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Pomegranate  -The Persian fruit of heaven

Pomegranate -The Persian fruit of heaven

As autumn arrives the gardens and fruit shops in Iran get packed with pomegranate which comes in different colors and tastes from yellow to red and from sweet to sour. This fruit has got a special place in Iranians’ fruit basket, and of course, their culture as this fruit has been mentioned in Iranian literature and legends.

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October 29, 2020

As autumn arrives the gardens and fruit shops in Iran get packed with pomegranate which comes in different colors and tastes from yellow to red and from sweet to sour. This fruit has got a special place in Iranians’ fruit basket, and of course, their culture as this fruit has been mentioned in Iranian literature and legends.

Pomegranate in Iranian legends

Pomegranate tree has been one of the most sacred and holiest plants in Iran and is believed to be grown from the spot where the blood of Siavash (the legendary Iranian character who is known for his innocence) and has been mentioned in Iranian Pahlavi scripts as a fruit of heaven. It is also believed that the invulnerability of Esfandiar (Iranian legend) was related to this sacred fruit. The Zoroastrians of Iran, believe that pomegranate is a blest fruit as it is served in their festivals like Mehregan and Nowruz, and especially in their wedding ceremonies to wish for the newly married couple to have a healthy child in the future. They also used to plant a pomegranate tree in their fire temples to use its leaves in their ceremonies. Even in the Quran (the holy book of Muslims), pomegranate is mentioned as a tree grown in heaven.

Pomegranate - Iran

Pomegranate - Iran

Pomegranate in Iranian art

Around 2000 BC, the Lur people living in the west of Iran created amazing crafts which are known as Luristan bronzes today, and on some of the Luristan bronze objects, the Mother Goddess holding a pomegranate tree is recognizable. Also in some parts of Persepolis the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid kings, we can see bass reliefs of pomegranate like the one located on the parasol held above the head of Xerxes. In Sassanid bass reliefs pomegranate is located between two palmate leaves which are similar to two wings and is the symbol of fertility and productivity.

Pomegranate in Sassanid art

Pomegranate in Sassanid art

 

 

Pomegranate in Persian carpet design

The benefits of pomegranate

Pomegranate is a good source of anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-tumor properties and vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Iranians believe that eating pomegranate helps people with oily skin, reduces the risk of heart disease, and purifies the blood. It also helps in controlling the blood pressure and make you feel fresher.

Pomegranate juice

Pomegranate in Persian culinary

Apart from being a popular fruit, pomegranate is widely used in Persian culinary. Narsharab (Rob-e Anar) is pomegranate molasses which is made by thickening pomegranate juice and is used as a seasoning for some Iranian foods and as an ingredient in many other recipes. Pomegranate and Narsharab are used in many of the foods made in northern Iran, like Anarbij stew which is made with ground lamb meat, walnut, sour pomegranate juice, Narsharab, herbs, and spices, or Khoresht- e Anar (pomegranate stew) which is made with chicken, roasted pomegranate seeds and spices. Khoresh-e Fesenjan is another Iranian food that is made with sour Narsharab and can be found on the menu of many restaurants in Iran. Iranians even make Aush desserts, and cold beverages out of a pomegranate.

Fesenjoon stew - Persian food

 

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