Even though D.C. feels like the end of July with degrees in the 90s, and my scarves remain sadly and securely tucked away, fall is officially here. I swear.
Which means Rosh Hashanah- the Jewish new year- and Yom Kippur are as well, and two things come to mind- family time and pomegranate seed oatmeal!
(Ok, and appreciation of Judaism, going to services, fasting for a day, atonement, excellent desserts…)
Last fall we went to Israel, and there were pomegranates everywhere. On the trees, hanging from necklaces, etched in plates and beautiful paintings, fodder for glassblowers’ talents. They’ve grown in the Mediterranean region for thousands of years, and were so much so a part of daily life, they are mentioned in the bible. One of the more influential fruits, yes?
In my favorite town of Tzfat, in the picturesque hills along the shared-Syrian border, they are particularly abundant. I took the feature photo for this post at a market place there. Gorgeous!
Historically, pomegranates represent fruitfulness and fertility because of their numerous seeds. In Judaism, they are said to embody righteousness, because the fruit is supposed to have 613 seeds- the same number as the mitzvot, or commandments, asked of the Jewish people.
But they are not just symbolism rock stars.
These bright, effervescent seeds are nutrition powerhouses, too. Wildly antioxidant rich, they also offer a big punch of vitamin C, K, folate and fiber, and add a delightful crunch to any boring dish.
This year I made a jeweled rice dish for our New Year feast, and for Yom Kippur, I tossed them into the couscous salad with Moroccan Tofu because why not? Can’t really go wrong. We always have leftover seeds (after all- they are known for being numerous!), so enter…pomegranate oatmeal!
I found the seeds already deseeded at Whole Foods for a little under $7, but it isn’t hard to crack open the fruit and scoop the seeds out yourself, and it saves a few bucks, too. They aren’t always easy to find the rest of the year I’ve noticed, so I try to take advantage while I can!
Look how pretty!
Oatmeal has about 4 gm protein per ½ cup, and the seeds are protein poor so I added some almonds, chia seeds and kefir (fermented drinkable yogurt) for a more balanced breakfast. Top with some gorgeous fresh berries for more antioxidants and fiber, and how could we not have a sweet new year and a fabulous day?