Thursday 2 December 2010

Jala Super Juice Pomegranate Drinks

Pomegranates are one of those fruits that many people turn their noses up at without ever really giving them a go. I should know, I'm one of them ! The first time I saw one cut open, I had the same reaction as when I first tried a passion fruit  and wondered which bit was actually edible ! Well, any passing Azerbaijani (I might have just made that word up by the way !) tourists would have had a great laugh at my expense because the pomegranate is their national fruit and they call it "the red jewel".

Jala, the pomegranate Super Juice manufacturers, explain : "Bathed by the Caspian Sea at a cross roads between Europe and Asia, Azerbaijan’s climate of cold winters and hot dry summers coupled with the age old expertise of ‘Azeri’ growers, ensures that the country’s pomegranates are unrivalled in terms of taste and quality. The ruby fruit is a national obsession with pomegranate festivals taking place in October throughout the country. Used extensively by Azeris in soups, stews, sauces and salads, the sweetest, most prized pomegranates are made into refreshing, health boosting drinks." Aah Azeris - I did make up the word Azerbaijanis then !! But it's hardly surprising. Jala Super Juice made history back in May by becoming the first Azeri food & drink product to launch in the UK.

When we were in Turkey last summer, we did try out pomegranate juice - both in bottled form and as a powdered drink - and it was really refreshing and delicious, so I was keen to see what the Jala Super Juice drinks would taste like. There are three varieties : pomegranate with a burst of raspberry, pomegranate with a squeeze of orange and pomegranate with a splash of strawberry.

I really like all three varieties, which taste fresh and natural and have the added bonus of mentally transporting me to lazy days on sun-baked Turkish beaches ! The cartons need to be really chilled and thoroughly shaken to really bring out the flavours and are even more refreshing over ice. As you would expect, strawberry adds more sweetness, orange is a bit sharper and raspberry has a tart background taste, but they all blend perfectly with the pomegranate flavour.

If the lure of an exotic fruity taste sensation isn't enough, you might to know about the reputed health benefits of the pomegranate. Pomegranate juice could help lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol helping to prevent heart disease. It's high in folic acid, which is essential for a healthy pregnancy or for those wanting to conceive. High in vitamins A, C and E - all three key antioxidants, it could help to reduce the risk of several different types of cancer, including prostate cancer and skin cancer, and help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Pomegranate juice contains almost three times as many antioxidants as the same quantity of red wine or green tea. These antioxidants could also help prevent premature ageing and the appearance of dull, patchy and wrinkled skin. Pomegranate has anti-bacterial properties and is believed to prevent the build up of plaque on teeth.

Yes, I know there are lots of "coulds" and "mays" in there but it's such a delicious drink, it's certainly no hardship to drink it so if it has health benefits too, that's just an added bonus. For me, it's a taste of sunshine and summer holidays in a glass and the perfect antidote to the subzero temperatures outside at the moment ! Jala Super Juice is organic certified in Azerbaijan and is currently applying for UK certification with the soil association.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £1.29 - £1.99 for 1 litre

available from Wholefoods, Planet Organic and Ocado

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