Growers of premium quality Australian Pomegranates
The history of Pomegranates
This ancient fruit may be one of the oldest in the world yet its secrets are only now being unlocked.
Here are some fun facts about the history of pomegranates:
- There is some speculation that it was pomegranates, not apples, that grew in the Garden of Eden! This suggests Eve may have been tempted by a pomegranate not an apple!
- Although there is some confusion, most researchers believe the pomegranate originated in Iran and the Himalayas in Northern India. Some believe it was Persia.
- It was first cultivated thousands of years before Christ.
- The Old Testament mentions pomegranates numerous times.
- According to Jewish custom, pomegranates contain 613 seeds, one for each commandment given to Israel in the Old Testament.
- They were introduced to ancient Egypt from Syria and quickly became a popular food especially in the homes of pharaohs.
- The Egyptians made red dye from crushing the pomegranate flower and dyed leather from the peel. They also used the juice as a medicine for intestinal worms.
- King Tut, the famous Egyptian pharaoh, believed pomegranates symbolised hopes of a second life. There are conflicting reports that when he died, King Tut had either pomegranates or a pomegranate vase buried alongside him to take into the afterlife.
- At around 500BC, it is believed that Buddha had been presented with many extravagant gifts by his rich disciples. Another disciple travelled many miles to visit Buddha. It was a poor, old woman who simply gave him one small pomegranate. Buddha considered this to be the greatest present of all so he rang the bell of honour in the name of his loyal disciple.
- Pomegranates are considered one of the three blessed fruits in Buddhism.
- When Persia invaded Greece in 480BC, their army had pomegranates on the ends of their spears instead of spikes because pomegranates are considered a symbol of strength.
- The fruit figures prominently in Greek myths.
- An old Chinese custom was to give pomegranates as a wedding present with the wish, “May you have as many children as there are seeds”. (Maybe that’s why China had to cut down to 1 child per family. If the wish came true and with over 600 seeds in a pomegranate, that was a lot of babies born in ancient China!)
- In ancient Japan, some believed pomegranates kept evil spirits away.
- The first pomegranate in England is believed to have been planted by King Henry VIII in the 1500s. The fruit featured prominently during the celebration of his wedding to Catherine of Aragon and her coronation.
- The French named a military grenade after pomegranates because like the fruit, the grenade exploded when it hit something.
- Pomegranates are revered in the Hindu and Islamic faiths.
- They were valued in many ancient cultures where they symbolised fertility and prosperity.
- Sometimes they are referred to as the ‘Sacred Tree’.
- The first sherbet was believed to have been made by mixing pomegranate juice with snow.
- Grenadine is a non-alcoholic syrup made in France from pomegranates. It is characterised by its deep red colour and sweet and tart flavour.
- We grow the variety known as ‘Wonderful’ at Riverland Pomegranates. It was given its name by an American farmer in the late 1800s. After propagating cuttings he had brought to California, he realised they were juicier and sweeter than other varieties so he named them ‘Wonderful’.
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