The streets of the Middle East and North Africa are abound with stalls selling fresh juice of all sorts. You can stop for a moment, pay a few cents, and enjoy a glass of fresh-pressed-just-about-anything. There is something a little extra regal about pomegranate juice, though, and whenever I see it available, I always stop for a glass.
The pomegranate, which originated in Persia, is now abundant throughout the Middle East. It is a nutrient dense, and antioxidant-rich fruit, which carries much symbolism in Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, Christian, and Islamic cultures. Throughout history, it has symbolized prosperity, ambition, abundance, fertility, resurrection, and good luck. It is often offered as a wedding or a housewarming gift, and is featured prominently throughout art history.
Boticelli’s “Madonna of the Pomegranate”
Bouguereau’s “Girl with a Pomegranate”
Pomegranates are also quite versatile in the kitchen. Try this recipe with pomegranate seeds and pomegranate molasses: Pan-fried heloumi with figs and pomegranate!