Fresh Ideas: Seedings Greetings

With Christmas growing closer, I wanted to share one of the freshest ways to bring red and green to your table this holiday season — ruby red pomegranate seeds and green pistachio nuts.

When served together, this duo creates a part-salty, part-sweet mixture that perfectly embodies Christmas greens and reds.

To serve, I sprinkle a blend of equal parts pomegranates and pistachios across bread smothered in goat cheese. Not a fan of goat cheese? Try Brie or your favorite mild, spreadable cheese as a substitute.

The pomegranate is a member of the lythaceae family and popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, but the fruit-bearing shrub grows well in our humid Louisiana climate. High in fiber and vitamins C and K, pomegranate seeds make for a healthful choice this holiday season and are a great way to add a punch of color to a dish.

Instead of spending valuable time this Christmas baking cakes or skewering fancy appetizers, allow yourself the perks of our local winter produce and take it easy. Pomegranate seeds can be removed ahead of time and sprinkled over a dish when your guests arrive. But if you’re new to working with the red arils (seeds), here are some seeding tips:

Wooden spoon method — My family swears by this technique: Cut the pomegranate in half crosswise (not top to bottom) and turn the fruit seed side down over a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, hold the fruit steady above the bowl and whack the back of the pomegranate several times until all of the seeds fall out.

Massaging method — Cut the pomegranate into quarters and gently massage the arils (seeds) from the papery skin inside.

Do this process over a bowl (gently) until all of the fruit’s seeds are released. Note: This method allows you a little more control during the seeding process without the force or splatter of the wooden spoon method. It also prevents accidentally bruising the fruit.

Of the methods I’ve tried for seeding Louisiana pomegranates, these two are my favorite, but if you find that any white membranes still stick to the fruit, run the seeds under cold water to loosen their grip (the white membranes can be bitter).

As the holidays grow closer, instead of reaching for red and green food coloring, try reaching for these Pomegranate Pistachio Crostinis.

Whether you use goat cheese, Brie, crackers or baguettes, this recipe is one of the freshest ways to see red and green on your table.

Helana Brigman is a food writer, photographer and cookbook author. Reach her at She can be reached with daily recipes at http://clearlydeliciousfoodblog.com or via email at hbrigm1@tigers.lsu.edu.