Pomegranate–the key to creation


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Pomegranates are so sensuous. But you should know how good they are for you too. http://www.thesleuthjournal.com/power-pomegranate/

Punica granatum
[PU-ni-kuh gran-AH-tum]

Family: Lythraceae

Names: Carthaginian apple; grenadier, grenade (French); Granatapfel, Granatbaum (German); melagrana, granato (Italian); Scorzo del Melogranato, Cortezade Granada, Granada (fruit), granado (tree) (Spanish); a(r)nar, anardana (seed), dalim (Indian); zakuro (Japanese); mathulam param (Tamil); Rodhiá (Greek)

Description: deciduous shrub or tree growing to 20 feet. Has branches tipped with spines, worls of lance-shaped leaves about 3 inches long, scarlet flowers resembling hibiscus, and leathery-rinded round fruit containing many pulp-covered seeds. Some bushes have thorns. The smooth-skinned, golden to red fruit is about the size of a large apple. The plump red seeds are encased in individual compartments, each surrounded by a creamy colored, bitter membrane and pith. The dried seeds are hard and reddish-brown, angular and elongated, measuring about 1/3 inches in length.

Cultivation: Native to southwestern Asia, pomegranate has become naturalized in Europe. The tree is widely cultivated for its fruit, which is gathered in autumn when it is ripe. The bark is also gathered in autumn. The bush flourishes best in climates that are cool in winter and hot in the summer. In more humid regions it does not fruit well. A deep loam, well drained, is the best soul. The tree flowers in June and the fruit ripens in September. Pomegranate is usually propagated from hardwood cuttings. The seeds are extracted from the peel, pith and membranes, then dried. When dry, they are small and dark-red to black in color and slightly sticky. To dry cut off and discard a slice from the stem end of the fruit. Stand the fruit on a board and make five incisions from top to bottom. Use your fingers to pry open the fruit in wedge-shaped sections and scoop out the seeds, avoiding the bitter membrane. Spread out the seeds on a baking pan or ovenproof dish and dry them in the sun or in a cool oven, until they harden. Use a pestle and mortar to crush the seeds, if necessary. A food processor or electric grinder is not suitable as the seeds are too sticky. The bark of the stem or root is collected from the cultivated plant.

Constituents: The bark and rind contain pelletierene alkaloids, inulin, mannitol, malic acid, calcium oxalate, isoquercitrin, elligatannins (up to 25%) and triterpenoids. The alkaloids are highly toxic.

Properties: astringent, anthelmintic

History: The common name is a corruption of poma granata, Latin for many seeded apple. The botanical name refers not only to its many seeds, but also to the source of the fruit in Roman times: Punicus or Carthage, a Roman colony in North Africa. Persephone, abducted by Hades, God of the underworld, ate a few of the pomegranate seeds he offered her. She was forced to return to him for 4 months a year, leaving us winter in her absence. Some suggest that this “many-seeded apple” was the serpent’s gift to Eve in the Garden of Eden. Anne of Austria, wife to Louis XIII, chose the pomegranate as her personal emblem. It is often mentioned in the Bible, the most references occurring in the Song of Solomon, and it is still used in certain Jewish ceremonies. Muhammed refers to it in the Koran, suggesting that it suppresses envious thoughts. The striking red color and seed arrangement of the pomegranate made it one of the earliest and most important symbols of fertility, and it is an ancient design motif. It is a Turkish custom for a newly-wed bride to cast a pomegranate on the ground, the number of seeds falling out indicating the number of children she will bear.
In 1500 BC, the pharaoh Tuthmosis reputedly brought back pomegranate to Egypt from Asia. Prized as a fruit, it was also sought after as a means to rid the body of worms. This attribute was subsequently forgotten in Europe for nearly 1,800 years. Then in the early 19th century, after an Indian herbalist used pomegranate to cure an Englishman of tapeworms, English doctors in India become interested in its medicinal properties.

Energetics: husk of fruit–bitter, sweet, astringent, neutral; bark, root bark, peel of fruit—sour, astringent, warm, slightly toxic

Meridians/Organs affected: husk of fruit-stomach, colon; bark, root bark, peel of fruit—colon, stomach, kidney

Medicinal: Both the rind and bark of the pomegranate are considered to be specific remedies for tapeworm infestation. The alkaloids present in the rind and bark (pelletierines) cause the worm to release its grip on the intestinal wall. If a decoction of pomegranate rind or bark is immediately followed by a dose of a strong laxative or purgative, the worm will be voided. The rind and bark are also strongly astringent and occasionally have been used to treat diarrhea. In Spain, the juice of pomegranate fruit pulp is taken to comfort an upset stomach and as a remedy to relieve gas and flatulence.
The seeds are used in gargles and they are said to ease fevers and assist in counteracting diarrhea. They are widely used in Indian medicines. The pulp is good for the heart and stomach. The rind and the skin of the fruit are sun-dried, powdered and mixed with honey to cure diarrhea and dysentery. Pomegranate juice is a natural face mask, its astringency and acidity being beneficial for oily skin. The potassium in pomegranate improves blood pressure.

For worms: Make a decoction of 4 oz of bark to 1 pint of water. Take 15ml.

Flower Essence: Pomegranate promotes conscious alignment with the feminine creative Self, so that a woman can see more clearly her right destiny and choices. Pomegranate helps the soul to stay connected to the Mother-Spirit-of-Love in all that it gives to the world.

Toxicity: Pelleteirene alkaloids are highly toxic. Do not use the rind or bark unless under professional supervision.

Ritual Uses: This fruit has long been considered a key to creation. Some believed that fire was created when the pomegranate struck against a bay laurel. Pomegranates are associated with the crone and with Saturn. They form the background on the High Priestess card (in the Rider-Waite deck) and are also associated with the mysteries of the Judgment card. Sacred to Hera as well, she is often shown holding one in her hand. Given as a gift it may bestow abundance and wishes for the fertility of the creative spark. It is brought into ritual, eaten as part of the feast as the participants contemplate some fo the deeper, more profound mysteries. Baskets of pomegranates are used to decorate the temple. The blood-red juice may fill the ritual cup whether one is moving with the Goddess into the Underworld or seeking to learn from the lessons of Saturn.

Protection Spell for the child in the womb that has been exposed to illness. Cut the pomegranate in half. Rub one half over yourself, especially your belly. Envision any ills or pain or damage being drawn into the pomegranate. When you’re finished, bury this half in Earth. Eat every seed of the other half.

Hang boughs of fresh pomegranate over thresholds to ease delivery, and also to prevent the entry of malicious spirits.

Other Uses: The roots and rind go to make tanners’ dye, and jet black ink in India.

Culinary Uses: Fresh pomegranate seeds add their rubylike appearance and their sweet-and-sour flavor to stuffed baked fish, green or fruit salads, and custards. Grenadine, a pomegranate-flavored syrup, is essential behind any truly suave bar. Pomegranate molasses is used extensively in Eastern Mediterranean cooking. With its tart flavor and wonderful aroma, this thick sauce is delicious as a glaze on fish, poultry, or lamb, or when added to salads and pilafs. Crushed seeds are sprinkled on hummus.
The dried seeds and aril, from the bitter eastern pomegranate, constitute the widely used Indian condiment anardana. This can be used as a souring agent in much the same way as tamarind or lemon juice, or it can be finely ground and sprinkled directly on to food to add piquancy. The seeds are an ingredient of parathas and pakoras (savory vegetable fritters). In the West, the seeds may be used to impart an exotic flavor to casseroles and stews and they can be found in recipes from countries as far apart as Russian and Mexico.

Lotus Root Kebab
1 lb canned lotus root drained
2 medium potatoes
4 fl oz lightly salted water
½ tsp ground ginger
2-3 Tbsp chick pea flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
½ tsp chili powder
2-3 green chiles, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp pomegranate seeds, pounded, or a little lemon juice
2 Tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
oil for frying
Cut the lotus root into ½ inch slices. Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Boil the potatoes and lotus root with the water in a pan, until the potatoes are cooked. Ensure that all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from the heat and mash the potato-lotus root mixture. Add the ground ginger, chickpea flour, ground cumin, garam masala, chili powder, green chiles, pomegranate seeds or lemon juice, fresh coriander and mint leaves and mix to a dough. Lightly oil your hands and shape small pieces of the dough into balls or flat patty shapes. Heat the oil in a deep pan until almost smoking and then lower the heat to medium and fry the lotus root kebabs. At first, fry one kebab to make sure that it does not break up in the oil. If this does happen, then add some more chickpea flour to the lotus root mixture. Fry all the kebabs in this manner until crisp and brown. Serve hot with the chutney of your choice. (A Taste of Kashmir)

Grapefruit and Grenadine Sorbet
4 ½ cups pink grapefruit juice
1 cup superfine sugar
2 Tbsp grenadine
cookie cups
fresh mint for garnish
Combine the grapefruit juice, sugar, and grenadine in a bowl; stir to dissolve the sugar. Freeze the mixture in a metal bowl. When the mixture has solidified, break into chunks and place in a food processor; meanwhile, return the empty bowl to the freezer. Process the frozen chunks until the mixture is smooth. Return to the chilled bowl and freeze until set, 30-45 minutes. Serve scoops of the sorbet in cookie cups and garnish with the mint. (The Encyclopedia of Herbs Spices & Flavorings)

Minted Pomegranate Eggplant
4 slender eggplants about ½ pound each
1 cup coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp coarse sea salt
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 Tbsp fresh orange juice
1 tsp ground sumac
1 tsp packed brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
3 Tbsp chopped fresh mint
3 Tbsp fresh pomegranate seeds
Remove the stem from each eggplant. Slice them on the bias into ½-inch-thick elongated ovals. Sprinkle generously with the salt and let stand in a colander for 1 hour. Rinse off the salt and pat dry with paper towels. Combine 1 Tbsp of the olive oil, the pomegranate molasses, orange juice, sumac, brown sugar, and garlic. Mix well and set aside. Preheat the oven to 400F. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices sparingly with the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake, turning once, for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Brush the eggplant slices with half of the pomegranate molasses mixture and bake for 2 minutes. Turn the slices and brush with the remaining pomegranate mixture. Bake for 2 minutes more, or until the eggplant is soft but not mushy. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with mint and pomegranate seeds, and serve. (Adriana’s Spice Caravan)

Chickpea Salad
1 ¼ cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in plenty of water (or you can use 5 oz canned chickpeas)
4 Tbsp onion, chopped finely
4 Tbsp red pepper, chopped finely
4 Tbsp potato, peeled, boiled and cubed
1 tsp pomegranate seeds, coarsely ground
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and sugar
Bring the chickpeas to a boil in plenty of water and simmer until they are soft but not mushy, drain and cool (or drain the canned chickpeas). Mix with all the other ingredients. Serve at room temperature. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Royal Lamb Curry
1 ¼ lbs lean lamb, cubed
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp corn oil
2 onions, chopped finely
1 tsp green chilies, minced
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp black mustard seeds
2 tsp white poppy seeds
2 tsp pomegranate seeds
2 tsp minced ginger
2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/3 cups milk yogurt
4 Tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
Marinate the lamb in the powder spices and salt for 15 minutes. Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the onions. Sauté until golden and add the green chilies. Grind the cumin, mustard and poppy seeds with the pomegranate seeds, ginger and garlic and a little water to make a coarse paste. Stir the onions and the chiles a few times and add the paste. Sauté for a minute and add the lamb. Brown well. Add the yogurt, enough water to make a thick sauce and more salt if needed. Cover and cook over low heat until the meat is tender. Serve hot, sprinkled with coriander. (The Indian Spice Kitchen)

Lamb with Pomegranate Juice
3 Tbsp sunflower oil
3 cardamoms, crushed
3 cloves
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 lb lean lamb, cubed
1 large onions, sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
juice of 2 pomegranates about 1 ¼ cups or 3 Tbsp pomegranate syrup diluted with water
½ tsp ground black cumin
½ tsp ground cinnamon
12/ tsp ground mace
1/3 cup plain yogurt
chopped mint leaves
Heat the oil in a heavy pan and fry the whole spices briefly to bring out their flavor, shaking and stirring them so they do not burn. Discard the spices, add the meat, tossing and stirring to brown it on all sides. Continue cooking until the meat re-absorbs its juices. Ad the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until the onion colors. Stir in the pomegranate juice, a little at a time, waiting until each addition is absorbed by the meat before adding more. There should be very little liquid left, except the oil. Stir in the ground spices and salt to taste, then fry briefly. Add the yogurt. Cover the pan tightly, put it on a heat diffuser and cook very slowly for 30-40 minutes until the lamb is tender. Check one or twice that the meat is not sticking, and add a little more yogurt or water if necessary. Garnish with chopped mint leaves and serve with rice. (Cooking with Spices)

Olive, Pomegranate and Walnut Salad
2 large pomegranates
1 cup green olives, stoned and chopped
bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
6-8 scallions, chopped
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
pinch of red pepper
Cut open the pomegranates and extract the seeds. Combine with the olives, coriander, scallions and walnuts. Make a piquant dressing with the remaining ingredients. Pour over the salad, toss and serve. (Cooking with Spices)

Pomegranate Liqueur
3-4 fresh pomegranates
2 cups sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 Tbsp fresh-0squuezed lemon juice
2 cups 100-proof vodka
1 cup white zinfandel
Peel pomegranates and scrape the flesh-covered seeds into bowl, removing the bits of membrane that separate the seed clusters. Add sugar and crush fruit with wooden spoon. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Add orange zest and lemon juice and let stand for 30 minutes more. Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain out solids. Discard. If necessary, add a little water to the mixture to make 1 cup. Transfer juice to clean 1 quart, wide-mouthed jar with tight-fitting lid. Add vodka and wine. Cover and let stand in a cool, dark place for 1 month. Rack or filter into final container such as wine bottle, fruit jar or decanter. (Cordials from your Kitchen)

4 oz chick pea flour
¼ tsp chile, ground
½ tsp cumin, ground
½ tsp turmeric, ground
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pomegranate seeds, crushed
selection of vegetables such as cauliflower, eggplant, peppers, cut into bite-sized pieces
oil for deep frying
Sift flour with chile, cumin, turmeric and salt. Add water gradually to make a fairly stiff batter. Now stir in the pomegranate and rest the mixture for ½ hour. Dip the vegetable pieces in the batter and deep fry a few at a time for 5-10 minutes until light golden. Remove. When all are fried, raise temperature of oil and return pakoras to the pan for about half a minute until golden brown and crisp. Drain and serve immediately. (Cooking with Spices)

Fruit Ratafia
½ lb dried figs
6 pomegranates, juiced
1 quart distilled spirits (your choice)
6 ripe peaches, pitted
1 cup sugar (or more to taste)
Divide the ingredients in equal proportions between 2 1 quart jars. Make sure that peaches and figs are pierced first (use a fork or toothpick). Cover securely, shake daily for 1 month; strain and bottle for later use. Ratafia comes from a tradition of the Middle Ages where parties accepting any legal transaction or agreement would share a drink to celebrate its “ratifications.” (A Witch’s Brew)

Winter Jewel Salad
1 pomegranate
2 persimmons, ripe but slightly firm
1 lb lamb loin
1 quart winter greens, such as mesclun or arugula
Cranberry Vinaigrette
Whole cranberries for garnish
Cut the pomegranate in half, remove the seeds, and set it aside. Peel the persimmons, slice them into ¼ inch thick rounds, and set them aside. Grill or broil the lamb loin until it is medium rare, about 5 or 6 minutes on each side. Let it rest for 5 minutes. While the lamb is resting, toss the greens with just enough cranberry vinaigrette to coat the leaves lightly. Arrange the greens off-center on individual serving plates. Place 2 or 3 slices of persimmon on the greens. Cut the lamb loin into thin slices and arrange them fanned out next to the greens. Spoon a small quantity of the vinaigrette over the persimmons and over the lamb. Sprinkle 2 or 3 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds over each salad, garnish with a few whole cranberries, and serve immediately. (The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar)

Ash-e Anar (Soup)
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced
6 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup yellow split peas
2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper
1 tablespoon ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
¼ teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 pound lean ground lamb
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
¼ cup finely minced onion
¼ cup freshly minced fresh herbs–a mixture
of cilantro, mint, and parsley
1 cup basmati rice
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
1/4-1/2 cup heavy cream–optional
3 cups fresh pomegranate seeds
1 cup mixed fresh herbs, minced–use at least
two of the following: chives, cilantro, mint and parsley
salt, to taste
Heat olive oil in the bottom of a heavy stockpot, and sauté onions until they turn golden brown. Add garlic, and continue stirring and cooking until the onions are well browned, the garlic is golden, and everything is fragrant. Add the split peas, and continue cooking until the peas take on a bit of color, about a minute or so longer. Add the stock and the spices, and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the peas are tender. Mix together the lamb, minced garlic, onion and herbs until well blended, and form into walnut sized balls. Drop the meatballs and rice into the soup, and add the pomegranate molasses, and sugar or honey. Cook until the rice, split peas and meatballs are cooked. Stir in the optional cream if you are using it, along with the fresh pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs. Add salt to taste, and if needed, correct seasoning. Fish out cinnamon stick before serving.

Cauliflower and Pomegranate Salad
1 ripe avocado
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 medium cauliflower broken into small florets
seeds from 2 pomegranates
2 ox walnuts, chopped
First make the dressing. Halve the avocado, discard the stone and scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl, liquidizer or food processor. Add the oil, vinegar and sugar and mash or puree until smooth. Mix with the cauliflower and pomegranate seeds, stirring well to coat. Cover and chill for no more than half an hour. Serve sprinkled with walnuts, if liked. (The Hot and Spicy Cookbook)

Pomegranate-Star Anise Delight
In saucepan over medium heat, bring 1 ¼ cuops white grape juice, ¾ cup pomegranate juice, 4 small round apple slices, 1 cinnamon stick and 2 whole star anise to a simmer. Remove from heat. Cover and let steep 5 minutes. Strain, if desired. Serve warm. 2 servings
Adriana’s Spice Caravan, Adriana and Rochelle Zabarkes, Storey, 1997; ISBN: 0-88266-987-7
A Compendium of Herbal Magick, Paul Beyerl, Phoenix Publishing, 1998, ISBN: 0-919345-45-X
The Complete Book of Spices, Jill Norman, Viking, 1990; ISBN: 0-670-83437-8
The Cooking with Spices, Carolyn Heal & Michael Allsop, David & Charles, 1983
Cordials from Your Kitchen, Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling, Storey, 1997; ISBN: 0-88266-986-9
The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells, Judika Illes, Harper Collins, 2004
The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices, Hermes House, 1997; ISBN: 1-901289-06-0
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Andrew Chevallier, Dorling Kindersley, 1997; ISBN: 0-7894-1067-2
The Encyclopedia of Herbs Spices & Flavorings, Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, Dorling Kindersley, 1992; ISBN: 1-56458-065-2
Flower Essence Repertory, Patricia Kaminiski and Richard Katz, Flower Essence Society, 1996; ISBN: 0-9631306-1-7
The Good Cook’s Book of Oil & Vinegar, Michele Anna Jordan, Aris Books; 1992; ISBN: 0-201-57075-0
The Hot and Spicy Cookbook, Sophie Hale, Quintet Publishing, 1987; ISBN: 1-55521-060-0
The Indian Spice Kitchen, Monisha Bharadwaj, Dutton, 1997; ISBN: 0-525-94343-9
A Taste of Kashmir, Geeta Samtani, Merehurst, 1995; ISBN: 1-85391-474-6
A Witch’s Brew, Patricia Telesco, Llewellyn, 1995; ISBN: 1-56718-708-0

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