As we leave Halloween and welcome winter, what better time to celebrate Persephone, Goddess of the Underworld! In Greek mythology, Persephone (daughter of Zeus and Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest) was kidnapped by Hades and taken to the underworld. Hades tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds, because anyone who ate or drank in the underworld was destined to spend eternity there.

So even though Zeus ordered that Hades release Persephone, she had to return to the underworld for a period each year…. That time corresponds with the dry seasons in Greece (four months out of the year, one month for each pomegranate seed she ate). When she is reunited with her mother, the abundance of the harvest returns.

If you open a pomegranate and look at its countless seeds, it’s easy to see why it represents fertility and abundance in many cultures. In Ayurvedic medicine, the juice is used as a tonic for the heart and throat. In 2010, research from the National Institute of Health confirmed the effectiveness of pomegranate for preventing both heart disease and the common cold, among several other ailments.

Pomegranates are high in antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin B5, phytochemicals, potassium, and fiber. Plus they are beautiful and delicious~

To get the seeds out without creating a mess, I recommend the following approach:

Submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of cool water and cut around the perimeter with a knife. Gently crack open the pomegranate and put one half aside. Then continue opening the half you’re working with, continuing to work under the water to scrape the seeds out. You’ll see the rinds and membranes float to the top nicely, while the seeds sink to the bottom. Simply skim the inedible parts off the top, then strain the seeds. Voila! You have a yummy treat to sprinkle over yogurt, salads, or anything you wish 🙂

What’s your favorite use for pomegranates? I love to make ice with the juice, and put in fizzy water for a delightful drink!

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