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The Magic of Pomegranates

By December 14, 2016June 3rd, 2024Nutrition Information

winter-sceneEven though the days of December are getting darker and darker, we look forward to the arrival of the solstice, the “turning of the sun”  and the days slowly getting longer.

This is the season to celebrate.

Celebrations of the lighter days to come and nature’s continuing cycle have been common throughout cultures and history with feasts, festivals and holidays.  We celebrate food, happiness in the bright colors of decorations, traditional holiday meals and sweet desserts.

We are grateful to eat the family dishes that have been passed down through generations. Many of them we upgrade to support our current lifestyle.  It is a fun time. It’s a time to celebrate life.

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate”
Oprah Winfrey

avery-christmasA Few Things I Am Celebrating

**  I celebrate the birth of my first grandson, a wonderful addition to our family.

** I celebrate you and how wonderful it is to travel together on this journey discovering the needs of our body and soul.

** I celebrate my healthy body feeling strong and agile.

** I celebrate remaining radiant even as I get older.

** I celebrate 5 years of running the Nourishing Foods Cleanse.  Hundreds of people have experienced lasting transformations in their body, mind and spirit.

pomegranate-pixOver the last few years I have become enchanted with pomegranates. It has juicy, ruby-red pulp and a refreshing taste that is both sweet and tart. Its bold flavors and rich color make it a great addition to salads, vegetables, chicken or candies

I think it is one of the most fun fruits on the market.

Its fruit is filled with seeds, not just five or six or even ten or twenty, but 600-800 seeds.

Because of this abundance of seeds the pomegranate is considered
a symbol of abundance, fertility and magic.

The name pomegranate is derived from Latin and literally means “seeded apple”. The juicy seeds are known as arils and are encapsulated in pith. Both seeds and pith are edible but we generally break open the pomegranate and let the red liquid seeds spill out to eat. Many early civilizations thought they were bleeding and linked it with the transformation of life during birth and death.   Since it is a fruit that spills over in plentitude and good luck it is customary to adorn the holiday table with pomegranates. They are set out in honor of the fertile land and its bounty.

Pomegranates have been used for their culinary and medicinal properties since about 3000 B.C. It is packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants, Pomegranate fruit is low in calories, high in fiber, high in vitamins and high in phytochemicals that protects against heart disease and helps to prevent cancer.

Folk Lore and Legend

The pomegranate is a symbol in the legend and lore of many different cultures.

The most popular myth around pomegranates comes from Greek Mythology.

persephone-in-the-underworldThe beautiful maiden Persephone was desired by Hades who decided that she would be his wife and companion in the dark world of the dead. He kidnapped her and brought her to live with him for eternity in the underworld. Persephone’s mother, Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, was so distraught that she caused every plant on Earth to die. To avoid a catastrophic loss of all life, Zeus commanded Hades to allow Persephone to return to her home. However, before she was able return, Hades tricked her into eating four seeds from the pomegranate, an action that condemned her to life in the underworld for four months out of every year. Believers associated this with our yearly cycle of winter.

Ancient Arab women used the seeds of the pomegranate to predict their own fertility. The pomegranate would be dropped in the center of a circle drawn on the ground. As it broke open, the number of seeds that landed outside of the circle was indicative of the number of children the woman would have.

In Goddess Worship because the pomegranate is capable of breaking open and spilling forth red liquid, it is, in a sense, able to bleed.  The “blood” of the pomegranate was much like the life-affirming menses of maidens. Therefore symbolizing fertility.

In Buddhist legends, a demon-woman was cured of her love of eating children through the deep red juices of the pomegranate.

Mohammed believed pomegranates purged the spirits of envy and hatred from the body and urged all his followers to eat goodly amounts.

How to Open Pomegranates

With deep red to pinkish leathery skin, the apple-shaped pomegranate may look difficult to open but it’s not. The under water method is a good way to do it.


  • Score the vertical ridges on the outside with a paring knife,
  • Break open the pomegranate in a large bowl of water.
  • Loosen the sections and free the seeds from the white membrane with your fingers.
  • Be careful not to splatter your clothes.
  • The membranes will float to the top and seeds will sink
  • Drain off the membranes and then pour the seeds into a strainer.

pomegranates-in-marketBuying and Storing Pomegranates

At this time of year pomegranates are available in most supermarkets and natural food stores. When purchasing a pomegranate pick the heaviest one. The heavier it is the more juice it contains. Look for an angular shape and firm skin.

Store for one week on the kitchen counter or up to several weeks in the refrigerator. Fresh arils will last a week in the refrigerator, and you can freeze them but they will get a little mushy.

Here are a few recipes with pomegranates

Add pomegranate seeds to salads, vegetables, chicken dishes and desserts.  Enjoy them while they are in season, they will soon be gone.

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