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Journal of the American Pomological Society
(J Am Pom Soc)

American Pomological Society

Volume 70 Number 4 Article 3 Pages: 187-193
Year 2016 Month 10
Title: Pomegranate: The Grainy Apple
Authors: John E. Preece and Jeff Moersfelder

The pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) is an ancient fruit crop that offers a wide variety of choices for the consumer. Fruit range in color from light yellow to deep maroon to black, from very sweet to lemon-like tartness, and seed hardness can be along the spectrum from very soft (called seedless) to very hard. Hard seeds can be either crunchy or chewy and difficult to bite through. Pomegranates are consumed fresh as arils; processed as juice, candy, confections, or nutraceuticals; fermented into a sweet to semi-dry wine; used as grenadine to flavor cocktails; and dried seeds with attached pulp (anardana) are utilized as a souring agent in Indian cooking, and roasted seeds add aroma and flavor to Middle Eastern dishes. Currently the market in the USA is dominated by ‘Wonderful’ pomegranate; however, there is a variety of alternative cultivars that may have greater consumer acceptance as a fresh product, such as ‘Parfianka’ pictured on the cover of this issue and described below.

Pomegranate originates from Iran and Afghanistan (Levin, 2006) and the surrounding areas of the near east, including Turkmenistan and northern India (Holland et al., 2009). Cultivation began in Iran (Kahramanoglu and Usanmaz, 2016), or the Transcaucasia-Caspian region (Still, 2006) sometime in the Neolithic era (9000 BCE to 3000 BCE, Levin, 2006, Holland et al., 2009). It was 3,000 to 7,000 years from the beginning of the Neolithic transition to agriculture when pomegranate was introduced to new regions (Levin, 2006). For example, more than 5,000 years ago, pomegranates had been moved to and were being grown as far away as the Middle East, demonstrating widespread adoption.

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