Food We Eat : Pomegranate

The pomegranate  botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between 5–8 meters (16–26 ft) tall.

Pomegranate Tree

The pomegranate is widely considered to have originated in the vicinity of Iran and has been cultivated since ancient times. Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Mediterranean region of southern Europe, the Middle East and Caucasus region, northern Africa and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinentCentral Asia 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. There are over 760 varieties of pomegranate.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the fruit is typically in season from September to February. In the Southern Hemisphere, the pomegranate is in season from March to May.

Pomegranates are used in cooking, baking, juices, smoothies and alcoholic beverages, such as martinis and wine.

In History & Culture

Girl with a pomegranate, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, 1875

  • The pomegranate has been mentioned in many ancient texts, notably in Babylonian texts, the Book of Exodus, the Homeric Hymns and the Quran
  • Pomegranate remains dating back to 1000 BC have been found in Transcaucasia.
  • Ancient Egyptians were often buried with pomegranates. A large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of Djehuty, the butler of Egypt’s Queen Hatshepsut.
  • The city of Granada, Spain is named after the Spanish word for pomegranate, “Granada.” The city’s heraldic device is the pomegranate.
  • In early English, the pomegranate was called the “apple of Grenada.”
  • Pomegranates are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Exodus 28:33-34 says that images of pomegranates should be woven onto the hem of the robe worn by the Hebrew High Priest.
  • Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because its 613 seeds correspond with the 613 commandments of the Torah. However, the number of seeds in a pomegranate varies.
  • Pomegranate is one of the Seven Spices (shivat haminim), seven fruits and grains named in the Hebrew Bible as being native to Israel.
  • Many scholars believe it was a pomegranate rather than an apple that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
  • In the Qur’an, pomegranates are named as one of the fruits that will grow in the gardens of paradise.
  • In Hinduism, the pomegranate symbolizes prosperity and fertility.
  • In recent years, it has become more common in the commercial markets of North America and the Western Hemisphere.
  • In Greece it is traditional to break pomegranates on the ground at weddings and on New Year’s.
  • In Japan, the pomegranate plant is often used for bonsai because of the interesting twisted bark some pomegranate plants can attain.

  • Every October, the Pomegranate Festival is held in Goychay, Azerbaijan. The festival features pomegranate cuisine, dancing, and music.

 

Pomegranates are good for you and keep you young

The pomegranate is known as a superfood. Its jewel-like seeds (arils) have been used for medicinal purposes for millennia. Packed with powerful antioxidants and vitamins, this ruby-red fruit has been shown to be a cure-all for just about any ailment. It helps stomach upsets, menopausal hot flashes, hemorrhoids, conjunctivitis, osteoarthritis, lowers blood pressure, stimulates the immune system, wards off the flu, reduces inflammation, reduces risk of heart disease and lowers cholesterol.

“The peel is good for the heart and blood vessels; the white membrane is good for stopping diarrhea and good for wounds and ulcers of the mouth and throat. The fruit also strengthens the brain, cleanses the body and blood from toxins, and is very good at expelling worms from the intestines,”

Worldwide Production

At the global level, India is the world’s largest producer of pomegranates, followed by Iran. Other countries like Turkey, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco, Afghanistan, China, Greece, Japan, France, Armenia, Cyprus, Egypt, Italy and Palestine also cultivate this fruit crop. At present good-quality pomegranates come from Turkey, Iran, Morocco, Afghanistan, and Spain.

india export

Export by India

Pomegranate cultivation in India

Pomegranate cultivation in India

World Wide Leading Exporting countries

World Wide Leading Exporting countries

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