before using to prevent bitterness.
  • My commissary carries fresh dates with pits close to the small organic section. I prefer to buy these and chop them myself because they don't have any added sugar.

Pomegranate-Glazed Acorn Squash

  • Squash can be tough to cut. Use a sharp knife! I invested in a knife sharpener from my exchange and haven't regretted the small amount of space it takes up in my kitchen cabinet.
  • My commissary also recently started carrying coconut sugar, which is not quite as sweet as white sugar and it is not highly processed. You can use it as a 1:1 substitute for regular sugar so that's what I did for this recipe.

Barley & Wild Rice Pilaf with Pomegranate Seeds

  • Pine nuts were not available in my commissary today so I used slivered almonds instead. Pecans would also be delicious.
  • I can't always find flat-leaf parsley and I consider curly parsley to be more of a garnish than an ingredient. This is a matter of personal taste, but I substitute cilantro when I can't find flat-leaf parsley.