McFadden Ranch

  (Lakeside, California)
"taste our heritage"
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Pomegranate--The Other Red Fruit

Every holiday season our family prepares several large and beautiful meals.  At the crack of dawn, the aroma of rosemary and sage, and of citrus and cloves, begins to fill the house.  Tables are set with simple yet elegant style using cotton table cloths adorned with pine boughs and orange branches, fresh picked seasonal fruit, and candles.  Name tags are handmade using dried fall leaves, walnuts or other natural resources available in our backyard.  The ladies of the family have planned the menu together and now cook as one seamless entity.  We enjoy sharing recipes but most of all we enjoy the tradition and camaraderie and the warmth of our fellowship together. 

In recent years, we have regularly added one of our chutneys, either apple or mulberry, as a regular condiment to our menu.  We use it on cream cheese and crackers as an appetizer, or we place it on the table to complement the main dish.  There is something about those slightly warm but sweet Caribbean spices that excite the taste buds.  Also, like most families, cranberry jelly has been a regular part of our dining display.  But we don’t include cranberries in our home-grown produceHowever, we do grow pomegranates.  One day as I was holding up a jar of this jewel-toned delicacy, a delightful thought occurred to me:  “Why aren’t we using this wonderful organic experience at dinner time?  As a result, the culinary experimentation began.

Our pomegranate jelly is made from fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice.  Placing the jelly in a white ceramic dish on white linens, I observed that the jelly’s ruby red color can rival any other condiment when it comes to table appeal.  And then, there is the rich, tantalizing flavor.  Have you ever tried pomegranate jelly on your turkey?  Wow, what a treat!  How about glazing your ham with pomegranate jelly adorned with orange slices?  There’s no bitter aftertaste and your guests will love the sweet change of scenery.  To further tie your menu together, try adding a few pomegranate seeds, called arils, to your salad.  Please open  http://video.about.com/gourmetfood/Pomegranate.htm to watch a demonstration of the process  You can also serve grenadine, a mixture of pomegranate and currant juice, in a drink using one part grenadine syrup to four parts orange juice and four parts pineapple juice.  For your synchronized décor, adorn your table centerpiece with whole pomegranates or use a pomegranate to hold your name tags.  We found two links, where others have incorporated some of these ideas, at  http://merrycooking.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/cheers-to-pom-make-it-merry-pomegranate-party/ and http://bethsjourney.com/2010/11/16/pom-wonderful-dinner-party/.

Each year we gather in our homes for traditional family occasions and special meals shared with loved ones.  Over time the ladies of the house have developed time-honored culinary traditions for these gatherings, while continuing to test new recipes with new flavors.  One thing we have learned together is to think beyond the standard dish of cranberry sauce.  Pomegranate jelly is an exciting new flavor to add to your holiday banquet.  After all, it is the nectar of the gods. 

Additional Resources and Recipes:  http://www.pomegranates.org/recipes.html

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