Pomegranates are not only rich in vitamin C, iron, and phenols, but also stand out for on account of their many health benefits, which have been shown in a number of medical studies. The red pomegranate seeds can be eaten raw, but you should be careful when you are peeling them because the juice can leave stubborn stains.
From Wikipedia: “The pomegranate, botanical name Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree in the family Lythraceae that grows between 5 and 8 m (16 and 26 ft) tall.”
Origin and cultivation:
“The pomegranate originated in the region of modern-day Iran, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region and northern India. ... Today, it is widely cultivated throughout the Middle East and Caucasus region, north and tropical Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Central Asia, the drier parts of southeast Asia, and parts of the Mediterranean Basin. It is also cultivated in parts of Arizona and California. In recent years, it has become more common in the commercial markets of Europe and the Western Hemisphere.”
“A 100-g serving of pomegranate seeds provides 12% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C, 16% DV for vitamin K and 10% DV for folate. Pomegranate seeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber (20% DV) which is entirely contained in the edible seeds. People who choose to discard the seeds forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seed fiber and micronutrients.”
“Pomegranate seeds are used as a spice known as anardana (from Persian: anar + dana, pomegranate + seed), most notably in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Dried whole seeds can often be obtained in ethnic Indian subcontinent markets. These seeds are separated from the flesh, dried for 10–15 days, and used as an acidic agent for chutney and curry preparation. Ground anardana is also used, which results in a deeper flavoring in dishes and prevents the seeds from getting stuck in teeth. Seeds of the wild pomegranate variety known as daru from the Himalayas are regarded as quality sources for this spice.”
“Pomegranate is also made into a liquer, and as a popular fruit confectionery used as ice crean topping, mixed with yogurt, or spread as jam on toast. In Cyprus and Greece, and among the Greek Orthodox Diaspora ρόδι (Greek for pomegranate) is used to make koliva, a mixture of wheat, pomegranate seeds, sugar, almonds, and other seeds served at memorial services.”
How to remove seeds:
“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.”
Juice: “The most abundant phytochemicals in pomegranate juice are polyphenols, including the hydrolyzable tannins alled ellagitannins formed when ellagic acid and/or gallic acid binds with a carbohydrate to form pomegranate ellagitannins, also known as punicalagins.
The red color of juice can be attributed to anthocyanins such as delphinidin, cyanidin, and pelargonidin glycosides. Generally, an increase in juice pigmentation occurs during fruit ripening.
The phenolic content of pomegranate juice is adversely affected by processing and pasteurization techniques.”
Peel: “Compared to the pulp, the inedible pomegranate peel contains as much as three times the total amount of polyphenols, including condensed tannins,catechins, gallocatechins and prodelphinidins.
The higher phenolic content of the peel yields extracts for use in dietary supplements and food preservatives.”
“In the Indian subcontinent's ancient Ayurveda system of traditional medicine the pomegranate is frequently described as an ingredient in remedies.”
“Ancient Egyptians regarded the pomegranate as a symbol of prosperity and ambition. According to the Ebers Papyrus, one of the oldest medical writings from around 1500 BC, Egyptians used the pomegranate for treatment of tapeworm and other infections.”
“The French term for pomegranate, grenade, has given its name to the military grenade.”