Grow pomegranates – a tree of myth and fairytales

It’s a small miracle to grow pomegranates and see the frail, undernourished  tree struggle to uphold its branches weighed down by heavyweight fruits.

In autumn the pomegranates in Southern Italy are ripening, and each time it is a small miracle to see the frail, undernourished tree struggle to uphold its branches despite the abundance of heavyweight fruits.

You can embrace the trunk of our melagrane with two hands, the major branches resemble sticks and the top reaches just 3 metres above the ground. Still, the tree blossoms with big, red flowers and bright green leaves every spring. In the summer the fruit looks like the crowned ball used in illustrations on Granada pottery. And in October the red and later brown leathery skin breaks open to reveal a wealth of red seeds. No wonder the pomegranate has been seen as a symbol of fertility, riches and good luck.

grow pomegranatesTherefore some pugliesi mix pomegrate seeds with whole wheat grains for abundance, almonds and walnuts for white skeletal bones, green grapes for health and chocolate, cacao or cinnamon and fig or grape juice for good measure to produce La Colva. A fruit salad enjoyed on Ognissanti and il giorno dedicato alla commemorazione dei defunti, when the family returns from the cemetery, where they have spend the day cleaning and decorating the graves of deceased family and friends.

Apart from that the pomegranates are mainly used for decorative purposes in salads and risotto, which may explain the curiosity of my next door neighbour, when I was bringing a perfect specimen in from the garden.

– I see you have been plucking melagrane, but what do you use it for? she asked.

I tend to ask myself the same question given the fact that there are still buckets full of pomegranates on the tree. If I leave them long enough perhaps they will turn into fragile, marriageable girls who are white as ricotta and red as blood, as described in the fairytale called L’amore delle tre melagrane by Italo Calvino.

Grow pomegranates and use them for

Pomegranate salad with feta and fennel

Sweet wheat, chocolate, grapes and pomegranate dessert

 

4 replies
  1. Mother Goutte
    Mother Goutte says:

    This makes my mouth water! That’s one of the things I miss from the South West of France where my grand mother lived, the gorgeous fruits!!

    Reply
  2. Adri
    Adri says:

    I love pomegranates. How wonderful to have such a bountiful tree. I have never heard of La Colva, but I am utterly intrigued. It is always a pleasure to visit your blog. You showcase foods that no one else does, and you do it in such an engaging manner. Brava!

    Reply

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