Here are 22 facts about pomegranates:
The pomegranate is native to Iran, Saudi Arabia, Northern India, Bengal, and Southern Asia and is cultivated widely throughout the Middle East, India, southeast Asia, and parts of Africa.
There are over 760 varieties of pomegranate.
Pomegranate remains dating back to 1000 BC have been found in Transcaucasia.
Ancient Egyptians were often buried with pomegranates. A large, dry pomegranate was found in the tomb of Djehuty, the butler of Egypt’s Queen Hatshepsut.
The city of Granada, Spain is named after the Spanish word for pomegranate, “granada.” The city’s heraldic device is the pomegranate.
In early English, the pomegranate was called the “apple of Grenada.”
Pomegranates are mentioned numerous times in the Bible. Exodus 28:33-34 says that images of pomegranates should be woven onto the hem of the robe worn by the Hebrew High Priest.
Jewish tradition teaches that the pomegranate is a symbol of righteousness because its 613 seeds correspond with the 613 commandments of the Torah. However, the number of seeds in a pomegranate varies.
Pomegranate is one of the Seven Spices (shivat haminim), seven fruits and grains named in the Hebrew Bible as being native to Israel.
Many scholars believe it was a pomegranate rather than an apple that tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
In the Qur’an, pomegranates are named as one of the fruits that will grow in the gardens of paradise.
In Hinduism, the pomegranate symbolizes prosperity and fertility.
The English word “pomegranate” comes from the Latin words for apple (“pomum”) (apple) and seeded (“granatus”).
The pomegranate was an emblem in the coat of arms of Catherine of Aragon, Henry the VIII’s first wife. When Anne Boleyn took her place as Henry’s wife, she changed to emblem to an image of a white dove pecking at a pomegranate.
The pomegranate was introduced to California by Spanish settlers in 1769.
Thomas Jefferson planted pomegranates at Monticello in 1771.
In Greek mythology, Persephone is condemned to spend every winter in the underworld after the god Hades tricks her into eating pomegranate seeds.
In Greece, a traditional housewarming gift is a pomegranate placed under or near the ikonostasi (home altar) of the house in order to bring good luck, fertility, and abundance.
In Greece it is traditional to break pomegranates on the ground at weddings and on New Year’s.
In Japan, the pomegranate plant is often used for bonsai because of the interesting twisted bark some pomegranate plants can attain.
Every October, the Pomegranate Festival is held in Goychay, Azerbaijan. The festival features pomegranate cuisine, dancing, and music.
Pomegranate season is from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere. This has earned it the nickname “The Jewel of Winter.”