A refreshing pomegranate fruit is ideal for summer and great for your health. Consume it without moderation! Here’s a quick tour about pomegranate’shistory, benefits and recipes. We will also talk about choosing, cooking and keeping the pomegranate.
The Benefits of Pomegranate
The pomegranate is a fruit low in calories (62 kcal per 100 g) as a fresh fig or mango. It is moderate in sugar. However, 100 g pomegranate represented 25% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamins C and 10% RDA of vitamin B. It is an excellent food antioxidant that helps delay – due to organic acids it contains – the development of cancer cells. This amount of antioxidant is greater than what we can found in green tea or red wine.
The pomegranate is also rich in minerals like potassium that is present in large quantities and fight against cardiovascular disease by acting as a hypotensive. Pomegranate juice is also proven to have an action on men’s prostate cancer and heart dideases.
Note also that this fruit contains a signifiant percentage of fiber and copper. In traditional medicine, the pomegranate is an excellent vermifuge and is used to treat persistent cough, fever, colic. Some even use it to stimulate the libido.
Preservation of Pomegranate
The grenade consists of a rigid and durable shell that allows it to keep for a long time and protect it from shocks. Thus, the whole fruit will keep for several weeks or months in the refrigerator.
When it comes to juice only, it keeps a few days in the fridge.
About the arils (small grains located inside the grenade):
– If they are fresh, they can keep in the freezer for about a year
– If they are dried, they are stored in a jar, in a dry, cool and dark place.
Tasting the Pomegranate
We should choose ripe pomegranate when possible. The emphasis is therefore a result of a well rounded and dark red to brown. When tapped, it must achieve a metallic sound. Note that the sweetest variety of pomegranate is the Gordo Javita.
There are two major food uses of the pomegranate: Pomegranate as a fresh fruit and dried arils. At the time of the Pharaohs, the Egyptians used pomegranate to prepare a fresh sweet wine with flavors of raspberries. Today, we also enjoy the fresh fruit, halved and eaten with a spoon, in salad, sorbet, juice, or the famous traditional grenadine. In India, dried arils are used as a spice in many vegetarian dishes. The arils can be found whole dried or powdered. They are found in the seasoning of salads, sauces, meat marinades, rice cakes or prepared vegetables.
Tip: To prepare a pomegranate, split it in two, ripping the pockets (white) and flush the juicy fleshy arils with the fingers. These grains are the only edible part of the grenade.
History of the Pomegranate
Originally from Iran, the pomegranate is part of the family of the Lythraceas. Its skin is firm and bright with a red-brown color. Inside, it contains trapped small juicy, fleshy pink translucent seeds, called arils. Its tart flavor is sweet and gentle. The grenade consists of more than 80% water which gives it refreshing qualities.
Cultivated since at least 5000 years in Asia and North Africa, it adjusts perfectly to the Mediterranean climate. Introduced in the eighth century by the Arabs in Andalucia, Pomegranate is a staple food for travelers and caravans from North Africa, who favored it from other fresh fruit for its solid crust, which allowed a better conservation.
Over time, the fruit was a symbols represented in the various ethnic groups who consumed it. Often considered as the fruit of gods, it was seen as a symbol of fertility and prosperity:
- The ancient Greeks: this fruit was dedicated to the goddesses Aphrodite and Hera.
- Java, the pomegranate was part of rituals to accompany pregnancy.
- In China, it was the center of a customary practice: people offered a pomegranate to newlyweds as a sign of a great future offspring.
Pomegranate was also a real symbol within the major religions of the world:
- For the Hebrews it was the longing for the promised land.
- For Christians, the divine perfection.
- And for Muslims, it helps to fight against hatred and envy.
Finally, it is interesting to note that the city of Granada, built in Spain in the tenth century, was named after this fruit, from the Latin granatum = granado which means the fruit pomegranate.