While fruits have long provided fodder for still life paintings, the pomegranate has held a special place in the eyes of artists for centuries.
Surrealist Salvador Dali’s “Dream, Caused by the Flight of a Bee (Around a Pomegranate, a Second Before Waking Up)” (1944) featured pomegranates sharing space with lunging tigers, a nude woman and an elephant while French academic painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “Girl with a Pomegranate” (1875) features an Algerian girl who sells the fruit. Pomegranates frequently came up in Italian painter Caravaggio’s works, including his “Supper at Emmaus” (1601), depicting a dramatic post-Crucifixion event.
Writers have also loved the pomegranate (“Nightly she sings yon pomegranate tree.” – Shakespeare). But most people see pomegranates as did the Egyptian pharaohs – something good to eat.
In fact, as a food, the pomegranate is a fruit du jour.
After all, you can have pomegranate juice, vodka, salad dressing, ice cream, salsa and gummy bears. But it’s also a fruit with a sweet, tart juice that has all sort of health benefits.
Each pomegranate holds hundreds of seeds, which can be tough to remove. But once out of its translucent ruby pulp, the seeds can be sprinkled into a green salad for color and crunch or used in soups, sauces and ice cream.
For artists, those seeds have long been the lure of the pomegranate, which has been used to symbolize fertility, fruitfulness of the land and resurrection.
Who knew a fruit could be so inspiring?
While pomegranates were buried with ancient Egyptians seeking more fun in the afterlife, they won’t last forever. But you can keep them in the refrigerator for up to two months or in a cool, dark place for up to a month.
Whether you want to sprinkle pomegranate seeds in your salad or paint the next pomegranate masterpiece, this is a great time of year to get them at your local farmers’ market.