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The red fruit that gives good fortune & good health

The Pomegranate is a symbol of good luck, abundance, youth and fertility since antiquity. This red coloured nutritious fruit has a wonderful taste and is part of a Greek New Year’s custom. Tradition has it that on the first day of the year a pomegranate must be broken on the door’s threshold for good luck. Let’s find out how this fruit has played an important role in Greek art from antiquity up to today and discover simple ways to include this fruit in dishes.

A bit of mythology and History

The pomegranate trees, were known since ancient times, and mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey, where they grow on the island of Scheria or Phaeacia in the gardens of King Alcinous. Furthermore Theophrastus and Hippocrates also refer to the fruit for its healing properties.

The most renowned myth associated with the pomegranate fruit is the one of the abduction of Persephone by Hades. According to the myth, Hades offered the fruit to Persefone in order to seal their eternal bond. The pomegranate was also closely associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries as priests wore wreaths made of twigs from pomegranate trees during these ceremonies.

Greek Art

Lots of archaeological finds prove that the pomegranate fruit was known in the Mediterranean area in antiquity as it was reflected on ancient art. On Milos Island in Phylakopi, pomegranates were painted on urns (1650-1450 BC National Archaeological Museum). At Akrotiri on Santorini Island excavations brought to light urns with motifs of the pomegranate fruit (17th century BC). On Crete Island Minoan findings also carry the fruit shape in paintings (17th century BC) where in Mycenae a beautiful necklace depicts golden pomegranates motifs (National Archaeological Museum, 16th century BC). The National Archaeological Museum in Athens hosts the brass pomegranate discovered at the Acropolis.

In modern and contemporary Greek art, the pomegranate has been a source of inspiration to various painters such as G. Iakovidis, N. Gyzis, N Lytras, G. Bouzianis, Y. Kottis and to writers such as G. Seferis, O. Elytis, N. Eggonopoulos and more.

Some pomegranate seeds to taste

The pomegranate is a seasonal autumn and winter fruit. Its juicy and delicious seeds will accompany several dishes giving your taste buds a wake-up call. Add the seeds in your turkey or lamb stuffing and in green salads. Another great idea is to make some jam or spoon sweets. The pomegranate juice makes a great sauce for your meat, can become fantastic jello or even syrup for ice cream and sweets. Last but not least why not try it out as liquor.

Elixir of health and beauty

Did you know that Alcinous from Greek mythology cultivated the pomegranate tree in his gardens? The tree’s fruit is nutritious and rich in sugars, vitamins A, B, C, minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium and iron, and has more antioxidants than red wine or green tea.
This miraculous fruit is also a unique natural cosmetic. Well known Greek cosmetic companies, who base their products on natural ingredients from Greek motherland, use pomegranate in many products for skincare and anti-aging properties.

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