The pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Lythraceae that grows between 5 and 8 m tall. They are hardy and can be maintained at only 2 metres tall and are suitable for growing in a large pot. They like a well drained sunny location. Fruit harvest is normally in March, April and May.
As intact arils or juice, pomegranates are used in baking, cooking, juice blends, meal garnishes, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine. Pomegranate ‘Wonderful’ is one of the best commercial varieties in California. It is a productive and vigorous plant which produces a large and juicy fruit. Fruit are deep purple-red with deep crimson flesh colour and do not have really hard seeds. This fruit is great for juicing or eating fresh.
The pomegranate originated in the region extending from modern-day Iran through Afghanistan and Pakistan to northern India, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region.
P. granatum is grown for its fruit crop, and as ornamental trees and shrubs in parks and gardens. Mature specimens can develop sculptural twisted-bark multiple trunks and a distinctive overall form. Pomegranates are drought-tolerant, and can be grown in dry areas with either a Mediterranean winter rainfall climate or in summer rainfall climates. In wetter areas, they can be prone to root decay from fungal diseases. They can be tolerant of moderate frost, down to about -12 °C.
After the pomegranate is opened by scoring it with a knife and breaking it open, the seeds are separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the seeds is easier in a bowl of water because the seeds sink and the inedible pulp floats. Freezing the entire fruit also makes it easier to separate. Another effective way of quickly harvesting the seeds is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl, and smack the rind with a large spoon. The seeds should eject from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded seeds to remove. The entire seed is consumed raw, though the watery, tasty sarcotesta is the desired part. The taste differs depending on the variety or cultivar of pomegranate and its ripeness.
Pomegranate juice can be sweet or sour, but most fruits are moderate in taste, with sour notes from the acidic ellagitannins contained in the juice. Pomegranate juice has long been a popular drink in Europe, the Middle East and is now widely distributed in Australia, United States and Canada.