A proper New Year’s celebration often includes the symbolic consumption of a fruit that you have not yet tasted this season. Pomegranates are often used as they are just reaching their full ripeness at the end of summer. Often this involves messy digging about in the flesh of the pomegranate for the small seeds or arils that are the only edible part. While my kids love this (and often make a huge mess- this stuff stains!) I am ready to move on to something a bit more elegant.
As this thought was rolling around in my head, one of the food blogs I follow ran a short piece on doing infusions using a whip cream dispenser. Since I have one around that I never use, I thought it would be time to find a new use for it. Before I give you the link to the infusion post, let me recommend that their post on wild meat should be avoided if the sight of whole cooked animals makes you queasy.
Now, this whole infusion business has become the trend of the moment (witness the NYT’s is telling you that it is) and I hate to pile on… no I don’t.
First a few words about pomegranates in Jewish life. Regarded as one of the Seven Species on the Land of Israel (the others being wheat, barley, olives, figs, grapes and dates) they pop up frequently in the bible. The shape was (and still is) used on decorative pieces. The head of the high priest’s staff was a pomegranate as are the decorative handle covers of a Torah cover. The pomegranate is said to contain 613 seeds, corresponding to the number of commandants (or mitzvot) in the Torah. Of course you know you have a Jewish pomegranate when the calyx (or tip) is a perfect six pointed star.
On a more prosaic note. The English word grenade is a corruption of the Spanish for pomegranate- granada (as in, granada de mano or hand grenade). In Hebrew the same cognate is used and both the fruit and the weapon is a rimon. So be careful what you ask for at the market!
Pomegranate Infused Vodka
Smirnoff Vodka (here’s why)
One ripe pomegranate
A Nitrous Oxide whip cream dispenser
Using room temperature vodka (cold vodka will not allow as successful an infusion) add it and 1/2 cup of pomegranate arils together in the dispenser. Pressurize and swirl for 30 seconds. Allow to stand for another minute and then vent all of the gas at once (with the dispenser right side up).
Pour out through a small seive and then chill in the freezer for at least an hour before using.
Note: if you decide to use ice to chill this, shake it. Stirring does not chill drinks.
Update: The pomegranate that I had turned out to be rotten! I then set off on a three store quest for a fresh one and learned that pomegranates may be the last of the truly seasonal foods. They’re just not ready until they’re ready. But like anyone who has lived in Israel, I learned that improvisation often is superior to planning (this explains so much about Israeli urban planning). I purchased two apples, and some dehydrated pomegranate arils. I made infusions with both of them and when chilled discovered they made wonderful mixed drinks.