Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking
if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.
‘Tis the Season to Enjoy Exotic Fruit
Here in Canada, where winters are cold and “all green things cease to grow”, the holiday season has always been a time to enjoy imported exotic fruits. When I was a child, the big treat in December was mandarin oranges from Japan. While I still look forward to having a fresh mandarin (or my new favourite, the satsuma orange), I also look forward to a new exotic fruit which has become readily available over the last ten years: fresh pomegranates.
The pomegranate originated in Persia (in the region of modern-day Iran) and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean. It was introduced into California by Spanish settlers in 1769 and is now grown in both Arizona and California, something for which I am truly grateful, as we now have a reliable supply of pomegranates right here in North America.
I think pomegranates are the epitome of exotic fruits. And, oh, they are so beautiful to behold. How about those bright red jewels inside? To me, they look like little ruby gemstones. They are a perfect balance of sweet and tart and juicy and they taste like, well… like a pomegranate. There is nothing else that tastes quite like a pomegranate.
My favourite way to eat a pomegranate is to enjoy a bowlful of the beautiful red jewel-like seeds. I like the little bit of crunch the seeds have, but if you aren’t into eating the crunchy part, you can juice them (a rather less elegant solution is to simply pop a handful of the seeds into your mouth and spit out the pulp once you’ve savoured the delicious juice).
Besides tasting delicious, these beautiful red orbs look stunning displayed in a large bowl. They make a great centerpiece for a festive table.
Just Six Little Seeds
According to Greek mythology, we can lay the blame for our planet’s winter season directly on six little pomegranate seeds:
“The myth of Persephone, the goddess of the underworld, prominently features the pomegranate. In one version of Greek mythology, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and taken off to live in the underworld as his wife. Her mother, Demeter (goddess of the Harvest), went into mourning for her lost daughter, thus all green things ceased to grow. Zeus, the highest-ranking of the Greek gods, could not allow the Earth to die, so he commanded Hades to return Persephone. It was the rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed food or drink in the underworld was doomed to spend eternity there. Persephone had no food, but Hades tricked her into eating six pomegranate seeds while she was still his prisoner, so she was condemned to spend six months in the underworld every year. During these six months, while Persephone sits on the throne of the underworld beside her husband Hades, her mother Demeter mourns and no longer gives fertility to the earth. This was an ancient Greek explanation for the seasons.”
Thank God she didn’t eat eight seeds!
I love having four seasons, so I guess I can thank the pomegranate. If you’ve never enjoyed one of these beautiful, luscious, exotic fruits, I urge you to try one this December. If you do, you’ll likely be heading out to buy more! I buy them by the case!
All photography by madlyinlovewithlife; © 2011 – 2015 madlyinlovewithlife