Pomegranates, now making their seasonal debut, are rich in flavor, nutrients, and ascetic beauty.

The deep-red globes of pomegranate fruit—now in season—have significant health benefits. The word pomegranate comes from the Latin pomum grantum, which translates into “apple of many seeds.” Underneath their leathery skin, pomegranates are filled with hundreds of edible red seed pods called arils, each containing a sweet, tart juice surrounding a tiny, white, crunchy seed. The pomegranate tree’s bark, leaves, and roots are also rich in therapeutic compounds.

History

The pomegranate tree, Punica granatum, has a long and colorful history. Ancient records indicate they are native to Iran and have been cultivated for centuries throughout the Mediterranean region, including Asia, Africa, Europe, and northern India, where they were used to prevent and treat many diseases and ailments. Numerous cultures have idolized pomegranates for their supposed spiritual and religious significance. For example:

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