20th June 2009
There is a blaze of summer colour wherever you go at the moment, from the various shades of Oleanders - in white to dark pink - , the purple Bougainvillea and its less common red-flowering variety, the huge orange flowers of Campsis radicans, to geraniums in every shade decorating terraces and balconies. My favourites, however, have to be the striking orange flowers that appear on the pomegranate shrub or tree at this time of year. They are small in comparison to many other summer flowers, and not as spectacular, but there is something about the beautiful contrast between the orange flower and the bright green leaves that I can't get enough of!
I have a pomegranate tree in my garden, planted about four years ago, and I am thinking of planting some shrubs as they seem to do well here. The fruit comes later in the year and is also a wonderful sight to see.
When my husband picked one of our first crop a few years ago, he tried to eat the whole of the inside of the fruit and got a nasty surprise! I must have forgotten to pass on the anecdotes my Mum used to tell about how, when she was a child, they used to use a pin to remove the juicy seeds and eat them one by one (although I don't know what they were doing with pomegranates in north-west England in the 40s...).
Nowadays, pomegranates are popular because of the health benefits associated with drinking the juice. It is rich in antioxidants, high in vitamin C, and has been found by researchers to be useful in lowering cholesterol and even perhaps in reducing the risk of cancer. Unfortunately, pomegranate juice doesn't seem to be very widely available in Italy yet, so I will just have to make my own!
I found this useful site about how to use pomegranates and what to do with them.