Saturday, February 28, 2009
The pomegranate, Punice granatum, a deciduous tree or large shrub and its fruit, originated in the middle east and has long been cultivated throughout the Mediterranean world. The plant bears white or bright red flowers followed by seedy, red fruits that may reach 13 cm (5 in) in diameter. Thriving on a wide range of soils in warm climates, the pomegranate produce excellent fruit under semiarid conditions, as in parts of California and Israel.
The fruit was associated with both fertility and death in classical mythology. The goddness Aphrodite was said to have planted it on the island of Cyprus. The Romans, who believed that the best pomegranates came from Carthage, called the fruit punicum, the Latin for Carthage. The fruit’s Spanish name is Granada, and the frit appears on that city’s seal.
The pomegrate is eaten as fresh fruit, and the dark red, acid juice is used a flavoring and is principal ingredient of the red flavoring syrup grenadine.
The pomegranate shrub bears flamboyant flowers and glossy leaves that are red when young. Its many seeded fruit has a thin leathery rind a red, translucent pulp.