Michael Ellis: Grenades – KQED

Long considered a fruit with many health benefits, the pomegranate also has its place in ancient mythology. Michael Ellis has that perspective.

Two of the most important women in my life loved and loved pomegranates. My mom loved them and they were hard to come by in East Tennessee in the 60s. And my three-year-old granddaughter is a pomegranate jerk. As the days get shorter, pomegranates appear in the market.

They are such exotic fruits and are unlike anything else. I love pulling apart the white mesh and discovering a ball of bright red lusciousness. They are messy, tart and sweet. Originating from Iran to northern India, they have been cultivated for millennia in the Middle East. Some scholars believe they were the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.

Unsurprisingly, due to the color of the juicy seeds, many cultures associate pomegranates with the feminine. In ancient Rome, young brides wore crowns woven from the leaves and the juice was said to cure infertility. The ancient belief in health benefits comes true. Pomegranates could help fight heart disease and even diabetes.

Those of you of a certain age may remember Edith Hamilton’s classic mythology book. These myths were mind blowing to me and far better stories than the ones I heard at the First Methodist Church.

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