Friday, November 12, 2010
Pomegranates in Smoothies . . . or not
I have a few bags of pomegranates and decided to throw some seeds into my green smoothie the other day. The taste? Just wonderful. The texture? A big gritty.
This takes me back to one lunch break in high school when I was wandering around Mariposa Produce with my friend, Cindy. We'd often go there for lunch and I'd pick out some fruit. She loved to get yogurt covered things -- like almonds and such. At the time, it sounded very healthy. (Those yogurt malt balls were quite heavenly).
Anyway, I picked up a few pomegranates to buy and a man working there leaned over and said, "Those are purely decorative fruits." I'm sure I looked at him like he didn't know what the heck he was talking about. I'd been eating pomegranates since I was very young . The only person I'd ever seen use them as a decoration was my aunt whose parents had pomegranate trees and she had more pomegranates than she could possibly eat. So she'd put those jewel-like seeds around the perimeter of whatever dish she brought to Thanksgiving and it looked beautiful. (She also brought me a few bags of pomegranates -- I absolutely loved it!).
The man continued, "Really. You shouldn't eat them. The seeds are NOT digestible." (Obviously, this was before pomegranates became the new blueberry, soon to be pushed to the side by the acai' berry). I bought the pomegranates anyway and went back to the school to feast upon them. Yet, I've thought back to his words many times over the years. Are the seeds not digestible? The juicy part obviously is, but those tough, tough seeds?
I used to eat the whole seed every time I'd eat a pomegranate. Sometimes I'd spit out the seeds, but most of the time I'd just eat the whole thing. Then one Thanksgiving break I was home from college and was making my way through one of those pomegranate bags my aunt had brought. Somehow I managed to eat 8 pomegranates in one day. A day or two later, I thought I would die. Those white seeds had clogged my system and were painful to pass. When they did come out, they were pretty much solid white seeds all pressed tightly together like they had no choice, but to exit my body. I guess my body digested them, but it didn't use them -- just let them go through.
Since then, I only eat a few seeds with each pomegranate -- maybe 10% or so and haven't had a problem. I've wondered if I were able to chew them up properly or more completely if they would indeed digest and be useful to my body.
Well, (I know -- did you really want THIS much information?), after drinking those green smoothies with the pulverized, yet still gritty, pomegranate seeds, I was able to put this to the test . There's no amount of chewing on the planet that would get them broken up so small. But a few days later, stomach pains and total stoppage. I didn't look to examine the excrement as I had before, but I can tell you that it felt just as awful as it had that time while home from college. Maybe not to the same extreme because this was just 1 pomegranate thrown into the smoothie and that was 8 before. But it was indeed solid seeds compacted together and my body didn't do much with them before letting go.
Will I continue to eat the seeds every once in awhile? Yes. Will I throw them into a smoothie? Probably not. If I juiced it first, I might. But who wants to go to the trouble of that. I'd rather just sit at the table with a good book and savor my favorite food as I have so many times each fall.