The pomegranate is one of the Seven Species – seven types of fruit and grains mentioned in the Bible as being found in the Land of Israel.
Pomegranates are believed to take their name from the Latin: pomum ("apple") and granatus ("seeded"). The pomegranate, a drought tolerant, deciduous fruit, grows well in Mediterranean climates. The trees can reach heights of 5-8 meters. It has been cultivated in the region since ancient times.
Several varieties of pomegranates can be found in Israel, ranging in weight from 300g-750g. The fruit should be plump, round and heavy for its size. Pomegranates do not ripen once picked, so once harvested, they will not continue to develop sugar.
CookinIsrael culinary tours offer you a hands on experience during which you will learn how to select the perfect pomegranate from the market stall, how to prepare a variety of dishes using the fruit or juice of the pomegranate You will return home from your cooking tour steeped in the ways of this ancient fruit.
The pomegranate is rich in symbolism and has special meaning within the Jewish tradition. It is purported to have 613 seeds which correspond to the 613 positive commandments mentioned in the Torah, which every religious Jew is duty bound to fulfil. The pomegranate is therefore seen as a symbol of righteousness. Owing to its many seeds, it is also a symbol of fruitfulness and plenty. For these reasons, the pomegranate is traditionally eaten at New Year.
The pomegranate has been widely used for medicinal purposes throughout the ages. Pomegranates contain phyto-estrogens, known to aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, heart disease and breast cancer. The juice is also used to treat anaemia.
Pomegranate juice is a well known ingredient in Turkish and Persian cooking. The concentrate is used in salad dressings. It is used also in making grenadine syrup, a frequently used ingredient for cocktails.
Pomegranate fruit (seeds) are frequently used ingredients in Israeli cooking. Their availability and versatility make them a local favourite. They are used in many local dishes in both modern and traditional cuisine. Adding pomegranate will always increase the nutritional value of any dish.
Pomegranate is also used to make wine. Your Culinary Tour to the galilee will take you to a winery making wine and sparkling wine from pomegranates – a truly unique experience.