The pomegranate is the fruit of a small, hardy tree, punka granatum, and is the only member of the family, punkaceae. It is said to be native to Iran but now grows all over the world. The best fruit grow in a hot dry climate, where the fresh juicy flesh is most appreciated.
An ancient fruit, the pomegranate was known in biblical times and regarded as a symbol of fruitfulness.
The pomegranate is a hard, round fruit with a leathery skin. It ranges in colour from pale whitish pink to deep red. In size too, it varies from that of a small orange to as large as a grapefruit. Inside it is divided into numerous cells containing translucent pale to deep red pulpy oval beads, each enclosing a seed. The taste of pomegranate is refreshing and slightly astringent.
The fruit is most usually crushed for its juice, but the pulp can be chewed and the seeds either crushed and eaten or discarded.
In India, pomegranate seeds are dried and used as a souring agent in cooking. In Mexico, the juice is made into a liqueur.
GRENADINE syrup, which is used in many cocktails, is also made from pomegranate juice.