Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's Pomegranate Time

Each year I look forward to late October, when the beautiful, healthful and delicious pomegranate starts making its appearance in stores and markets. 

Enjoy them while you may, because in about three months they disappear, leaving pomegranate lovers longing for their return.

I was late coming to pomegranates, at least as a food item. Back in the 1980s I bought them around Christmastime for decorating the house. I remember piling many of them into a Blue Delft bowl, tucking in boxwood clippings to create a lovely arrangement for the foyer table. Beautiful, yes, but at the  time I was unaware how good they were to eat. Dumb me. Imagine allowing all that goodness to only make pretty and eventually dry to a fare-the-well. Such waste!

Several years ago I began reading articles about the health benefits of  this ruby red jewel of a fruit -- of its  high antioxidant level, as well as being a good source of fiber and vitamins C and B5.

Pomegranate Preparation

It's simple, really, although it doesn't appear to be when you split one in half and stare at the many small seeds surrounded by a thin white membrane. I’ve found the best way to tackle the task is to split the fruit into quarters, pull off the outside skin and begin removing the membrane piece by piece, working over a bowl and allowing the seeds and juice to fall in as you work.

How to Eat Pomegranates

There are many ethnic recipes available for cooking with pomegranates, but I have never tried them. My preference is to eat them as they are, stealing a spoonful from the storage container and popping them into my mouth. Crunch the seeds and enjoy a powerful taste sensation. 

Other favorites ways I use the seeds are sprinkling them on salads and adding to plain yogurt. Yum, yogurt, honey, walnuts, pomegranate seed, cinnamon and granola: the best breakfast ever!

Growing Pomegranates
I love pomegranates so much that I've tried to produce my own crop. I have planted the tree both in the ground and in pots but previous tries have not been successful. I have a plant now that is three years old, in a pot (but I do leave outdoors during winter) and each spring it produces several beautiful blooms that turn into tiny fruits. But alas, they eventually shed off the bush before they grow beyond the size of a dime.

Maybe next year.

The pomegranate has been a symbol in many cultures and religions, including ancient Egypt, ancient Greece,  Azerbaijan, Iran and ancient Persia, China, Armenia, Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. If you are interested in the subject,read this Wikipedia article.

Making pomegranate in a juice stall in Turkey

More About the Pomegranate

The pomegranate is a deciduous shrub or small tree growing approximately 15-25 feet (5-8 meters). It is native to modern day Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times.

In recent years, the pomegranate has become more common in the commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere. It is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East, northern Africa and tropical Africa, Indian subcontinent and the drier parts of southeast Asia. Introduced into Latin America and California by Spanish settlers in 1769, pomegranate is also cultivated in parts of California and Arizona. (source: Wikipedia).

schtroumfette photostream via flickr

 Do you eat pomegranates? If so, what is your favorite way to enjoy them?


  1. I appreciate all the research/history you provide when you post about something. Pomegranates always seem a bit magical to me. We usually just break them open and eat them out of hand. I like pomegranate juice too. Have you noticed how widely available the juice has become over the last few years?


    1. I suppose it's the reporter in me; always enjoying the research to learn more about a topic. I like the juice too, but boy, is it expensive! I have noticed it's more available than a few years ago. About the only brand I see is POM. Is that what's in your area as well?

  2. I too appreciate the work you do to provide us background for your posts.
    Pomegranates, I don´t think I´ve ever tasted one. When/if we have them here, they are very rare, exotic and expensive.
    Had I the chance, I´d eat them as such, I think.

    1. Sometimes I do tend to get carried away and the post takes much longer than I intended! I had always considered the pomegranates to be somewhat exotic as well, but now they are more widely available so I buy them regularly when available. They are a very healthy fruit.

  3. The only Pomegranate I have ever eaten was as a girl,a group of us cut them in halves, and we ate the seeds with a pin deliiice!

    Most supermarkets sell them here,think I will stay with my memories.Ida

    1. With a pin! How cute. To me they are "Christmasy," probably that's the way I first saw them -- as a decorative fruit. At historic Williamsburg, in Virginia, they are used extensively for the early American type Christmas decorations.

  4. Oh no, it looked like it "threw up" on your table ! I have never had the pleasure of eating Pomegranates, but maybe I will try one.
    I will look for one at the grocery store next time there.
    Love the article.
    Your Cousin, Darry

    1. Oh do get one and let me know how you like them. I admit, they do make somewhat of a mess to prepare. Thanks!

  5. My mother's parents were fans of the Pomegranate. They even had the special juicer that is in your picture, and would mix the juice with orange juice. (They owned an orange grove and it was easy to get tired of plain orange juice.) Just last week, our Aldi's market had Pomegranates for 49 cents each. For that price you can eat them and decorate with them, too. I do like the picture of the Pomegranate blossom. I'd never seen one before. Fun to hear that you are growing your own.

  6. I must go to Aldi's! I hope they are .49 in my area. I paid $2.39 for this one. As we get further into the season they'll go down in price, but I don't think I've ever bought one at Walmart for less than $1.69. Aldi's really has good deals, but I have to drive about 25 miles to visit one. I'll bet the pomegranate and orange juices together tastes really great!

  7. They are really a beautiful fruit and even my Christmas china has a pomegrante design - have always loved them in decorations. However, until I worked and sat beside a gentleman from St Louis, I had never eaten one - he ate one every day as long as they were in the grocery store. Then I tried them and loved the taste. Every time I see one in the store, I think of him and what a noise he made eating the fruit.

  8. That is a funny story! I'll have to remember that when I eat mine! Your Christmas china is beautiful.


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