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Once Upon a Pomegranate

Posted by Failed Success on 05/01/06 at 09:35 PM

PomegranateNature continues to provide more complicated fruit for you to ponder

American consumers have been pushing for more extreme and exotic products these days. Why bother with dull, ordinary fruits like apples and oranges, when you can delight in nature’s edible beanbag.

If you have never heard of a pomegranate, or didn’t realize that it is the fruit that “may just save your life”; allow us retract the sliding door to this cache of knowledge.

Pomegranates have been a well known and important part of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine for centuries now. The wisdom of their choice in fruit had not found much footing in the United States though, until recently. A bit of history on the Pomegranate from About.com:

The pomegranate, a Persian native, is one of the oldest fruits known to man. Originally thought to be native to China, pomegranates were actually brought to China about 100 B.C. by Han dynasty representative, Jang Qian, who also introduced coriander, walnuts, peas, cucumbers, alfalfa, grapes and caraway seeds to the Far East. The Romans called it the Punic apple. The pomegranate made its way to Italy via Carthage (Punic), and therein lies the root of its Latin name, Punicum malum (apple).

Its current botanical name is Punicum granatum with Punicum recognizing Carthage as a focal point for pomegranate cultivation and granatum referring to the many seeds or grains in the fruit. Many Italian Renaissance fabrics boasted the pattern of cut pomegranates. Ancient Romans not only enjoyed the succulent flesh of this fruit, they also tanned and used the rinds as a form of leather. Perhaps due to the fruit’s princely blossom crown, it has gained distinction as a royal fruit. Chaucer, Shakespeare and Homer have all extolled the virtues of the pomegranate in literature.

The pomegranate reached American shores by way of the Spanish conquistadors. The fruit still has not reached the level of popularity in America as it enjoys in the Mid-East, Europe and the Far East, perhaps because of its plenitude of seeds. It is grown in the American West and South with some minor commercial success. Those home cooks lucky enough to have a tree in their yard expound the virtues of this fruit as a casual crop.

PomegranateThe recent popularity of Pomegranates has been brought about in part by the overwhelming success of Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, which launched a nationwide marketing campaign in mid-2003. All of this media exposure has helped to turn Americans on to the fruit.

Along with the media buzz, there have been studies and research highlighting the many benefits of eating the fruit on a regular basis. Pomegranate has been shown to provide productive benefits against cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease. The crunchy seeds and surrounding pulp are also chock full nutrients like Vitamin C and Potassium.

These many benefits have given the Pomegranate the title of “SuperFood” amongst many U.S. consumers. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean people can be heard muttering, “Oh, so now you finally figure it out, and just a hair under a millennium, good job!”.

Not only has the fruit in its raw form become wildly popular, U.S. foodmakers are now adding the fruit to every product they can possibly think of to try to “Pom it up”. Products like chocolate, chewing gum, soft drinks, burritos, and even chicken sausage. Obviously, the health benefits of artificial Pomegranate flavoring combined with Red 5 are too powerful to ignore.

Further Reading:

- Learn more about Pomegranates at Pomegranate Facts
- Pomegranates on Everything at Pomegranates.org
- Pomegranate Recipes and Information at About.com

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  1. pomegranate1(انار)

    Posted by mp968_j@yahoo.com  on  10/29/08  at  04:21 AM