Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Pomegranates 101

Pom Still lifeI was surprised to see pomegranates show up so early in my local market this year. Growing up, my mother tempted my sister and I with exotic fruits. Persimmons, litchi nuts, qumquats and pomegranates. We rejected her offerings with distain - tongues sticking out. No way! Afterall I ate Campbell's Clam Chowder for lunch every day religiously. I'm glad I saw Rick Burn's documentary on Andy Warhol last night. I feel slightly better now about all that Campbells soup.Venice is in my kitchenA trip to Venice brought pomegranates back into my life. In October '02 I noticed poms in all the Bologna street markets. I was surprised - it seemed early in the season for pomegranates. Later in Venice , I found boxes of pomegranates in the Rialto market. They were yellowy-red, not the candy-apple red you see in the US and much smaller. Size isn't an issue over there. I bought one to paint back in my room and it sat over my bed for a week. I never got around to painting it. It's picture hangs on my kitchen cabinet as a reminder of Venice.rouge et verte leçonRemember the power of the complimentary colors RED + GREEN and their subliminal effect at Cafe de Flore? Go back and check tout suite if you forgot :) Anyway my local greengrocer on 31st street puts his red pommies next to the green grapes and pears.Pomegranete on my Provençal window sillI found a Moroccan pom in Paris before I headed off to Arts in Provence to paint pink villages. Every morning I would get up and paint that pomegranate sitting on my window sill - more fun than the pink villages.A HEALTH REPORTThis post is a HEALTH REPORT. These days pomegranates are supposed to cure cancer, Alzheimer's, old age and stop terrorism in it's tracks. I can't say about that, but I have another theory and this one I've put into practice. Since my Venice encounter with the pomegranate 4 years ago, I noticed that if I eat them all winter long I don't catch colds or flue. This is the honest truth! EAT THOSE SEEDSAsk my sneezing, sniffling co-workers or any NYC strap-hangers I encountered last year. For whatever reason pomegranates do protect against winter cold germs. But soon as I stop eating the magic seeds my protection is lost. Last year I went to Chinatown and loaded up. I put the seeds in freezer bags - almost as an experiment. But hey it worked! Just a few tablespoons of seeds a day will do. AND DON'T CHEW! It's 4 years I've been on this regime. BTW I just eat the seeds plain. No fancy stuff. Drinking the juice doesn't work for me. It was years before I tried my mother's pomegranates, but now every winter morning I eat them religiously. The Campbell's Clam Chowder is long gone from my menu. Thanks Mom 


  1. My Mother has a pomegrantate tree in her garden, it stands along the sunflowers, their seds are ready at the same time. My Mother makes jam, and the grandchildren are painted red when they crack the fruit and pick the seeds.
    Your words take me back to Willows, early Autumn and the juice is running to my heart.
    A wondeful post chuck-ful of hidden secret messages, like pomegranate seeds! clever girl!!

  2. Carole!! I AM IN AWE/LOVE/ENVY over these POMS!! I LOVE THEM!!! WHAT A PHENOMENAL JOB YOU'VE DONE ON THEM!!!! WOWZA!! My sis told me the same thing about their medicinal value! Here in NC we see them in a few places around Thanksgiving other time, I'm afraid.

  3. They sell that lovely Pom juice now in grocery stores. It makes the most beautiful Quinacridone Martinis when mixed with vanilla vodka.

    Of course, I'm pretty sure that any health benefits are lost when you mix it with alcohol.

  4. I think the reason we're seeing them so much earlier in the markets is because they have become HOT HOT HOT!
    There's been a huge expansion in growing them from all these health stories, none of which mention their effectiveness with Winter colds IMO
    That's my theory :)

  5. Do you mean that you put them in freezer bags and actually freeze them or put them in the fridge?

  6. Anonymous11:01 AM

    I can't express in words how much I love visiting your blog Carol. It is so brimmed with beautiful paintings and artful ideas. Can you believe that I have never seen a pomegranate.....must look for them in some hidden away small shops here run by people coming to Norway from alien countries.
    My next visit to Venice will be in April, and out of season....

  7. Anonymous11:29 AM

    Beth - I put them in Freezer bags and then into the Freezer..sorry I didn't clarify. The idea is you have them to nibble on until Spring shows up and no more colds!
    Et voila

  8. carol, these stories remind me of my childhood. i used to walk from school everyday to my mother's office and there was a huge pomegranate tree on the way. i would watch the fruit ripen on the slender branches. i was very happy when my mother planted a bush in the backyard. alas, we moved and i never got to see it bear fruit.

    as far as the health thing, they are packed with vitamins especially C and are full of antioxidants.

    not to mention they stain your white shirts with the most wonderful pigment!

  9. Martha Stewart step back! There's a new girl in town and she means business. She does it all folks. Travel, painting, wine tasting, Chocolate hunting, (and my personal favorite) closet cleaner.
    And now "health advice" You are amazing!

  10. Whew. I'll have to give it a try, but I'm not sure I'll like it. Maybe I'll try the POM juice as a substitute.

  11. Hi Carol,

    I love visiting your Blog, but I don't think I've left comments before... what was I thinking!!!??

    Your wanderings in Venice and Bologna remind me of our trips there. Haven't been to Paris yet, but maybe one day I will. I've already noted several addressses from your Blog to visit!

    Never tried pomegranates. I'll go look for some today.

    Thanks for sharing all the wonderful travel stories and cafe photos. You are amazing!

  12. Anonymous2:33 PM

    ParisBreakfasts said...
    Pommies are an acquired taste. They're a little tart and start by sprinkling the seeds (arils)in your salad. Just opening them up is a challange. This post has got to be continued. I'll go into more detail next week. Besides I have a bunch more to paint (they are VERY paintable). You could go out and just buy one. In India they keep them up to 7 months!?

  13. Anonymous4:53 PM

    I've been walking through my neighborhood market's fruit aisle and spot the poms and pick one up to admire its beauty but always return it to its store "cubby", never buying one. Tonight after work I will visit the market and pick one up to take home and try. Thank you for such a wonderful blog; I'm a first time commenter.

  14. I cannot remember if i have commented before or not. well i have you on my bloglines now.
    My sister eats pomegranates and got me to try one for the first time last year. I think I will have to start buying some myself. Besides they make for a beautiful painting.
    Your paintings are wonderful.

  15. I am a pomm fan ever since I was 7 at Nottingham Goose Fair, they were the most exotic thing I had ever seen, didnt know about the clods thing, great more reasons to eat them up.

  16. Love your pom painting, it's wonderful! I noticed the pomegranates in the supermarket (here in Geneva) just yesterday. I've never tried one but I love their shape. Thanks for the info about the growing season, I wondered about that!

  17. I LOVE pomegranates but am inept at finding them at markets. I think I mistake them for apples and pass right over them. I don't get to have them unless someone brings one over to me. Help me, I am pomegrantely challenged.

  18. I just bought pomegranates the other day. I love them but I had no idea they were so healhy. Wasn't it Persephone who had 3 pomegranate seeds and was forced to go back to Hades in the underworld every winter?

  19. Carol, Oh I enjoy your site! I spent two summers in Paris at art school ... and last year a week in Venice .... you put the 'romance' in my day and bring me back to the things that I love most. Keep going ....

  20. I adore Pomegranates--they remind me of childhood (they have always been a favorite. That, and sugar cane). Last Christmas I made Pomegranate jam. It was delicious. Such a sensual fruit. Read Aphrodite by Isabel Allende.


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