Pomegranates are here

Unlike most fruits, pomegranates make AN appearance on a grocer’s produce shelves for a short period only, thus making us crave for them even more; ask anyone who has had the pleasure of consuming one, and be prepared to hear what an adventure it is to reach the edible part and how unique the taste is.

For those familiar with the bottled juice sold in stores but not the actual fruit, pomegranates are extremely showy, deep red in color, and flaunt a matching crown which, while indeed very attractive, does seem a few sizes too small for the body of the fruit! They are round, fairly large in size some weighing as much as a pound and a half. (Though sold generally by quantity and not weight, once, out of curiosity, I did actually weigh a fruit I had purchased.

Set in neat rows and divided by yellowish papery partitions lie edible seeds that are covered with brilliant red sweet-tart juicy pulp; so as to get most of the pulp, one has to chew the seeds as well since it is virtually impossible to spit each seed!    

A deciduous small tree or a bushy shrub, bearing eye-catching, unique-tasting fruits is not the only asset pomegranate (Punica granatum) possesses, for a blooming specimen is truly spectacular. Though plants are considered borderline hardy in our area, the cultivar ‘Lubimi’ we procured locally can tolerate our winters and is doing well at a sheltered location in our back yard. Incidentally, if interested in growing one, do check the variety since some are primarily ornamental and bear no fruit.

Aside from being a delectable delight, designers adore using the fruits in making festive centerpieces and wreaths, especially the Colonial Williamsburg style; in fact this is the perfect time to visit the historic town to see, admire and get ideas from the hand-made wreaths made from fresh materials including fruits.

A final note on enjoying a pomegranate: Upon asking one of my family members who is quite apt at handling fruits, the secret of reaching the edible part of this seasonal fruit, “patience” was the quick reply!   

Gita’s Tip of the Month
Delicate new growth can now be or will soon be seen around the base of peonies; therefore, use care when working around the otherwise dormant plants so as not injure the prospective shoots and blooms for the next season.

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