Pomegranates or the fruit of the dead , feature in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings and we’re a symbol of fertility in Classical times . Revered throughout ages, it is likely that the apple that tempted Eve in the garden of Eden was in fact Pomegranate .
The word pomegranate means “apple with many seeds “.
1. Gardening –
Pomegranate is a dense , frost-hardy , deciduous shrub or small tree, naive to the Middle East but now cultivated worldwide in warm temperate regions .
It reaches 6m and has small shiny leaves and funnel shaped , crinkled orange-red flowers.
Pomegranate flowers and fruit are very ornamental . They make wonderful pot plants and garden rooms . Ample warmth and sunshine in summer and a winter minimum of 10°C is ideal .
The two most widely grown ornamentals are dwarf P.granatum var. nana and the double flowered P.granatum f.plena . ‘Wonderful’ a Californian clone , has tasty fruits and juice and a high level of antioxidants.
- Position –
Well-drained soil in full sun. Container plants thrive with a little well-rotted compost or slow release fertilizer.
Sow seeds in spring at 20-25°C or take semi-ripe cuttings in summer .
- Maintenance –
Remove awkward shoots in spring to give an open , well shaped framework . Feed pot grown plants monthly. Keep on the dry side in low winter temperatures.
- Pests and diseases-
Bug and moth larvae , which cause leaves to ‘web’ together are sometimes a problem for pants grown indoors .
- Harvesting and storing-
Fruits are picked when ripe and the seeds are seperated from the rind and membrane . Roots are dug in autumn and stripped of bark. Rind and barks are dried for medicinal compounds .
2. Herbal Medicine –
Punica granatum. Parts used – rind , root bark, fruit extracts . Traditional uses of pomegranate focusses on the rind and root bark . These parts contain toxic alkaloids which eleminate the intestinal parasites and disrupt the reproductive cycle. Today the emphasis is on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in the fruit extracts.
Research has shown that pomegranate extracts stimulate the immune system and have anticancer and antidiabetic activity . Do not use pomegranate rind and root bark for any purpose unless prescribed by a qualified person.
3. Cooking –
Pomegranate seeds are eaten fresh , on their own or in fruit salads and other desserts . The juice is delicious , often blended with other juices or made into sorbet and jellies .
It is also evaporated to make syrup , known as grenadine , which is used in cocktails and molasses or dibs rumman , a favourite ingredient in Middle Eastern cuisine.
Pick pomegranates that are unblemished, with smooth , thick skin and a heavy feel .
Eat healthy and stay healthy !!