Have you eaten your fair share of apples and oranges, and you are looking for a fresh way to get your 5-A-Day? This season, experience the treasure of taste and nutrition found in pomegranate.

This brilliantly red fruit is rich in antioxidants – the body’s rust-proofers. A recent study found that pomegranate juice exhibits three times greater antioxidant activity than other antioxidant food sources, such as wine and green tea. Medical research shows that antioxidants may promote heart health by decreasing factors that cause plaque buildup in the arteries.

Pomegranates are in season approximately September through December. They are picked ripe and can be eaten as soon as you get them home. The juice inside pomegranates can stain badly. To avoid stains, fill a bowl with water, hold the pomegranate in the water and cut off the crown. Lightly cut through the skin and break it open. Inside you will find the aril seeds, delicious sacks of juice. Remove the white pith and eat the juicy arils, seed and all.

Pomegranate seeds can be used to enhance salads, desserts, ice cream, salmon and chicken or just be eaten by themselves.

Chicken Pomegranate Salad

1 cup pineapple tidbits, drained, reserving juice

3 cups diced cooked chicken

1 cup diced celery

1 cup diced red apple

1 cup diced red grapes

½ cup pomegranate seeds

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup light mayonnaise

½ cup sour cream

¼ cup pineapple juice

Toss the pineapple in a large bowl with the chicken, celery, apple, grapes, pomegranate seeds and walnuts. In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, sour cream and reserved pineapple juice. Toss dressing with chicken mixture in larger bowl.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com.