Plants Of The Quran: Pomegranate
Biblically referenced as the fruit growing on the Tree of Knowledge, the princely pomegranate also has resonance in Islamic texts and for ...
The princely pomegranate, ar-Rumm in Arabic, is mentioned in the Qur'an as one of the many delicious rewards awaiting in Paradise. Its numerous uses in cooking and medicine, as well as its beautiful structure, make the fruit a wonder for Muslims who believe that each pomegranate seed is a sign of The Sustainer.
Pomegranates are mentioned three times in the Qur'an.
1) As one of the fruits that will be found in paradise:
"In both of them [gardens] are two springs, spouting [...]In both of them are fruit and palm trees and pomegranates. So which of the favors of your Lord would you deny?" (Quran, 55:66-69)
2) As a reminder of the nutritious provision from God,
"And He it is who produces gardens (of vine), trellised and untrellised, and palms and seed-produce of which the fruits are of various sorts, and olives and pomegranates, like and unlike; eat of its fruit when it bears fruit, and pay the due of it on the day of its reaping, and do not act extravagantly; surely He does not love the extravagant." (Quran, 6:141)3) And as a sign of His artistry,
"And it is He who sends down rain from the sky, and We produce thereby the growth of all things. We produce from it greenery from which We produce grains arranged in layers. And from the palm trees - of its emerging fruit are clusters hanging low. And [We produce] gardens of grapevines and olives and pomegranates, similar yet varied. Look at [each of] its fruit when it yields and [at] its ripening. Indeed in that are signs for a people who believe." (Quran, 6:99)
The frequent mentions of this fruit are because of its gem-like beauty, a glistening core of seeds compacted in a layer resembling honeycomb.
Equally astounding are the colours of the fruit and flowers which are an attestation to the Qur'anic verse:
"And whatsoever He has created for you on the earth of varying colors [and qualities from vegetation and fruits] and from animals. Verily! In this is a sign for people who remember." (Qur'an, 16:13)
In Arabic a pomegranate is known as the royal word 'rumaan', in Urdu 'anaar' and interestingly, because of its resemblance to many fragments resulting from detonating a grenade, in Hebrew the word 'rimon' may mean both pomegranate and shell.
A split-open pomegranate fruit reveals red gems resting between protective papery skins
Inside a pomegranate are the edible succulent grains of pulp-like tissue, pink-red in colour. Once the leathery skin is removed, these "seeds" can be plucked loose for on-the-go eating or a sharp tap of a wooden spoon will scatter them into a bowl.
Taste Those Seeds
Pomegranate grains have a "fresh, sweet-sour", very juicy taste (Gernot Katzer), while other forms of the fruit may be acidic. Here in Britain one rarely meets a very acidic pomegranate although many fruit varieties are very popular all over the Middle East, used to sweeten meat dishes and salads.
Where Pomegranate Shrubs Grow
Pomegranates also originate from the Middle Eastern region, and are cultivated in central Asia, Mediterranean countries and northern India.
In India, pomegranates have culinary importance. The grains of more sour fruits are dried and used as a flavourant and substituted for raisins in baking. The juice of the pomegranate is a favourite in many Middle Eastern countries and Asia.
I remember, as a child, my family would buy the cool red juice from street vendors in Pakistan and just before a rice dish had finished cooking, handfuls of pomegranate grains would be stirred in, bursting with red colour and adding a tangy kick. Pomegranate fruit juice is also used to make sauces and jellies. Yum.
Nutritionally pomegranate fruit is rich in Vitamin C with a calorific value of 65 (calories), while it is a good source of sodium, riboflavin and calcium.
Prophet Muhammad of Islam, peace be upon him, told his Companions that each pomegranate potentially held a heavenly grain,
"There is not a pomegranate which does not have a pip from one of the pomegranate of the Garden (Jannah) in it." (Abu Nu'aim, narrated by Anas)And these pips, along with the outer skin, are rich with antioxidant and antibacterial properties, testimony to its benefits for cleansing the palate. The Prophet therefore also said,
"Pomegranate and its rind strengthen digestion (stomach)." (Abu Nuaim, narrated by `Ali)Uses Of Pomegranate
Among its various uses in the culinary world, the scarlet flower of the pomegranate plant produce a beautiful red dye for textiles, which has been used for centuries in Central Asia.
Pomegranate plants also provide herbal medicines for diarrhoea, fevers, gum disorders and earraches. Resourcefulness has found that the bark of the pomegranate shrub to have medicinal use while the beautiful flowers of the tree can be used to relieve sore eyes.
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