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The Pervasive Pomegranate

Cathy Christensen January 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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“Eat the pomegranate, for it purges the system of envy and hatred.”

—The Prophet Muhammad

This fabled fruit has been a topic of conversation in many cultures throughout the ages. It was detailed in ancient documents such as the Egyptian Ebers Papyrus—the oldest and most important medical document yet recovered—and the Bible. In one version of Greek mythology, Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and was trapped in the Underworld. It was a rule of the Fates that anyone who consumed anything there was doomed to remain for eternity. Hades tricked Persephone into eating six pomegranate seeds, and she was condemned to the Underworld for six months of every year, causing her mother, Demeter—the goddess of the Harvest—to mourn. Because of this, all green things were said to cease their growth during these six months. This was the Greeks’ explanation for the changing seasons.

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Spa Cuisine Recipe: Fresh Melon and Prosciutto with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Fresh Melon and Prosciutto with Pomegranate Vinaigrette

From Chef Ric Pielstick, The Chanric Inn, Calistoga, California

Makes 8 servings

This dish is excellent as an appetizer or as a first course for a decadent brunch.

Fresh Melon and Prosciutto

1⁄2 cantaloupe, honeydew, crenshaw or other melon peeled, seeded and sliced lengthwise into wedges

8 slices prosciutto

1⁄4 cup pomegranate seeds

Vinaigrette

2 teaspoons Pomegranate Glaze* or pomegranate juice reduced in half

1 teaspoon white balsamic vinegar*

1⁄2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

A dash of kosher or sea salt

1. Combine vinaigrette ingredients, and whisk with a fork until emulsified.

2. Arrange melon on individual plates.

3. Drape prosciutto slices over melon wedges, and drizzle vinaigrette over the tops, using a fork.

4. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

*Available at specialty foods shops

Spa Cuisine: Pomengranate Quick Facts

 

  • The ancient Egyptians were buried with pomegranates, and the Babylonians believed that chewing the seeds of the fruit before battle made them invincible.
  • Pomegranate juice is used for natural dyeing of nonsynthetic fabrics.
  • Grenada, an island nation off the coast of South America, was named after the Spanish and French word for pomegranate.
  • The pomegranate gave its name to the hand grenade due to its shape and size, and to the garnet for its color.
  • The red flowers from the pomegranate bush are called balaustine.
  • In the summer of 2006, Starbucks introduced a pomegranate frappuccino because of the fruit’s popularity in American markets.

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