Monday, November 10, 2008


I can tell fall is here in lots of ways... Nature's palate has shifted on the color wheel, for one. I want to hibernate, for another. I don't kick off the duvet in the night anymore and the cats are cuddling against me in bed without being coaxed.

The dark creeps in before I'm ready, and the morning sun has a chilled kick to it. The trees are beginning to do their strip tease and some are already naked and shivery. Fall is here.

The spider lilies tried to warn me a month ago with their red wispy fingery blooms, but I didn't want to do more than appreciate their beauty. I was in denial of the coming changes.

Pomegranites are in their prime right now, and that is a sure fire tasty sign that fall is not going anywhere . This year, pomegranites are the hot fruit, baby. They cure all, prevent what isn't even known yet and their nectar is available in lots of combinations of juices.

Many years ago, a very dear friend introduced us to a dish his mom made called, Ahm. She was from a far away culture, from another world.

We never knew how to spell it, so i made up the simple spelling and we've kept it. Ahm because it is Ahhhhhh and Ummmmmm all in one. The dish has pearled wheat, pecan halves, golden raisens and pomegranites in it with anise, the spice that resembles a licorice flavor.

As with any recipe, I've altered it over the years a little. The girls never liked the anise, so i cut it back until this year when I just didn't add it at all. The pearled wheat is sometimes substituted with bulghur but it isn't the same. Sometimes I put chopped pecans in instead of halves. Cranraisens or regular Little Miss Sunbeam raisins instead of golden. But to tell you the truth, Ahm is a simple, magical dish and substitutions don't do a thing for it. Aside from the anise, I rarely change the ingredients anymore.

The recipe is ancient, and has been in my friend's family for longer than he can say, and now we have made it a tradition in our own family- plus I've passed on this to my extended family as well. This year, two of my work pals were in my office, and suddenly one said, "Oh! pomegranites!! It's that time of year again! When will we have ahm???" I have to say that I just loved that. They both like it and my boss does too. I tell you, it is a magic potion.

There is a nice combination of TLC that goes into every batch. Comfort and calm, with a crisp burst of sweetness in every bite. The combination of the simple ingredients come together and mix around with each other and then suddenly a nectar is born. No kidding.

It's a love/hate thing. Most people either love it or don't care for it at all. It is chewy, but crunchy. Sweet and tart and it is fresh but feels like you are making an ancient connection somehow. Pomegranites have been around since Biblical times. I think that's neat.

When we first became spellbound by this delicious delicasy, we decided to add pomegranite plants to our backyard garden. We had plants shipped from Texas and they rooted well and settled right in with the cherries and apples and pears and kiwi. Fall came along, and we had 4 or 5 plants full of beautiful fruit. I entered one in the state fair and won first prize. The specimen was pretty amazing. The color was one that crayola has yet to create. The shape and size were in perfect sync. wow.

Problem was that the first freeze killed every blame one of them. NC just doesn't hold the heat long enough for the fruit to completely ripen. So close.... so close..... ugh.

Since that time, I look and buy in the stores. This year, I noticed the fruit is bigger than usual, and more readily available. I'm sure it is because of the health effects through marketing. I suspect in a few years we'll discover they've been genetically altered to give us the bigger and earlier availability, but until I know this, I'm buying and making and sharing. That's the best part. sharing.

Seeding the fruit takes a while. It is a very hands' on activity. I watched a great old movie and seeded 6 over the weekend. Steady working the seeds out is a calming activity for me. I'm sure to find pomegranite spots for days in random places. Lovely color, but the seeds are tricky. They spit quite a bit. Can you blame them? Working over a big bowl with some water in it helps. A soothing dish to make ......

Fingers don't absorb as much of the color as they do with strawberries, either. The hue is temporary.

I usually simmer the wheat while I'm working with the poms and after the wheat is the texture I like, i cool it in the colander and then it is just a matter of mix and store. It lasts about a week.

With the popularity of it around here, I'll be making another batch in a week or so. Fall is here. So say the pomegranites, anyway.


Belle said...

I like pomegranate seeds on a salad, too....yummm with some goat cheese maybe?

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to try some- AHMMMMMM! Loonygin