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Archive for July 22, 2011

COOKING VIDEO: How To Seed A Pomegranate

 

Many people steer clear of fresh pomegranates. Unlike taking a bite of an apple or plucking grapes from the cluster, eating a pom is not so user-friendly.

Yet, in the Middle East, the pomegranate has been a popular fruit for millennia—long before well-honed knives, running water and fine mesh strainers were household basics, and long before people knew that pomegranate was a superfruit, high in antioxidants.

If you know the easy technique shown in the video below, the pom’s thick outer layer (the pericarp*) is not really a problem. In the time it takes to peel an orange—and in less time than it takes to peel, core and slice a pineapple—you can be enjoying a pomegranate.

The pom is different from other fruits because the portion of edible fruit—actually sacs of fruit juice called arils, which surround the small, edible seeds—is tucked inside such a thick pericarp. Unlike an orange or grapefruit, you can’t simply peel it with your fingers and dig in to the fruit.

  • Watch the video.
  • There’s an even neater trick, not shown on the video: neater because you seed the pomegranate in a large bowl of water, so no juice bleeds onto your hands.
  • Do what’s shown on the video, but place the quarters (or halves) of the pomegranate into a bowl of cold water. The arils are heavier than the water, so they sink to the bottom, making it easy to drain off the water. (We make it even easier by draining into a large mesh strainer.)
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    FOOD TRIVIA: The pomegranate, the edible fruit of a shrub or small tree, is botanically classified as a berry.

    MORE about the pomegranate: history, health benefits, and how to juice and store pomegranates.

    *The pericarp comprises the skin and protective layers under it. Think of the skin and pith of a lemon or other citrus, which protects the juice sacs—although in the case of citrus, the exocarp (skin), the outermost layer of the pericarp, is edible. The pomegranate is one of the few fruits where the entire pericarp is inedible.

       

       

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    PRODUCT: Green Tea Ale To Aid Japan Disaster Relief

    Stone Brewing Co., a California craft brewery known for its Arrogant Bastard Ale and other well-named, well-crafted artisan drinks, has released a new beer to support aid efforts for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami disaster. All proceeds will be donated to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

    The Japanese Green Tea IPA (India Pale Ale) is a collaboration between Stone Brewing, Ishii Brewing Co. of Guam and Baird Brewing Company of Numazu, Japan.

    Toshi Ishii, a former Stone brewer, contacted Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele shortly after the Japanese disaster with a proposal to make a beer that could help with recovery efforts. They circled in Bryan Baird, a brewer in Japan.

    The three brewers naturally selected green tea as an ingredient. IPA was chosen as a style that would accentuate the tea’s herbal character. The recipe includes Sorachi Ace, a variety of hops originally developed in Japan, as well as Pacifica, Crystal, Warrior and Aramis, a new hops cultivar from the Alsace region of France.

     

    Drink up and help the Japanese Red Cross.
    Photo courtesy Stone Brewing Co.

     

    The brew has a spicy, herbal hop character that blends exceptionally well with the herbal and grassy sencha tea flavors. The Japanese Sorachi Ace hops provide more spice and citrus hop notes.

    The ale is available in 12-ounce bottles with a suggested retail price of $2.49-$3.49. Find a distributor near you.*

    Party Idea

    Have a party to benefit Japanese disaster victims. Serve Green Tea IPA and collect donations for the Red Cross. You can make an online donation for Japan via the American Red Cross.

    While the March 2011 disaster is no longer in the news, the victims will need aid for many years to come.

    *The beer is available in AK, AZ, CA,CO, FL, IL, KY, MA, MN, NC, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OR, PA, SC, TX, VA, VT and WA.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Have A Wheat Beer Tasting

    Summertime and the livin’ is easy—with a
    refreshing wheat beer. Photo of German
    Weizenbier by Ukko | Wikimedia.

     

    In the heat of the summer, few people want to drink a full-bodied beer (except in a chocolate stout beer float).

    Summer beers have been brewed for centuries, pioneered by Belgian and German brewers. Recipes were developed to make the beer crisper and more thirst-quenching, with moderate alcohol (lower alcohol drinks are recommended as the temperature rises).

    First, a portion of the malted barley—often 50% or more—is replaced with wheat, which adds refreshing acidity and creates a lighter-bodied beer. The result is a category called witbier, weissbier or white beer, referring to the paler color of the brew.

  • Try a Belgian witbier. Low on hops, witbier uses spice and fruit peel (traditionally, coriander and bitter orange) for flavor and aroma.
  • German Weissbier, weizen or hefe-weizen is brewed differently. German brewers still brew according to the German Beer Purity Law of 1516, which prohibits any flavoring other than hops. Instead, they employ various strains of yeast that generate a wide range of spicy and fruity flavors. These wheat beers are known as weizenbier (wheat beer) in the western and northern regions of Germany, and weissbier in Bavaria. Hefeweizen (“hefe” means yeast) is an unfiltered wheat beer, while kristallweizen (“kristall” means crystal) is filtered wheat beer.
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    American brewers make many beers based on these two styles.

    Get to know wheat beer by having a wheat beer tasting.

    You can have a dedicated beer tasting, or combine it with a cookout. It’s a fun and enlightening summer event.

    1. Check out the selection at your local market. We find that the best number for a tasting is a dozen, but try fewer if you prefer.

    2. Look for imported witbier, weissbier, hefeweizen and kristallweizen. American brews are called wheat beer or summer beer—for example, Samuel Adams Summer Ale. It’s brewed with malted wheat, lemon peel and grains of paradise (melegueta pepper), a rare African spice related to cardamom that was first used for brewing in the 13th century.

    3. Set the beers on a table with small tasting cups (two-ounce plastic cups work well).

    4. Do some online research and print out descriptions of each beer, including name and price. Tape them onto the table in front of each beer.

    5. Provide index cards or blank paper, plus pens, so guests can write down their favorites along with tasting notes.

    Catch up on the different types of beer in our Beer Glossary.

      

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