It is rumored to have been the actual “forbidden fruit” eaten by Adam and Eve. It is listed as one of the top “Super Fruits”. And it is everywhere, in endless variety. It’s the pomegranate, and even though it is now a familiar presence in most people’s lives, I couldn’t resist a little review of the actual fruit that is the source of all the dietary and nutritional hubbub.
If you want to be fancy and scientific, it’s Punica granatum, and it grows on a deciduous tree or shrub, faring best in most hot climates around the world. In the Northern hemisphere it is in season between September and February, and can be found in most major supermarket chains, as well as in specialty markets. Humans have been cultivating the pomegranate for approximately 4,000 years, and believed to have originated in what is now Iran. If maintained properly and left undisturbed, it is a very long-lived tree; some specimens in France have been dated over two hundred years old. The pomegranate made its way around the Mediterranean over time, becoming very popular in the Muslim world and eventually spreading to Spain, via the Moorish invasion, where it became (and still is) on the official coat of arms for the province of Granada. In the mid-1760s it was introduced to North America by the Spanish; today it is cultivated widely in Arizona and California.