The Jewel of Autumn – Punica Granatum (Pomegranate)


GFDL by Kurt Stueber, also PD-US
GFDL by Kurt Stueber/PD-US

Punica refers to Phoenicians; granatum – garnet, referring to the color. The common name, “Pomegranate” comes from Pomme garnete, which is literally, “seeded apple.” Also called a Chinese Apple. Some scholars believe it to be the famed “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden.

The first pomegranate tree planted in the southwestern United States hitched a ride on a Spanish ship (along with oranges) in the late 1700’s. If you use this tree in your writing, you’ll need to know that its normal season is October to January. The Pomegranate is indigenous to Persia and the Western Himalayan Range. You’ll find many mentions of the pomegranate in the Bible. It likes a dry, hot environment. As you can see in the photo, the flowers of the pomegranate tree are quite beautiful.

If your southwestern historical novel characters are ill and in need of a cure, you can include the pomegranate fruit and tree in your “medicine chest.” The rind and the bark were traditionally used to remedy diarrhea and dysentery. The juice and seeds are thought to heal heart ailments and sore throat. The flower juice was used to stem bleeding and tone the skin. Just think of the possibilities! 

Stan Shebs
PD/Photo by Stan Shebs

Eating a pomegranate: the seeds are contained in a juice sac. You can eat the seeds, or ream a halved pomegranate like an orange or lemon to remove the delicious juice. The seeds make a nice addition to any salad. You can find dozens of recipes on the internet, ranging from soups to syrup (grenadine) and wine. The rind is tough and woody, but it is sometimes consumed. Many use the attractive fruit in arrangements on their Fall table. 





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