Pomegranates ripen each November; the most common variety are named ‘Wonderful’ with good reason: these hardy fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants, they’re delicious, and they thrive throughout Central and Southern Arizona. Learn how to harvest and prepare these healthy fruits in informal one-hour workshops Sept. 15 or 28 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. No pre-registration needed, the outdoor class is included with daily admission of $10 – and fresh-made pomegranate snacks will be shared at the end of each class, too! Chandler-based Tall Order Catering owners ‘Chef Eric’ and Terri Naddy will share recipes and pomegranate processing techniques Sept. 15; East Valley author Jean Groen and her pomegranate pickin’ accomplice Robert Lewis share their own pomegranate secrets Sept. 28.
Of all the fruits you can harvest in Arizona, pomegranates may have the most colorful history — some argue it was actually a pomegranate, not an apple, that was the irresistible fruit in the garden of Eden.
Packed with seeds, pomegranates cross many cultures as a symbol of fertility (particularly in Hebrew legend and ritual); some paintings of baby Jesus prominently display a pomegranate – and Egyptians were entombed with pomegranates as a token for rebirth.
Originally from Persia, the pomegranate is among the oldest fruits cultivated. Romans used the tannic skins to tan leather, and the fruit’s regal crown (calix) may have inspired the design of King Solomon’s crown. Moors imported them from the middle East to Spain round 800 A.D.; Spanish conquistadors and missionaries brought them to our continent – where they remain a popular landscape choice as a plant that provides lush flowers each spring, tangy Autumn fruit — and fall color as their leaves turn from green to gold. Read more about Arboretum events at ag.arizona.edu/bta; connect with BTA annual members, staff and volunteers at facebook.com/boycethompsonarboretum.