Pomegranate is a deciduous shrub or small tree which bears globe-shape fruit, with the height between five and eight meters. Its botanical name is Punica granatum. The word "pomegranate" is derived from Latin pōmum and grānātus, which mean "apple" and "seeded". It is native to the Iranian Plateau and the Himalayas. Nowadays, it is cultivated widely throughout various parts of Southeast Asia, parts of Southern Europe with Mediterranean weather, tropical Africa and also parts of California and Arizona. The pomegranate fruits are in season from September to February in the Northern Hemisphere, while for Southern Hemisphere is from March to May.
Pomegranate fruit is thick-skinned and round in shape, about the size of an orange. There are different varieties of pomegranate. Its rind color may range from yellow-orange to deep reddish-purple. When ripens, its color will turn to red-brown and the fruit center will be full of large juicy seeds which contain sweet-tart juice.
A good quality pomegranate should have rich and fresh color, and has no cuts or blemishes. It should be plump and heavy for its size. The larger the fruit, the more delicious juice you will have in it.
Whole pomegranate fruits can be stored at cool and dry place for up to one month. If kept refrigerated, it can last for about two months. De-seeded pomegranate can be kept frozen in an airtight bag for about a year. Freshly extracted pomegranate juice should however be refrigerated and consumed within three days.
Whole pomegranate seeds are usually eaten fresh as fruit or use as a garnish to enhance the color of a dish. Fresh pomegranate juice can be consumed as a drink or used as the base for cooking various dishes, either sweet or savory. Besides, it can also be processed into other commercial products such as pomegranate syrup, pomegranate molasses and pomegranate wine.