Eternal Seeds of Goodness
With its rich colour and taste, not to mention its benefits, the pomegranate truly ranks as a genuine gem of a fruit. The jewel-like seed and sweet-tart juice of this enduring fruit can make all sweet and savoury dishes sparkle and shine.
Words: Chusri Ngamprasert Photo: Kay Choomongkol
Sprinkle the red pomegranate seeds for bursts of flavours to add depth to salads and braised meats, while juice or punch drinks, cocktails and recipes become glamorous and graceful.
For thousands of years, the pomegranate fruit has been used for its medicinal properties while recent studies show that its antioxidant properties may help with cancer prevention, immune support and fertility. Packed with vitamins A, C, B and potent molecules like punicalagis, punicic acid plus minerals such as calcium, potassium and iron; pomegranate seeds possess antioxidant properties three times higher than that of red wine and green tea.
Native to Iran right up to the Himalayas of northern India, the pomegranate tree has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the then Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe. A whole pomegranate can be kept for up to three weeks, so it was an excellent choice for desert caravans in the olden days to bring for its thirst-quenching juice.
Much-loved, the pomegranate features in Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, the Old Testament in the Bible and in the Babylonian Talmud.
In China, the pomegranate plays a prominent role, widely painted in ceramic art symbolising fertility and the hope for numerous and virtuous offspring. The twig of the pomegranate tree is believed to ward off evil. In Thailand, the pomegranate is aptly called “Thabthim,” which means ruby with its jewel-like seeds and beautifully dark red.
Various types of pomegranate trees and their edible seeds get cultivated around the world. Popular Thai varieties include Si Panya (deep-red, and sweet, with a soft seed), Daeng Chao Phraya (blood-red, sweet, with a soft seed) and Phila Khao (a white pulp, sweet, with a harder seed).
Eat it raw or juiced, for pomegranate seeds taste as divine as its history and super in their nutrient offerings.