One from the outside and a thousand from the inside… This fruit, which is very fertile in terms of both number and benefit, is none other than pomegranate. The name pomegranate is derived from medium in Latin, meaning “apple” and “seeded” meaning grunum. For today’s use; In ancient French it was called pomme-grenade for its fruit, and in early English it was known as the “apple of Grenada”, which is a term that survives only in dynasty blazons today.
Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a member of the Cinaga (Lythraceae) family. It consists of hundreds of particles that make up the small kernels and fruit stem. It has a slightly sour and sometimes sweet taste, it is a type of fruit that grows in temperate climates.
The pomegranate tree grows from 5 to 10 m high. The pomegranate tree has multiple thorny branches. Some examples in France survive for 200 years. The leaves are mutual, brightly colored, thin-long shaped, with short stems and red edges, they are 3-7 cm long and 2 cm wide. The flowers are partially stemless, one by one and several in combination. Plate leaves are red, flaky and fleshy. Only some fruitless varieties can be grown for flowers.
Its fruits are spherical and orange in size, previously green, reddish in maturity, leathery rind, multi-seed and fleshy. The part of the fruit eaten is the seeds that are succulent and abundant. There are around 600 seeds in a pomegranate fruit. The colors of the seeds have different color tones from white to dark red.
Pomegranates are drought resistant. It can be grown in areas with a height of up to 1000 m between the tropics and the 40th latitudes, where the Mediterranean precipitation regime is effective. It can withstand temperatures down to -10 ° C. 500 mm of precipitation per year is sufficient. If the sun-loving plant is watered at intervals in the summer, the yield increases. In more rainy areas, they can often face root rot caused by fungal disorders.
It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean basin for several thousand years. It is believed to have originated in Iran first. It grows in a wide area from Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Himalayas. There are wild pomegranate gardens on the east coast of Georgia, Armenia and the Black Sea. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran and India are made of pomegranate cultivation. In addition, pomegranate cultivation has been carried out in Mediterranean countries and Caucasus since prehistoric times.
Since pomegranate can grow in arid climates, it is grown in Southeast Asia, Malaysia, and tropical Africa. Pomegranate has reached South China and Southeast Asia through silk road and sea traders and is grown in these regions. Places the most intense pomegranate grown in Turkey is the Aegean and Southeast Anatolia regions. Pomegranate was brought to Latin America and California by the Spanish in the 18th century. It has gained value as a commercial product in California and Arizona since the 2000s.
Pomegranate fruit has given its name to some cities. Side (Antalya) means Pomegranate. In addition, Granada, a historical city in the south of Spain, got its name from the pomegranate fruit.
To consume pomegranate raw, it is necessary to first cut it in half with a knife, then the seeds of the pomegranate must be separated from its peel. The white fibers between the seeds must also be separated from the seeds. An easy way to do this is to put the seeds in a bowl of water. Grains sink to the bottom, white fibers remain on the water. Grains filled in a plate are eaten raw with the help of a spoon. Some pomegranates can taste very sour, while others can be very sweet. But in general, pomegranate has a taste between sour and sweet.
Pomegranate juice is a beverage widely consumed in Middle Eastern countries. It has been popular in the USA since 2000s.
In addition to consuming pomegranate directly, pomegranate syrup is consumed in various forms, especially for flavoring salads, for finishing the meat or by drinking it directly. Pomegranate seeds can also be used in salads, can be added to ashura, muhammara and güllaç and are used in various dessert decorations.
Pomegranate syrup was widely used in Iranian cuisine when the tomato has not entered Iranian cuisine yet. Traditional dishes, in which pomegranate syrup is still used, are kept alive. For example, a dark sauce, the main ingredient of which is pomegranate syrup and ground walnut, is poured on them when various poultry is cooked, pomegranate soup is drunk.
Wild pomegranate can be used as a spice from time to time. This spice is mostly used in Indian and Pakistani cuisines, but can also be used as a substitute for pomegranate molasses in Iranian and Middle Eastern cuisine. In addition, dried beans of pomegranate can be obtained from all ethnic markets.
Pomegranate is also made liqueur. It can also be used in the making of a fruit cake, and the grains can be poured over the ice cream as an ornament. It is mixed with yogurt at times, or it is applied to bread like jam and consumed for breakfast.
100 ml of pomegranate juice meets 16% of the daily vitamin requirement of an adult person. Pomegranate juice also contains vitamin B and potassium. Pomegranate extract is used in various diet products. Because pomegranate extract does not contain sugar, calories and additives.
The peel of the pomegranate fruit can be used as a tea against diarrhea. Pomegranate is good for palpitations. It strengthens the stomach. If it is squeezed and drunk with meat, it removes bile and removes hardness. Pomegranate tree bark has been used against intestinal strips for a long time. Therefore, it is used in veterinary medicine against tapeworms especially in cattle. But be careful because it can lead to poisoning.
Due to its anti-virus feature, pomegranate juice is used for dental calculus cleaning. There are studies showing that the tannin substance in pomegranate reduces the risk of heart attack. Pomegranate seed oil is thought to be effective against the reproduction of breast cancer cells by preventing estrogen synthesis. Recently, it has been researched whether pomegranate juice can be used to combat prostate cancer. There are also some research results that pomegranate can help control cholesterol, blood sugar, and insulin resistance and protect neurodegenerative diseases and cancer.
International pomegranate production quantity ranking:
1. Iran 2. India 3. China 4. Turkey 5. USA 6. Iraq 7. Spain 8. Syria 9. Azerbaijan 10. Afghanistan 11. Egypt 12. Uzbekistan 13. Pakistan
China and India, which realize a significant part of the world pomegranate production, cannot export pomegranate due to the large population. Important countries and export amounts in world pomegranate trade (2008-2010); Turkey (86 thousand tons), Iran (60 thousand tons), Spain (40 thousand tons), India (35 thousand tons), USA (17 thousand tonnes), Azerbaijan (15 thousand tons).
Pomegranate has also made its place in mythology and religious beliefs. Persephone, who was abducted to the underworld by Hades in Greek mythology, could not leave the world of the dead and return to the earth among the people because she ate a few pomegranate seeds. According to the Jewish faith, the pomegranate symbolizes accuracy. According to Jewish and Christian folklore, the fruit of paradise, which is forbidden to Adam and Eve, is not an apple, but a pomegranate. Therefore, pomegranate is a frequently used motif in the religious decoration art of Christians. Pomegranate motif is found in priest clothes, fabrics for religious decoration hanging on the room walls and metal works. Gypsies believe that it is a great sin to remove pomegranate from the branch before the season comes and celebrates the pomegranate harvest under the name of ‘pomegranate festival’.