Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is one of the most common and commercial fruit crop of India. It is cultivated commercially only in Maharashtra. Small scale plantations are also seen in other parts of India like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, etc. Pomegranate has a classic Latin name ‘GRAINY APPLE’.
Grainy apple falls under the category of berries. For thousands of years, it has been a vital provider of food and medicine. The crowned tough outer layer of the fruit protects the fragile arils(seeds) from sun, insects and worms. The ruby pearls under the rind shoot out its pure sweetened juice just by slight grind of teeth. Arils also found its way into chef’s and culinary recipes as they go well with salads, meat dishes and as snack as well. We usually find them as the finishing touch of garnishing as their bright red skin makes the dish mouth-watering. It can be a mess if you don’t peel it the right way, as it leaves tough stains of red. It teach us to fortify for mess and also to embrace it.
How to choose a good quality pomegranate?
- It should be hand-picked and scrutinized by touch.
- A good quality pomegranate’s epicarp should feel tight and firm while looking a bit like leather, softness is evidence of bad quality.
- It maybe lacklustered but should be hard and heavy. A proper pomegranate will feel heavy when ripe as it is full of juice.
- The color of the skin can range from a middle range red to a deep red.
- Unlike other fruits and vegetables brown patch on the surface of the skin do not indicate lack of quality, it is due to sun burn, or lack of water during cultivation but the fruits inside will be perfect.
Uses of Pomegranate:
Pomegranate seeds are rich in fiber and nutrient. It is rich in Vitamin C, a single pomegranate contains more than 40 percent vitamin C the body require per day. Pomegranate can reduce inflammation in the gut and improve digestion. It also works miraculously in dissolving gallstones and kidney stones, nodules, calcifications, and small cysts such as ganglia cysts. Aside from the seeds, the fruit is also valued for its thirst-quenching juice which prevents cancer by stopping the growth of prostate cancer cells.
Additionally, pomegranate rind and tree flowers are both harvested to make dyes for use in textile manufacturing. The peels are packed with powerful antioxidants that help fight against dangerous and life threatening heart diseases. It also lowers cholesterol levels, reduces stress and restores heart health. Pomegranate peels can also help you fight hair loss and prevent the menace of dandruff. The peels prevent wrinkles and signs of aging. It acts as natural moisturizer and sun-screen as well.
Inks are made by steeping pomegranate leaves in vinegar and it also helps in aiding fat loss. Pomegranate leaves are found to be useful in treating a number of disorders and ailments, such as insomnia, abdominal pain, dysentery, cough, jaundice, mouth ulcers, etc.
The Japanese use the bark to produce insecticides in organic farming.