The pomegranate ( Punica granatum) is a small-growing, deciduous shrub or tree that produces orange-sized, thickskinned fruit that contains pink-red arils of sweet, juicy pulp.
The seeds germinate easily, but cuttings produce better quality plants.Trees are hardy in a range of soil conditions but, to fruit successfully, require long, hot summers.
The word pomegranate literally means “grainy apple” and the fruit has been mentioned in art, literature and recipes) for over 2500 years. In more recent times it’s gained traction as a superfood rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, folic acid and fibre. The skin is also rich in tannin and is sought after as a natural dye.
The fruit keep well off the tree and actually sweeten in cold storage.
In the off season imported pomegranates can sell for up to $6 each but in season from February to May, New Zealand-grown fruit retail for about third of that.
The fledgling Australian Pomegranate Association (APA) believes there’s a world production and consumption of 4.5 million tonnes annually. It’s hoped that country’s production will reach 30-40,000 tonnes within the next decade.
Each fruit yields about a cup of seeds and half a cup of juice.