Pomegranates: How Healthy You Really Are

Whoever manages to master the pithy fruit can taste its exotic aroma. How to chop pomegranate, what's in it and what's to the potential health effects

Pomegranate: Be careful, you can hardly get juice stains out of clothing

© Shotshop / Monica Photo

Ingredients: Less vitamin C than many think

The blood-red fruit contains antioxidants such as polyphenols, which are considered free radical scavengers. Pomegranate juice is said to have more antioxidants than red wine or blueberry juice. The pomegranate is said to have a helpful effect on cardiovascular diseases, chronic inflammatory processes or prostate cancer. However, there is no clear scientific evidence sufficient for recommendations. The exotic fruit is always healthy. Pomegranates contain potassium, which is important for muscles, heart and nerves. Trace elements such as iron are also part of the ingredients, as well as B vitamins. The vitamin C content is lower than often assumed. The daily requirement of vitamin C for an adult woman is 95 milligrams. A large glass of freshly squeezed orange juice covers that, because 100 grams of orange contain around 45 milligrams of vitamin C. Pomegranate contains just seven milligrams per 100 grams.

Pomegranate, for example consumed as a juice, can affect the way some medicines work. So speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking any medication!

Origin of the pomegranate: the heavenly fruit

It is not possible to say exactly where the fruit came from. It is assumed that their original homeland is to be found in West to Central Asia. The pomegranate is already mentioned in the Bible. The symbolic fruit is said to have 613 seeds, as many as there are laws in the Old Testament. The pomegranate also played a role again and again in Greek mythology and in the Christian Middle Ages: as a food of the gods or as a symbol of power and ruler's virtues on coats of arms and paintings. Today the fruit is also cultivated in the Mediterranean area.

Botany: refined inner workings

The pomegranate tree (Punica granatum) belongs to the loosestrife family. Its lanceolate leaves are evergreen. The fruit itself is the size of an apple and, depending on its origin, green-yellow to red. It is counted among the berries in the broadest sense. The interior of the pomegranate is divided into chambers by walls, the so-called fruit hollows.

Pomegranate season: From autumn to after Christmas

The main pomegranate season runs from September to January.

Storage of pomegranates: they stay fresh for a long time

The pomegranate does not ripen once it has been harvested. A yellowish-red to deep red skin or, in the case of yellow varieties, an evenly yellow one, shows that the fruit is ripe. You can store the pomegranate in the refrigerator for about two to four weeks if it is intact.

Tips for preparation

Be careful with the red juice! The stains can hardly be washed off the clothing. A kitchen apron, plus disposable gloves from the pharmacy, and the risk of red spots is at least reduced.

To get to the inside, the pomegranate is cut in half. The seeds of the fruit of the gods can then be released with the spoon. Some connoisseurs recommend rolling the closed fruit back and forth so that the stones fall out more easily after opening. Or you can cut the fruit in half, place it on a kitchen board and knock out the seeds with a wooden spoon. Important: Thoroughly remove the white fruit skins. Or you can break the pomegranate in a bowl of water. As the seeds settle to the bottom, the shell floats on top. Remove the stalk beforehand. The seeds are often used as a decoration for desserts. Because of their sweetish-sour taste, they also go well with game dishes. Pomegranate juice can also be bought, and pomegranate syrup (grenadine) is sometimes found in cocktails.

To the overview page of the fruit and vegetable dictionary

Nutritional table: pomegranate (per 100 grams)

energy

kcal

78

fat

total (g)

1

carbohydrates

total (g)

16

Minerals (mg)

Potassium (K)

220

Calcium (Ca)

8

Magnesium (Mg)

3

Phosphate (P)

15

Iron (Fe)

0,5

Zinc (Zn)

0,3

Vitamins

Beta carotene (

µg)

40

Vitamin E (mg)

0,2

Vitamin B1 (mg)

0,05

Vitamin B2 (mg)

0,02

Vitamin B6 (mg)

0,10

Folic acid

(

µg)

7

Vitamin C (mg)

7

Heseker H, Heseker B: The nutritional table, 5th updated edition, Neustadt an der Weinstrasse Neuer Umschau Buchverlag 2018/2019