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Entries in pomegranates Israel (1)


Is The Pomegranate Noninvasive, Nondrug Medicine? tasted my first pomegranate in the autumn of my seventh birthday. My mother served it because it was a reminder of her childhood; her culinary heritage included food from Balkan, Mediterranean and Asian countries. She also understood how to prepare an eggplant, which my father’s relatives, who came from Eastern Europe, had never seen. She served halva, and knew how to make a sticky candy by boiling poppy seeds with honey, a not so enticing delight that clung to the roof of my mouth. I never enjoyed the pomegranate. It was too tart and used up to much mouth energy to be eaten I felt that any fruit that required my tongue to navigate around so many juicy piths, even if they were digestible, was not worth the effort.

When I married, I was spared the chore of eating pomegranates. My wife didn’t buy them because her mother had never done so. Her family believed they were wasteful since more of the fruit was discarded than was eaten. Recently, my granddaughters came to visit and I thought that I would share with them my childhood experiences of trying to eat this fruit. It was a disaster. The kids disliked the taste, and the juice accidentally squirted onto my clothes, permanently staining a favorite T shirt. I did not know that, in ancient times, pomegranates were used to dye textiles.

A few years ago, research into the heath benefits of this fruit was funded by a California pomegranate grower. The findings were so fascinating that Israeli scientists joined in. Their incentive was the fact that Israeli farmers grow pomegranates as successfully as Americans grow corn. The data accumulated to date suggests that pomegranate juice contains higher levels of antioxidants [polyphenols] than red wine, green tea or blueberries. It contains very high levels of folic acid and flavenoides, as well as 40 % of an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin C. It is also a rich source of vitamins A and E, as well as minerals such as calcium and iron.  Consequently, pomegranates may possibly have excellent anti-aging properties that benefit the skin, the heart and the circulatory system. If all of the research findings will be deemed acceptable to the medical community, we will eventually understand how pomegranate juice can:-

  • prevent bad cholesterol from oxidizing, helping to prevent clogging of arteries, [atherosclerosis]
  • Prevent heart disease [folic acid in the juice may lower the levels of homeocystein in the blood]
  • be used as a blood thinner to help prevent clots
  • improve the amount of oxygen getting to the arteries of patients with coronary heart disease
  • help alleviate erectile dysfunction
  • help reduce the risk of breast cancer, prostate cancer and skin cancer
  • help arthritic patients by reducing inflammation.

Since the above information was publicized, the demand for the fruit has increased significantly. Supermarkets now sell pomegranates all year round, and stock its juice in pure and blended consistencies. Pomegranate wines were introduced a few years ago and they are slowly gaining popularity as dessert wine, rose, dry wine, and port.

On my visit to Israel, this past August, I was astounded how abundant pomegranates are. Farmers dedicate seemingly endless groves to growing them.

They are displayed by street vendors with the same ubiquitousness that apples are sold in North America and juice kiosks custom-squeeze them for quick refreshment.




 pomegranate can stay in the refrigerator for up to 6 months. Some nutritionist recommend that we store a large quantity there in order to prepare fresh juice every morning, because, supposedly, it only takes half a glass of this beverage to deliver all of its touted benefits. We are still waiting for doctors to corroborate that advice. It would be interesting to know if bottled pomegranate juice has the same medicinal properties as freshly squeezed. Although it is a culinary delight, making juice every morning is not a chore that many care to undertake.

While the pomegranate is also grown in California, historically, it has been an integral part of Middle Eastern culture. It is mentioned about forty times in the Holy Scriptures; its motif decorated the capitals of two columns in Solomon’s Temple as well as the robes of the Temple priests.

Silver Shekel from first jewish revolt against Rome 1st century CE Collection The Israel Museum, Jerusalem The inscription reads: "Jerusalem the Holy"Its stylized outline can be found on many ancient artifacts that have Pomegranate shaped bottle provenance unknown 8th-9th century BCE Collection The Israel Museum, Jerusalembeen discovered and that continue to be unearthed at archeological sites.


Sterling silver pomegranate candleholders, local Israeli artisans continue the tradition by incorporating its shape into various souvenir items sold in shops and on line.






I try to imagine myself reverting back to eating pomegranates. It is not a pleasant thought. Therefore, when doctors agree to recommend this fruit, I shall consume it in liquid form instead. Unfortunately, western medicine is very slow, or even reluctant, to prescribe most foods as a cure or as a preventive measure. Pharmaceuticals are the preferred prescription. However, if one day doctors universally accept the findings about the benefits of pomegranate juice, I hope that nutritionists will give this drink a special dispensation because, when they found no nutritional value in other fruit juices, they labeled them as nothing more than liquid carbohydrates.