Pomegranates bursting with sweet-and-tart juice and slippery little seeds--or "pips"--may be the world's most fun-to-eat fruit. Now, thanks to a process invented by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in California, you can enjoy the flavor of freshly harvested pomegranates even when this fruit is out of season, or when you don't have the time to section and savor it.
A new, all natural, snack-size bar captures the taste of orchard-fresh pomegranates and apples, yet slips conveniently into a child's lunch sack, a grown-up's briefcase, or a hiker's backpack for an on-the-go treat.
Moist and chewy, each fat-free bar contains only about 100 calories and is rich in fiber, vitamin C and anthocyanins--natural compounds that may benefit our health.
Food technologist and research leader Tara H. McHugh of the ARS Western Regional Research Center in Albany, Calif., is co-inventor of the technology used to make the "Wonderful Pomegranate FruitFast" bars from whole fruit, without the need for artificial preservatives or other additives.
Flavonoid Sciences of Eastport, Mich., manufactures and markets the pomegranate-apple bars, as well as two other new flavors also made with the ARS-developed technique: Montmorency CherryFlex FruitFast Bar and Wild Blueberry IQ FruitFast bars. All are newly available online at www.FruitFast.com and at a growing number of stores.
McHugh and agricultural engineer Charles C. Huxsoll of Moraga, Calif., now retired from ARS, created the food-processing approach as part of research to help find new ways to entice kids, teens and adults to eat the recommended five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables. It's estimated that less than 20 percent of Americans meet that guideline.
The new bars are a boon for growers and processors, giving them new markets for perishable fruits. The technology allows them to make fruit into puree and concentrate that--after the busy harvest season winds down--can be processed into the all-fruit bars.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.