Pomegranate juice is made from the fruit of the pomegranate. It is used in cooking both as a fresh juice and as a concentrated syrup.
Possible health benefits and risks
While preliminary research suggests that the fruit juice may play a role in reducing the risk of cancer, reducing serum cholesterol, and protecting arteries from clogging, more research is needed to validate these findings. Its possible benefits also need to be balanced against its high caloric content derived from its natural sugars.
The cholesterol reduction effect has been observed only in small studies. This, as well as the anti-clogging effect of pomegranate juice, are the result of its concentration of antioxidants, and are similar to the effects shown in studies of red wine, black tea, and purple grape juice. There have been no large clinical trials showing that antioxidants can prevent heart attacks or other major heart-related events.
The health benefits of pomegranate juice were promoted by POM Wonderful, a pomegranate products manufacturer. As of September 2010, the company and its principals were the subject of a false advertising complaint by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In May 2012, after a hearing, the administrative law judge issued an opinion upholding certain false advertising allegations in the FTC’s complaint—based on implied as opposed to express claims—and finding for Pom Wonderful on other points. Pom Wonderful’s action in the U.S. District Court appears to still be pending as of May 23, 2012.
Pomegranate molasses is a fruit syrup made from pomegranate juice, not sugarcane-derived molasses. It is a reduction from the juice of a tart variety of pomegranate, evaporated to form a thick, dark red liquid. It is used in Iranian fesenjān and Turkish pilaf and çoban salatası. It is called دبس رمّان (dibs rumman) in Arabic, nar ekşisi in Turkish, narşərab in Azerbaijani language.