By Naheed Shoukat Ali, Fragrantica
Considered a symbol of fertility or fruitfulness this little crown-holding fruit is Pomegranate, which is called Anaar in Urdu. However, the word "pomegranate" comes from the Latin pomum and granatus, or "seedy apple." Olive, dates, figs and grapes are some of the earliest fruits, and pomegranate is also said to have been cultivated since that time. Its mention is found in the Qur'an where it says that the gardens of paradise hold pomegranates. And what a luxury it is when a fruit is not only cultivated on the earth but also in the gardens of paradise!
In PAKISTAN it comes by in autumn/winter and is much loved for its sweet-tart juice and for various health benefits. The popular varieties which are best enjoyed are Bedana and Kandhari. "Bedana," translated as "without seeds," is medium to large, with a brownish or whitish rind, pulp of pinkish-white and sweet soft seeds. Kandhari is large, deep-red, with deep-pink or blood-red subacid pulp and hard seeds.
Pomegranate is described as leathery-skinned. Beneath its tough but thin skin, each pomegranate holds hundreds of tiny seeds encased in translucent ruby pulp. This is just a description of the fruit. If you have seen pomegranates blossoms, they are a beauty to be praised and not to be missed when they are in bloom.
Pomegranate is consumed in many forms like juice, fresh, dried and in salads. Dried seeds are used in both sweet and savory foods, syrup et al.
Here's a quick recipe for dried pomegranate seeds, which are also used for weight loss and as a mouth-freshener after meal.
Toss them well and store in an airtight jar. Keep the jar in a cool and dry place. If stored well, its shelf life can be as long as one month but usually it ends soon due to its refreshing and pleasant taste. Just a teaspoon of the mix is enough and if taken more, there's no harm except that it will finish soon.
Talking of its use in IRAN, my friend from Iran shares her words as:
Some people plant little pomegranate trees in pots and keep them inside the house for decoration. In Iran it's common to make a thick syrup called rob from its juice, which is used in cooking. It is a main ingredient of one of the traditional Persian stews which is called Fesenjoon. It's really delicious. Pomegranate has special meaning in Persian ancient times. Pomegranate and its leaves have been used in different religious ceremonies in ancient times. It is a symbol of fertility and abundance in Persian culture. Nowadays it's common to eat pomegranate besides watermelon in the winter solstice celebration which is called "Yalda night."
And a friend in TURKEY talks about their tradition: Pomegranate is cracked at the new year's night to bring plenty to our homes in my country. There is a brain teaser related to pomegranate, which roughly translates, "When I buy it, it is one piece. When I bring it home, it becomes 1000 pieces." Because of this reason It is thought that pomegranate brings abundance to our homes.
From the pages of history we learn about Granada, which means pomegranate, a city in SPAIN. It got its name from the Arabs who invaded Spain in the 8th century. What is more interesting about Granada are the pomegranate decorations in all forms, be it fountains, churches or streets, throughout the city. Pomegranates are depicted in the intricate archway designs and mosaics at Alhambra, which was built by the Moors. Puerta de las Granadas ("Gate of Pomegranates") is popularly known for its oversized, bursting pomegranates carved in stone.
Pomegranate in beautiful decorations of Alhambra, Andalucia (Spain)
Pomegranate is said to be a miracle fruit for its benefits. It is known as an anti-aging fruit, and it is very important for expectant mothers. Research has proven its importance in pregnancy as it prevents low birth weights and the delivery of premature babies. The fruit and juice both are good to consume at least two times a week.
What are the traditions connected with pomegranates in your countries?
Published on: 10/18/2011