Smashing pomegranates: the jewel of a New Yr’s custom

Have you ever ever seen these “enrichments” that zookeepers do to animals? Primarily, they’re candy-filled puzzles, meant to stimulate an animal’s mind in ways in which mimic their non-captive brethren exterior, encouraging habits that will be pure in the event that they have been dwelling within the wild. Foraging. exploration. fixing issues.

The primary time I noticed one, I laughed as a result of it jogged my memory of consuming pomegranates on the little TV tray my mother had on my lap. She would reduce the fruit in half for me, and I’d sit there for a very long time, fortunately occupied, scooping out all of the jewel-like fruits with my little fingers, consuming as I went.

Which is why my jaw dropped in my lap just lately once I watched a YouTube video through which a girl (Dr. Iman Ahmed Siddiq, I later realized) sprouts a pomegranate in lower than a minute utilizing what she calls “a method as outdated as pomegranates.” My grandfather’s mild fingers…” Ahmed Siddiqui is many issues, together with Afghan meals blogger whose content material you will discover on Instagram at @imanistan.

I instructed head sommelier George Miliotis concerning the video throughout our latest dialog, however he dismissed it with amusing.

“I don’t wish to know!” mentioned Disney Springs wine bar proprietor and namesake George. “I refuse to look at it as a result of I really like engaged on it!”

Milioti additionally has heat and fuzzy recollections of pomegranates, which he says are “a part of Mediterranean life as an entire.

Each units of his grandparents got here to America from Greece. Similar for his spouse. Nonetheless, nobody had ever heard of a New Yr’s Eve customized that I noticed in lots of Greek mates’ properties whereas rising up: smashing pomegranates, which is alleged to convey good luck — luck, well being, wealth, and all issues — in Greece. Subsequent yr.

“It is a custom, particularly within the Peloponnese, the place my household is from,” Yiannis Boyoris tells me. “On the night time when the yr modifications, you maintain all of the fruits in your proper hand, go into the home, throw them, and break them. Some individuals… cling the fruit in entrance of the home. Some individuals eat the seeds.

There are various variations. In some households, the person of the home does the breaking work. In different instances, somebody is chosen. Typically, everybody picks up the fruit and throws it. Boyores hasn’t mentioned whether or not he’ll do this at his Orlando restaurant, Zorba’s Kitchen (it isn’t normally open that late), however it’s been a long-time custom at Taverna Opa on I-Drive, the place, at midnight, there is a little bit of meals from the fruit bloodbath .

“The countdown begins, and the champagne begins,” says co-owner Katerina Koumbaros. “My husband and a few of the workers will come exterior with pomegranates and crush them for good luck. “We wish him to return into the restaurant and make everybody there blissful,” she says, noting that it carries on a practice she’s been conversant in from a “massive Greek childhood” in South Florida.

“Either side of my household are utterly Greek. I went to Greek faculty. Every little thing Greek is our life,” she says with amusing. “There was a Greek group there. It is not as massive in Orlando, the place I moved 17 years in the past, however it’s undoubtedly nonetheless right here.

She factors out that by New Yr’s Eve, there are two traditions: pomegranate smashing and the normal Vasilopita cake, through which the coin is hidden. “It may be bread too,” she factors out. “However whoever will get the piece containing the coin could have good luck all year long.”

However the entire household will take part within the countdown.

“We might all exit, and everybody can be consuming pomegranates and speaking about them, after which in the midst of the night time, you smash them. I hope you throw them arduous sufficient in order that they break, as a result of the extra seeds you unfold, the luckier you get.”

You do not have to crush the pomegranates to make any of the recipes right here, they’re each very lovely and straightforward to make.

blissful New Yr all people!

Christmas cheese ball

Recipe by Ryan Handler, courtesy of Delish (


1 8 oz cream cheese, softened

6 ounces goat cheese

1 cup grated Gruyere (or sharp white cheddar cheese)

1/2 cup toasted and chopped almonds

2 tablespoons contemporary chopped parsley

1 tablespoon chopped contemporary thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly floor black pepper

1 cup of pomegranate seeds

Biscuits, for serving


In a big bowl, combine collectively the cream cheese, goat cheese, and Gruyère. Add almonds, parsley, and thyme till nicely mixed. Season with salt and pepper. Form the combination into one giant ball.

Place the pomegranate seeds in a big dish, then gently roll the cheese ball till it’s utterly coated, then seal any cracks together with your hand.

Place it within the fridge till it’s chilly and agency, for about 20 minutes, then serve it with biscuits.

Pomegranate martini

Recipe by Colin Graham courtesy of The Spruce Eats (


1 1/2 ounces of vodka

1/2 oz premium triple sec

1 ounce pomegranate juice

1 splash of contemporary lemon juice

Lemon peel for garnish (non-compulsory)


Mix vodka, triple sec, pomegranate juice and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice.

Shake nicely.

Pressure into a calming cocktail glass. Enhance if desired.

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