Native to Persia, pomegranates are thought to be one of the oldest known fruits.
In Rome, the pomegranate was called the Punic apple. The botanical name is punicum granatu, which has its root in punic. That was the name of the city of Carthage, the namesake of this tasty treat. The other half of the work comes from granatum which means “many seeds”.
The pomegranate has traveled far and wide. The fruit was brought to China in 100 BC. Then, it was the Moors who imported the pomegranate to Spain in 800 AD. Granada, a city in Spain, was named for the pomegranate. The fruit is so popular there it eventually became the cities emblem.
In Britain, the inaugural planting of the pomegranate was performed by King Henry VIII. In the 18th century, the French named a weapon, a hand-tossed explosive, after the pomegranate, calling it a grenade. It came to America by way of the Spanish conquistadors.
The pomegranate has been revered through time. It is considered a royal fruit, used throughout history in coats of arms, fabric patterns, and praised in literature and art.
The skin has a high tannin content and was, in ancient Rome, used to tan leather.
Nutritional Benefits of Pomegranate
Pomegranates are revered with good reason. Our forbears knew of the power of the pomegranate and its positive effect on the body.
The beauty of the pomegranate is in both its unlikely external appearance and the surprising inner nest of deep red seeds, known as arils, resting within a white membrane. The membrane is bitter to the taste and typically not eaten. The arils contain the juice of the pomegranate and one seed. The arils can be eaten seed and all.
With a tart flavor and an underlying sweetness, the pomegranate offers the best of both tastes, with the promise of possibility held within its seeds. Nutritionally, pomegranates are as full of promise as its legendary status in history.
There are only 72 calories in a ½ cup of arils, while 1 cup of juice contains only 139 calories.
That same cup of juice contains 40% of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C. Combined with the presence of Vitamin A and potassium, the pomegranate is a fantastic source of all kinds of nutritional good.
- Antioxidants: They are, of course, necessary to keep our entire system healthy. In comparison, pomegranate juice has 3x more antioxidant fighting power ounce for ounce than red wine. That makes pomegranate juice an excellent alcohol substitute.
- Blood Thinning: Pomegrantes have been shown to work at thinning the blood and reducing plaque in arteries. In addition, it promotes the HDL cholesterol cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol, a positive correlation with cardiovascular health.
- Lowering Blood Pressure: Studies have shown that imbibing a mere 1 ounce of pomegranate juice daily can lower systolic blood pressure up to 20%.
- Cancer Fighter: Due to its high level of antioxidants, pomegranate juice is a great addition to your diet to fight against breast and skin cancer. New research also shows pomegranate helps inhibit the growth of cancer cells in the prostate, too.
- Arthritis Attacker: A study indicates that pomegranate juice inhibits an enzyme that damages cartilage. For those suffering arthritis and join pain, the addition of pomegranate juice in your diet might just ease some of your woes.
- Flu Fighter: Drink pomegranate juice when you think you’re coming down with the flu (or when you know you’ve already got it!) Pomegranates are rich in punicalagin, a polyphenol that inhibits the flue virus. (from Phytomedicine, July 2009 issue)
Preparation and Storage of Pomegranate
Peel the pomegranate if you have the enduring and Godly patience. Otherwise, slice off the top and cut it into wedges. Fill a bowl with cold water and remove the seeds. The seeds will sink to the bottom and any membrane will float. Compost the membrane and juice or eat the seeds!
Pomegranate seeds will store in the fridge for 3-5 days in a air-tight container.
Pomegranate Passion Smoothie
- 2 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice
- 6 oz. non-fat yogurt or nut milk (depending on the consistency you wish your smoothie to be)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- Handful of ice
Put everything in the blender, give it a whirl, and enjoy!