Every month we feature a fruit or vegetable that is in season, along with a fun fact or recipe idea. We are currently working on a project, Citizen’s CAP, highlighting the importance of citizen involvement in agricultural policy to ensure healthy food and protection of our agricultural land. In a way, this is a continuation of a previous project, AgroKatina, through which we have published a report on the local fruit & vegetable supply chain. Find out more on www.foemalta.org/agrokatina, where you can also order a free copy of the pocket guide to seasonal fruit and veggies.
October is the month that we start enjoying the red fruit of the pomegranate tree.
Punica granatum is not a native species to these Islands but the tree has been introduced in ancient times. This fruit, native to what is now Iran and northern India, has travelled further east and further west and has luckily ended up being cultivated in the Mediterranean, from which we now enjoy the benefits of having rummien on our plates in Autumn. The fruit is known it being high in antioxidant, hence a healthy food, but more so, it grows with very little input and is not treated with agro-chemicals.
The pomegranate arils add a nice punch of taste and colour to a lot of dishes. You can make juices, a vinaigrette or sauce, dessert or just add it to your morning cereals. Want to try a seasonal recipe? Try our Pomegranate Couscous Salad — delicious!
Pomegranate Couscous Salad
Since this October we have had our first rainy week, the Maltese islands already look greener, and seeds of wild plants have just started sprouting. Since this October we have had are first rainy week, the Maltese islands already look greener, and seeds of wild plants have just started sprouting. Wild rucola, known as ġarġir abjad and ġarġir isfar, are wild plants that also have the benefit of being edible. If you are going for walks in the countryside you can easily spot these plants growing in rural areas. These make a delicious addition to the salad, since the wild rocket leaves have a much stronger taste, then the cultivated ones*. If you don’t fancy adding foraged leaves to your salad, there are plenty of seasonal leafy greens and herbs that are growing locally—substitute to your preference.
- 1 small ripe pomegranate
- 200g couscous
- 1 string onion, chopped into small pieces
- zest and juice of 1 small lemon
- a handful of fresh spinach or another leafy green (chard, kale, lettuce, beetroot leaves)
- a handful of wild rucola
- fresh herbs: a handful of chopped coriander, dill and mint (you can substitute tor add to these with parsley and basil)
- 15 almonds chopped (you can also use walnuts)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- pinch of salt
- olive oil and honey to garnish
- Pour boiling water onto the couscous and add the lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt to the mixture. Cover and let it sit as instructed on the package until all the water is absorbed.
- Remove the arils from the pomegranate.
- Chop up all the herbs and leafy greens, spring onion and nuts.
- Once the couscous has cooled down, air it with a fork so that it becomes fluffy. Add to it more olive oil, all the herbs, leafy greens, nuts and lemon zest. Once the salad is mixed well, add the pomegranate at the very end, so that the arils remain in tact.
- Drizzle olive oil, and honey in the end.
This simple recipe is ready to enjoy in under 15mins!
*When foraging, make sure that you are not trampling though cultivated fields or trespassing in private property. Only consume wild plants if you are absolutely certain that you have identified the plant correctly and that the part of the plant that you intend to consume is edible. Always apply the foraging rule, of taking just a little and leaving plenty for other species that will be enjoying the same plant.
This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This project is co-financed by the Ministry for Education and Employment (MEDE) and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisation.