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Pomegranetes, Ancient Fruits with a Wealth of Nutrients

Updated on June 7, 2012
thoughtfulgirl2 profile image

I have a deep interest in nature, gardening and sustainability. The local arboretum is my universe of learning and my garden is my lab!

What a sophisticated interior structure!
What a sophisticated interior structure! | Source

How Old Are They?

Pomegranate trees have been around since at least 4,000 years ago. Wild uncultivated pomegranates turned up in different regions in the Mediterranean. They were first cultivated by the Sumerians, more than 4,000 years ago. They are an intriguingly chambered fruit with sacs of seeds which have a slightly sweet gelatinous covering. Some people just strain the fruit and drink the juice, but the seeds are edible and are good to eat. Connoisseurs also just suck the juice from around the seed to get a tangy taste sensation.

They are drought tolerant long lived trees with few problems. Some have been known to live at least two hundred years. Treat them well (but no need to pamper them) and they will reward you with many years of fruit and flowers. The fruits are big and the flowers are beautiful. The flowers are tubular and are a warm orange red color, warm like the Mediterranean areas where they originated from.

The pomegranate was an integral part of the nomad's life. Wherever they travelled, the pomegranate went with them. It kept very well in a self contained leather like covering. This covering kept insects out (as long as the skin wasn't cracked open) and the invaluable water and juice in. Pomegranates are actually 80 percent water and juice. The fruits (seeds or arils) make up the weight of the pomegranate. One pomegranate can yield numerous arils to enjoy, and I am sure these kept the nomads very healthy. The pomegranate has a variety of vitamins and minerals. These minerals were absolutely necessary to replace fluids lost while trekking out in the blazing sun. As the nomads travelled across the desert in search of better lands, they may have traded pomegranates for other items that they needed, and by doing so, spread the range of the pomegranate.

Some Interesting Facts

  • The tree bark has tannins that are used in the aging of leather, the pomegranate tree bark tannins are a favorite of Moroccan leather makers. The tannins age the leather beautifully and impart a full rich color.
  • Dried pomegranate flower buds can be crushed and used in a tea to ease bronchitis.
  • Anardana is an Indian spice made by drying the seeds out in the sun for about 15 days. The slower the drying process, the richer the flavor. They can be mixed into marmalades and are also used in sauces to deepen the flavor of many meat dishes. Some dried seeds are chewy and some are tougher. The harder seeds can be dried, crushed, and used as a sprinkle on spice. The flavor is bright and complex and earthy, which blends well with hearty autumn dishes. Anardana goes well with cloves, meats and mixed into sauces. Experiment, you'll probably come up with some exotic dish that is quite heavenly.
  • Pomegranate juice is used to make grenadine syrups which are used in mixed drinks. It has a rich red color that gives some mixed drinks their ruby color.
  • Mexican natives use the flowers in a decoction (which means to boil the flowers down to their essence) and then make a drink or liquor for mouth and throat inflammations.
  • Jewish lore says that the 613 seeds found in a fruit coincide with the 613 commandments of the Torah. This is an ancient fruit, as is the Jewish religion, so their thoughts about the seeds make sense to me.
  • The Chinese are said to believe that the seeds represent male babies who will go forth in the world and do many great and wondrous deeds.

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    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      We always seem to forget how much of a role food has played in the advancement of civilization. I love the history of food!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thank-you, glad you enjoyed it!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      You're welcome!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      I had no idea it was known as the fruit of the dead, it is an ancient fruit, though.

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks for the link!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
      Author

      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      To Art Girl 27:

      Thank-you for your thoughts, and it definitely is frondilicious!

    • Art Girl 27 profile image

      Art Girl 27 5 years ago from East Coast USA

      Nice article...they are pretty...interesting facts!!!! Frondilicious!

    • thoughtfulgirl2 profile image
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      thoughtfulgirl2 5 years ago from East Coast

      To hush4444

      Thank-you for checking out this hub. I always liked pomegranates and the facts behind them makes them even more interesting

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      JeffdiMontone 5 years ago

      Here's a link to our blog post with the recipe for my perfectly balanced drink the Pomeranian:

      http://aromacucina.typepad.com/aroma_cucina/2010/1...

      Try it. I think you'll like it!

    • motherhubbard profile image

      motherhubbard 5 years ago

      One thing that I know about pomegrantes is that don't get the juice on your clothes, or it will stay there forever.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      What a great information! I love eating Pomegranate. It is good to know about this fruit. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Ingrid 5 years ago

      Some believe that the forbidden fruit in the Bible was the pomegranate & it was known as the "fruit of the dead" in Greek Mythology.

    • profile image

      JGYeo 5 years ago

      As a chef this is something I did not know. Thanks for the info

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 5 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      Great article good information.. love the article. My husband has been eating Pomegranate fruit.. they are so messy,.. but he loves them.. this is a ancient fruit... but I didn't realize the trees could last 200 years.. wow.. thanks for writing this and researching it.. good job..I voted up and interesting..

    • hush4444 profile image

      hush4444 5 years ago from Hawaii

      What an interesting hub about a fruit that I love! I particularly enjoyed the information about the 613 seeds representing the commandments of the Torah.