Pomegranates

Pomegranates

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  • Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân

General details

Pomegranate botanical name Punica granatum, is a shrub or small tree growing between 5 and 8 m (16–26 ft) tall. The name pomegranate derives from medieval Latin pōmum “apple” and grānātum “seeded”.

Classification

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Myrtales
Family: Lythraceae
Genus: Punica
Species: P. granatum
 

Punica Granatum is represented by two species.

  • Punica granatum: is the best known species, 2-4 meters tall with glossy, narrow, 3–7 cm long and 2 cm broad leaves . The flowers are bright red, 3 cm in diameter, with three to seven petals.[2] Some fruitless varieties are grown for the flowers alone. The fruit is bigger than an orange but smaller than a grapefruit, 7-12 cm in diameter with a red rounded hexagonal shape; it has a thick skin and around 600 seeds, presenting a parietal placenta. The seeds and the pulp that encapsulates them are edible and some can have a purple color.

  • Punica protopunica: is an almost unknown species that is almost extinct. A handful of specimens survived on the island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean (Yemen). It looks like a shrub that is 3-5 m, with bright red flowers that change their color from green to dark red when they reach maturity. These fruit are smaller and less sweet compared to their better known counter-part.

Geographic Area

The pomegranate grows on areas ranging from Iran to the Himalayas and northern India; it has also been grown in the Mediterranean area including the Caucaz from ancient times. It is farmed on a large scale in Iran, India, and dry areas from South-East Asia, Malaysia, the Oriental Indies and tropical Africa. It was brought to California by the Spanish colonists in 1769, and now it grows mostly in the arid areas of California and Arizona. It is a plant that does not need a lot of water and can be grown in a Mediterranean climate (rainy winters) or in places with humid summers. If the climate is too humid the pomegranate will rot due to fungus growth. They can also withstand temperatures of -10 °C.

The seeds are used as food but also to treat certain afflictions.

Uses in alimentation

SemiThe seeds can be eaten as they have a slight sweet-sour taste, but despite this it is not an important source of nutriments.

The juice of the pomegranate is used in cocktails and also in many dishes form the Persian cuisine such as fresenjan (a thick sauce with nuts and pomegranate juice usually served with duck or fowl and rice) it is also used to marinate the meat or it can be drunk as is. The seeds are also used in Turkish cooking for making salads or gullac (a Turkish desert). In Azerbaijan and Armenia, the pomegranate is used in the making of wine or to make fruit flavored yogurt or ice cone toppings.

Medical use

Beneficial effects of pomegranate consumption : anti-aging, anti-emergence of diseases like Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and even protecting the fetal brain .

Pomegranate is an excellent source of : Vitamin C , Vitamin B12 , Pantothenic Acid , Potassium, Antioxidants.

The most abundant polyphenols in pomegranate juice are the hydrolyzable tannins called punicalagini presented in scientific studies as having the capacity to purify powerful free radicals.

Many food and dietary supplements have found advantages of using pomegranate extracts , which contain no sugar , calories or additives instead of juice as health -friendly ingredients in their products. The majority of pomegranate extracts in particular ellagic acid can be absorbed into the body after consumption.

In preliminary research in the laboratory and in pilot studies carried out on humans , pomegranate juice has proven itself effective in reducing heart disease risk factors , including LDL oxidation , macrophage oxidative status , and foamy cell formation , all of which are steps in the appearance of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Pomegranate has been shown to reduce systolic blood pressure . Other studies verify the effects of pomegranate juice consumption against prostate cancer, lymphoma or diabetes .

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