Ripe Pomegranates

September 15, 2007

ripe pomegranates

My backyard pomegranates are ripe and many are splitting open.  I ate the first one in celebration of the New Moon.  This year, the seeds are cranberry pink, not dark red, and are very sweet.  Desert pomegranates often ripen while the skins are salmon pink.  By the time the skin turns deep, bright red, the fruit has usually split open and a variety of birds and insects have made off with the seeds.  Unpicked fruits will dry on the tree and are very decorative in winter.

The pomegranate originally grew wild in the dryland forests of Afghanistan, Persia, and north India.  It has long held special status as a medicinal and mythological plant throughout the Mediterranean, where it has been cultivated for longer than almost any other fruit.  The Spanish brought it to the New World and it is still popular in barrio gardens.  I have loved them since I was a small child.  My grandmother had an old tree in her yard in central Virginia.  It had abundant double blossoms and large glossy leaves, but in that climate the plants do not set fruit.  When I moved to Arizona, I was delighted to find “real” pomegranate trees that have delicious fruit and look much like their wild ancestors if they are allowed to grow without pruning, as mine has been.

Although they aren’t native here, our climate and the oak forest are similar to those of their land, and they hold the essence of autumn in the desert.  The fruit tastes strong and alive, like blood would taste if it were made of sunlight on pink earth rather than rust in seawater.


2 Responses to “Ripe Pomegranates”

  1. Karin said

    I’ve uploaded some of my recent art to my blog at

    in case that you want to take a gander at it

  2. Mirielle said

    Thank you so much for your wonderful article. I have a pomegrante tree in my yard and hope to make jelly but was unsure of the time to harvest.
    You have been most helpful.

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