The Pomegranite: Jewel of Iran

The pomegranate is the fruit of tree or shrub native to Iran and other parts of the Middle East and Asia and is usually harvested between March and May in the southern hemisphere. It’s also now grown in many parts of the US and in Europe. However there is none better than the Iranian pomegranate which is large and juicy compared to those grown elsewhere. There are over 750 varieties in Iran alone and they come in many different sizes and colours with ‘black’ pomegranates being the most expensive.

In latter years the pomegranate has become renown for its health giving properties and is now known as a ‘super fruit’ in the west.  Pomegranate juice provides around 16% of our daily required vitamin C intake, is high in vitamin B and potassium and eating the arils or seeds of the pomegranate will provide you with a  good source of fibre. The ruby jewel is also thought to be effective in warding off heart disease. Here is a link to a video about some of the many health benefits attributed to the pomegranate.

Pomegranates are at the best when ripe.  A good pomegranate will be heavy with red or dark pink arils and juice and have less pith    ( the white fleshy part).  It’s easy to tell if a pomegranate is ripe through it’s colour which should be red, and it’s feel. Ripe pomegranates are heavy and soft to touch but not too soft. Iranians prefer sweet, thin skinned pomegranates and many will add a little salt and/or pepper to the seeds or arils. Even though it sounds quite weird, it’s actually so delicious you will never want to eat them without again.

There are many ways to open and eat a pomegranate and everyone has their preferred methods. Some like to bite into it and suck the juice out and others prefer to cut it open and scoop out the arils. Some emerse them in water to avoid mess and prevent staining of clothes.

If you happen to come across a good batch of pomegranates buy several. You can open them and store the arils  in the fridge for several days.

Pomegranate juice is delicious and refreshing and can be used in a variety of ways from cocktails to syrup or robe anar . The pomegranate syrup or concenrate is essential in a particular recipes Khoreshte feseenjun and Aash e Anar.  The arils can be used in numerous ways too: sprinkle on salads, add to fruit salads, and many other deserts. The arils are also dried and ground and used in a variety of ways too. This is called Anar  dana and in this powdered form it can be added to soups, khoresht  and  cookies.


2 thoughts on “The Pomegranite: Jewel of Iran

  1. Salaam,

    Of all the dishes I have ever tasted in my life, I believe the Iranian cuisine is the best in the world. I have had the privilege of trying Iranian food several times, because of the politeness and hospitality of Iranian people.
    However, the reason I contact you is not to compliment you, but to ask you a few questions concerning the pomegranate. I learned that the best varieties of pomegranates are from Iran, where the pomegranate has its home.
    A friend from Teheran told me that the provinces of Saveh and Yazd are famous for their pomegranates, but he couldn’t tell me what varieties they grow there.
    In an article I found on the internet I read that the best are Alak, Aroos, Farough and Rabab, but in another list of about sixty Iranian varieties none of these four were mentioned.
    So, what are the best varieties, and where can I obtain these fruits?

    1. Salam John Im afraid I cant help really help you very much. I dont know where you are in the world ? but I know that the secret to the success of anar in Iran is the climate. It would be very difficult to grow anar with the same success any where else. Yes I believe Yazd is the main producer in Iran for anar. Im sorry I do not have any more information to tell you.

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