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Most of us are thoroughly familiar with pomegranate seeds and juice; but how often have you actually come across a whole, seemingly impenetrable fruit? Wrapped in a thick, fibrous skin, the ruby, grapefruit-sized orbs barely betray the supple lushness inside; a dense collection of edible, cranberry-colored, liquid-encased pips, that account for less than half of the pomegranate’s weight.

And exotic as they seem, an explosion of interest in pomegranates is due to their recent classification as “super fruits” — boasting significantly higher levels of immune-boosting antioxidants than your garden-variety apples and pears. Originally from the Middle East, pomegranates are now commonly grown in chile-en-nogada-nuevomild-to-temperate climates, like California (needless to say, locals adore them for their anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties), and are at the peak of their productivity in winter and fall.
Which is why you’ll find vibrant, festively hued pomegranates speckling restaurant menus right now — from Lalo (which uses the seeds in a spin on the Mexican Christmas classic, Chiles en Nogada) to Italienne, which binds them in a foie gras Chaud-Froid (aspic). Since they’re native to the Middle East, it’s unsurprising to find the fleshy fruit at Einat Admony’s Bar Bolonat; adding tang to whole Pouissin 228over walnuts and crispy rice. The gelatinous pips contribute citrusy crunch to salad at Speedy Romeo, paired with kale, freekeh, apples and goat cheese vin, and they’re swirled into sorbet at Café Boulud, to accompany a seasonal, cinnamon meringue-based Vacherin. And of course, since pomegranate juice is a regular suspect in cocktails (which sublimate their nutritional benefits just slightly), you’ll come across tipples like the “Irish & Pomegranate” at BlackTail; featuring whiskey, amaro, cranberry, orange, and rich, blood-red pom soda.
If you’re so inclined to pass up pre-packaged tins of seeds and bottles of juice in your local grocery store, it’s worth swinging by the produce aisle (or greenmarket) instead, for a crack at a whole, fresh fruit. Look for large, deeply colored, heavy specimens, which will have a greater proportion of the clear red juice and crisp pulp, with skin that’s tough, thin and nearly bursting with seeds. Press the fruits gently; if they release a powdery cloud, return them to the bin because the pulp is dry as dust!
Believe it or not, pomegranates have a much longer shelf life than most fresh fruits. They can be kept at room temperature for 3 to 5 days or refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to 3 weeks. The seeds and the whole fruit can be frozen for about 3 months. To seed a pomegranate, cut off the peel near the blossom end and remove it along with the bitter white pith. Lightly score the remaining peel into quarters from end to end. Working over a bowl, carefully break the fruit apart with your hands. Bend the peel inside out, and use your acorn-squash-with-currants-and-pine-nutsfingertips to lightly brush the seeds from the white membranes.
Granted, it’s a lot of work without a tremendous pay-off, so be sure to make the most of whatever juice and seeds you gather! Since they glisten like rubies, they’re the perfect way to dress up any salad; try cool weather combos like persimmon with jicama, assorted roasted squashes, or avocado and shrimp. Drop frozen seeds into champagne flutes or punchbowls, for a celebratory, refreshing garnish, and freeze juice into sorbet, ice cream, or slushy, crimson granita. Compose beautiful bruschetta, by arranging the pips over goat cheese-slathered baguette, or whirl into a romesco-like dip; along with walnuts, olive oil and roasted red peppers. Pomegranates make a glorious subject for jewel-toned 1063-1vinegars, chutneys or jellies, and the sweet-tart flavor cuts perfectly for full-bodied proteins, including beef, lamb or duck. So go on and take a whack at a pomegranate this winter; the season’s most versatile superfruit.

Bora Bora

The small island of Bora Bora (just 6 miles long and more than 2 miles wide) overflows with beauty. Dormant volcanoes rise up at its center and fan out into lush jungle before spilling into an aquamarine lagoon. In fact, author James Michener, who wrote “Tales of the South Pacific,” called Bora Bora “the most

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Great Barrier Reef

As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef holds a spot on every traveler’s bucket list. Hugging the east coast of Queensland, Australia, the Great Barrier Reef extends from Cape York in the north all the way to Bundaberg in the south — a total of 1,250 miles. With

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Rio de Janeiro

Known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City), this glimmering Brazilian metropolis has certainly earned its title. Resting at the mouth of a bay harbor, the city is lined with white-sand beaches, lush rainforests and surrounded by staggered green mountains. Rio de Janeiro boasts dramatic views from nearly every angle. From the slopes of Corcovado Mountain,

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British Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands, or BVI for short, are some of the most exclusive and least developed islands of the Caribbean, but this only adds to their appeal. The resorts, villas, restaurants and other tourist attractions in this paradise are known to emphasize spare luxury over sprawling expansion, and they attract travelers with deep pockets

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Christine Remy

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