Mohammad once told his followers: “Eat the pomegranate, for it purges the system of envy and hatred.” The pomegranate is one of the oldest fruits known to man. Frequent references to it are found in the Bible and in ancient Sanskrit writings. Homer mentions it in his Odyssey, and it appears in the story of The Arabian Nights. The pomegranate is native to Persia and its neighboring countries, and for centuries has been extensively cultivated around the Mediterranean, spreading through Asia. King Solomon was known to have an orchard of pomegranates, and history speaks of the children of Israel wandering in the wilderness and remembering with longing the cooling taste of the pomegranate. Ancient Assyrian and Egyptian sculpture has depicted this fruit, and it is sometimes on ancient Carthaginian and Phoenician medals.
The word pomegranate is derived from the Latin world meaning “apple with many seeds.” The fruit grows on a bush or small tree from twelve to twenty feet high. It grows to about the size of an orange or larger.
A pomegranate of good quality may be medium or large in size and the coloring can range from pink to bright red. The rind is thin and tough, and there should be an abundance of bright red or crimson flesh, with a small amount of pulp. The seeds are contained in a reddish, juicy pulp that is subacid and of fine flavor. They should be tender, easy to eat, and small in proportion to the juicy matter that surrounds them, while the juice should be abundant and rich in flavor.
There are many varieties of pomegranate. At least ten varieties were growing in southern Spain in the thirteenth century, as described by a writer of the time. It is a warm-climate fruit, and the leading producers in this country are California and the Gulf states. This fruit will not mature in cooler climates, although there are dwarf forms grown in cool climates which have striking scarlet flowers that are sold commercially. Pomegranates are in season September through December, and October is the peak month.
Use only the juice of the pomegranate. This juice is one of the best for bladder disorders and has a slightly purgative effect. For elderly people, it is a wonderful kidney and bladder tonic.
NUTRIENTS IN ONE POUND (edible portion)
Protein: 1.3 g
Fat: 0.8 g
Carbohydrates: 41.7 g
Calcium: 20 mg
Phosphorus: .8 mg
Iron: .8 mg
Vitamin A: trace
Thiamine: 0.07 mg
Riboflavin: 0.07 mg
Niacin: 0.7 mg
Ascorbic acid: 10 mg