The pomegranate is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub in the family Lythraceae, subfamily Punicoideae, that grows between 5 and 10 m tall. The pomegranate originated in the region extending from Iran to northern India, and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region. The fruit is typically in season in the Northern Hemisphere from October to February, and in the Southern Hemisphere from March to May. As intact sarcotestas or juice, pomegranates are used in baking, cooking, juice blends, meal garnishes, smoothies, and alcoholic beverages, such as cocktails and wine.
The skin of the pomegranate is thick and inedible, but there are hundreds of edible seeds within. Each seed is surrounded by a red, juicy and sweet seed covering known as an aril. The seeds and arils are the edible parts of the fruit — eaten either raw or processed into pomegranate juice — but the peel is discarded.
I grew up eating pomegranate, especially during this time of the year. As a child we used to take the fruit and roll it around on a hard surface until the it felt mushy and soft to the touch. Then we would take a small bite to create a hole in order to suck the juices out of the fruit.
If you were talented enough you would be able deflate the fruit and squeeze it dry, all along sucking the juices out.
Every year when the fruit comes into season, I buy a few. But now instead of rolling it around and trying to squeeze it to get the juice out of the arils, I cut the fruit in half.
I scoop out the arils and discard all the membrane that holds these juicy pearls in place and eat the arils out of a bowl.
Mind you this is a very messy fruit and the juice can stain badly.
In all these years I have never had a bad pomegranate. They have always been juicy, sweet, and delicious.
Until this week.
I bought three pomegranates from our local grocery store.
Naturally, they had to sit through a photo shoot first before being devoured.
I cut the first two open and scraped the arils out and placed in a bowl.
I cut the third one open and lo and behold, something I have never experienced before.
The fruit was moldy from the inside.
I wonder what it would have tasted like had I decided to enjoy the fruit by just sucking the juice.
I hope my sister does not get annoyed with me for posting these photos. She still takes a lot of pleasure from squeezing and sucking the juice out of a fresh pomegranate.