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Pomegranate Seeds In Recipes

Asked by Benm1976. Answered on 16th October 2021

Full question

Nigella uses pomegranate seeds in many of her recipes. Where I live in America, they’re only available from fall to early winter, even in the pre-packaged pots. Is there an adequate substitute when they’re not available, or should I just leave them out of the recipe altogether?

Duck Breasts With Pomegranate and Mint
Photo by Lis Parsons
Duck Breasts With Pomegranate and Mint
By Nigella
  • 14
  • 2

Our answer

Nigella uses pomegranate seeds in dishes such as Duck Breasts With Pomegranate And Mint, Feta And Avocado Salad With Red Onions, Pomegranate And Nigella Seeds, Warm Shredded lamb Salad With Mint And Pomegranate. Mainly the seeds are for ganish and usually added just before serving, to provide some garnet colour and small bursts of sweet-sour flavour. Unfortunately we have not been able to find a good substitute for the seeds, so for these dishes it is best just to omit the pomegranate seeds and maybe increase some of the other ingredients that are in the dish, such as herbs or pink pickled onions.

If juice is squeezed from the seeds then you can replace the fresh juice with a bottled version but only if it is the fresh, unsweetened juice (such as Pom), which is usually easier to find all year round. Sweetened pomegranate juice or "juice drink" is not suitable as it lacks the sharp edge of fresh juice and often contains artificial sweeteners.

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