Pomegranate (Punica granatum) has lengthy been revered as an emblem of energy, abundance, hope, pleasure and fertility.1,2 Each the Talmud and Bible reward it, and it options closely in mythologies from varied areas, together with Egypt, Greece and China.three Bodhidharma, founding father of Zen Buddhism, and Muhammad, founding father of Islam, additionally commemorated the fruit.four
Based on foodreference.com, Muhammad “thought-about the pomegranate to be a valuable fruit crammed with diet, bringing each emotional and bodily peace.”5 Right now, we all know pomegranates are certainly a wealthy supply of health-promoting antioxidants.
In accordance to a 2008 examine,6 which in contrast the efficiency of 10 totally different polyphenol-rich drinks, pomegranate juice scored high billing because the healthiest. Total, its antioxidant efficiency was discovered to be “not less than 20% larger” than any of the different drinks.
Pomegranates additionally include compounds that stimulate mitophagy.7,eight Mitophagy is the method of cleansing out your mitochondria, permitting them to perform at their greatest, which is essential for regular mobile functioning and homeostasis,9 and thus for well being and longevity.
In accordance to the Madera Chamber of Commerce,10 pomegranate timber have been cultivated for 1000’s of years throughout the Mediterranean area of Asia, Africa and Europe. Spanish settlers introduced the tree to California in 1769.
Since then, cultivation of pomegranate unfold by way of the extra arid states. In accordance to Madera Chamber of Commerce, California’s business pomegranate cultivation “is concentrated in Tulare, Fresno and Kern counties, with small farms in Imperial and Riverside counties.”11
Being drought tolerant and self-pollinating, pomegranate is straightforward to develop both in a giant pot (saved indoors or out) or completely planted in your backyard. Whereas you can begin it from seed, to make sure good fruit, it’s greatest to begin it from a slicing. Whereas the plant sometimes grows right into a bushy shrub if left to its personal units, you possibly can practice it right into a small tree by some strategic pruning.
For container gardens, gardeningknowhow.com12 recommends utilizing a 10-gallon pot to your tree. Fill the container 1 / 4 of the way in which full with potting soil. Wash off the highest 1 inch of soil from the foundation ball to encourage the roots to determine, then place it into the middle of the pot and fill with soil across the root ball. Hold your tree in a location that will get not less than six hours of full solar and transfer it indoors if temperatures drop beneath 40 levels Fahrenheit (four levels Celsius).
For those who’re in local weather Zones 7b by way of 12, you possibly can plant your pomegranate immediately in your backyard. Select a sunny location with loads of house to develop. A full-grown pomegranate shrub or tree might have upward of 20 ft diameter house.13 For those who don’t have that type of house, hold it contained by way of pruning.
For those who’re planning on utilizing it as a hedge, permit about 10 ft of house between every plant. One more various is to develop it as an espalier alongside a wall or fence. For tips about the way to correctly prune your pomegranate, based mostly on the form you’re searching for, see this text from the Natural Gardening Useful resource Middle.14 The featured video additionally exhibits the way to prune your pomegranate to coach it right into a tree.
Pomegranate prefers loamy soil with good drainage, however can adapt to most soil varieties. Water liberally as soon as per week through the summer season. As soon as established, it’s possible you’ll solely must water as soon as each three or 4 weeks.
Through the first two years, fertilize with an natural balanced (10-10-10) fruit tree fertilizer in November, February and Might, preserving the fertilizer just a few inches away from the trunk. Within the third 12 months, you possibly can reduce feeding right down to twice a 12 months. Develop Natural Peaceable Valley recommends giving it about 1 ounce per foot of tree.
Pruning your pomegranate
Gardeningknowhow.com15 recommends pruning crossed branches as soon as the tree is a 12 months outdated, and slicing off shoots, leaving simply three to 5 shoots per department. If coaching it right into a tree, go away 5 – 6 foremost scaffolding branches and reduce the remainder (see video).
Useless wooden is greatest pruned off through the winter. Ought to an sudden frost injury or kill your pomegranate, contemplate leaving it for some time. Oftentimes, it should develop new suckers that may change the lifeless trunk.
The featured video by Develop Natural suggests rising pomegranate as a shrub fairly than a tree in case you dwell in Zone 7b, the coldest local weather zone, as this may enhance the possibilities of a number of trunks surviving a freeze. Develop Natural additionally recommends:16
“When doing upkeep pruning because the tree grows, prune flippantly, and by no means trim all of the branches in the identical 12 months. Pomegranates fruit on brief new shoots that come from wooden that’s greater than one 12 months outdated, so pruning all new progress again without delay can lead to nothing to harvest the next seasons. You also needs to prune again any new suckers that you don’t wish to develop into trunks.”
When and the way to harvest
Pomegranates are in season from August to December, therefore its moniker, “the jewel of autumn.” Whereas most pomegranate timber will begin bearing fruit as early because the second 12 months, it might take 5 – 6 years earlier than you begin getting substantial harvests. Within the starting, many or many of the fruits could merely fall off earlier than reaching maturity. You may inform the fruit is ripe by its heft and sound.17 Based on the Pomegranate Council:18
“, ripe pomegranate ought to really feel heavy, as if it’s very filled with juice (which it’s!), and the pores and skin needs to be agency and taut. The pores and skin colour varies from medium crimson to deep crimson with a contemporary leather-like look. Floor abrasions don’t have an effect on the standard of the fruit.”
A mature fruit may even have a metallic sound when tapped. Fruit left to overripen on the tree will ultimately break up open. Extra water may additionally trigger them to separate. Break up fruit are nonetheless edible, however can’t be saved entire for any size of time. To reap, keep away from ripping the fruit off the department. Use pruning shears or scissors as an alternative.
Methods to open and retailer pomegranate
With regards to consuming the pomegranate, you could have a few choices. You may juice it such as you would an orange, utilizing both a guide or electrical juice press, or scrape out the arils (the juice-filled seed sacs) and use them in salads or as dessert toppings.
Every aril comprises a small, crunchy fiber-rich seed, which is totally edible, and the Pomegranate Council recommends consuming the arils entire, seed and all. To get the arils out, the Council recommends:19
Chopping off the crown, then slicing the pomegranate into sections
Putting the sections in a bowl of water, then rolling out the arils along with your fingers. Discard every thing else
Straining out the water and having fun with the arils entire
An easy-open various is demonstrated within the Mama Pure video above. Like apples, entire pomegranates can keep contemporary for a number of weeks when saved in a cool, dry place, and as much as three months refrigerated in a plastic bag. You may additionally freeze the arils for even longer storage. The juice could be frozen for up to 6 months as effectively.20
Cooking with pomegranate
Marinades, sauces, and salsas are nice makes use of for pomegranates. The arils may also be blended with different meals resembling olives, beets, avocados, cucumbers, apples, pears or persimmons.
Another choice: Attempt dropping the arils into glowing cider for a festive and engaging vacation drink. You may discover a wide range of recipes that includes pomegranate on the Pomegranate Council’s web site,21 together with appetizers, drinks, foremost programs and desserts.
Allrecipes.com is one other wonderful supply for culinary inspiration. Right here’s a easy pomegranate spinach recipe22 from Allrecipes to get you began in case you’ve by no means cooked with this delectable fruit earlier than.
Spinach Pomegranate Salad (four servings)
1 10-ounce bag of child spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
1/four cup alfalfa sprouts (non-compulsory)
1/four crimson onion, thinly sliced
1 pomegranate; arils separated
half cup walnut items
half cup crumbled feta cheese
four tablespoons balsamic French dressing
Place spinach in salad bowl and high with onions, feta, walnuts and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on high and drizzle with French dressing.