Though the pomegranate may seem tough to eat, its juicy seeds are well worth the effort.
Middle Eastern Roots
It’s thought that the pomegranate originated in the areas that make up Northern India and Iran. The popular fruit was also grown through the Mediterranean and made its way to Spanish America via settlers in the late 1500s. By the mid-1700s, the fruit had made its way to California.
A Red-Purple Seed Husk
The pomegranate is comprised of a husk with two parts. These include the outer part, also known as the pericarp, and the inner part, or mesocarp.
This is where the pomegranate seeds can be found. These seeds are attached to the mesocarp and have juice-filled membranes.
The entire fruit is technically a berry and is sized anywhere between a lemon and a grapefruit. It has a red-purple husk and is fairly round.
The Drought-Tolerant Fruit
Though it needs to be in areas with either a Mediterranean winter rainfall or summer rainfall, pomegranates aren’t the kind of fruit you’ll find in wetter areas. They tend to be grown in dry areas and are typically tolerant of periods of drought.
Types Of Pomegranate
Unlike many other fruits, there aren’t really all that many varieties of the pomegranate. In addition to the pomegranate trees that produce the fruit we know today, the other two species include:
- Punica granatum, a type of pomegranate tree usually used as an ornamental plant
- Punica protopunica, a type of tree found in a few islands in the Arabian Sea. This pomegranate tree produces fruit that is usually less sweet.
A Sweet Snack
One of the toughest parts of enjoying the pomegranate is removing the seeds. One tip to get the hang of it:
- Score the pomegranate husk with a knife and breaking it open. Once you’ve done this, separate the seeds in water – the inedible pulp will float to the surface, and the seeds will sink.
Once you’ve gotten to the good part, you’ll enjoy a sweet, tangy fruit.
Bursts Of Flavor
Pomegranates will elevate just about any dish to another level. With the sweet and sour bursts of juice contained in the seed membranes, they make a great addition to things like mousses, parfaits, and even atop cakes.
A Cultural Giant
The pomegranate has many cultural and historical references. Since their cultivation originated in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, the fruit held symbolic relevance in different religions.
As the pomegranate made its way around the world, other cultures and civilizations embraced the fruit. In fact, the coat of arms of Granada features a pomegranate.
A Useful Food Dye
As with fruits such as mulberries, pomegranates are often used for their dyeing properties. They’re used not only as food dyes but also in the decoration of different fabrics.
Additionally, though the pomegranate peel isn’t something that one eats, it’s been found to contain several useful extracts. For this reason, it’s often used in dietary supplements.
Worth The Work
Though it may be tough to get to the seeds of the pomegranate, the effort is worth it for a juicy, sweet seed that packs a ton of flavor!