THE POME IN YOUR HAND

Pomegranates are one of the oldest fruits on earth. They grow from the Punica granatum tree, which dates back to about 4000 B.C., hailing from ancient Persia and the western region of the Himalaya mountains. Across cultures, the pomegranate symbolizes the circle of life and in Greek mythology, the change of seasons is traced back to the bright red fruit. One day while Persephone was out picking flowers, she was kidnapped by Hades, god of the underworld, who whisked away to be his wife. Her mother Demeter was distraught. Zeus, her father and god of the sky (and brother to Hades), demanded her return. Persephone did not love Hades and refused to eat, which took its toll. So when Hades offered her a handful of pomegranate seeds, she relented, eating six of them. Hades was a sneaky little devil, because the law of the underworld was that once you eat there, you must stay. Ultimately, Zeus struck a deal with Hades, allowing Persephone to live with her mother for six happy months (spring/ summer) and then with Hades for the other six (fall/ winter). Hey, it could happen!

Today, pomegranates are renowned for their many nutritional benefits. One cup of arils (seeds) has 7 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein, and a whopping 30% of your daily recommended vitamin C, which is welcome news for people who might be sensitive the citric acid of an orange. Traditionally, pomegranates are in-season in the northern hemisphere from September - February (perfect timing for holiday dishes and cocktails) and from March-May in the south, though you can often find them all year round if you look in the right places! Some people eat the arils whole, other just suck the pulp off of them. But almost everyone has wondered, 'How the heck do you open one of these things?' Here's a video to should you how easy (relatively speaking) it is.