Homegrown Pomegranates

Pomegranates (Punica granatum)  have become popular lately.  The juice can now be found in almost any supermarket.  That’s a wonderful thing because it’s delicious and loaded with antioxidants.  However, do you actually buy the fruit when they’re available or do you just admire them and walk past them?

I think most people don’t buy the fresh fruit because they know the seeds can pop and spray you with red juice when you try to open them.  They seem like a complicated fruit but they’re not. There are lots of tips on how to cut a pomegranate  such as cutting them in a bowl of water.  My tip is to throw on an apron or old t-shirt and just dig in.  I cut mine in half with a sharp knife and then tear into it from there.  If you’ve never had a fresh pomegranate, you’ve got to try it.

Pomegranate seeds are better than candy to my kids…that means they’re really good.  I have a couple of really picky eaters.  They love walking around the yard while digging into a pomegranate.  Pomegranate seeds have lots of fiber.  I’ve always been told that eating pomegranate seeds will expel parasites too.  That’s an added bonus.  Well, we do live in Florida and run around barefoot all year.

Nope, no shoes.

We’ve been growing pomegranates in our yard for several years.  The trees are small and actually look more like a tall bush.  My trees never look healthy, but I don’t give them any care at all.  Okay, I do put goat manure around the base of the tree but that’s it.  I don’t recommend neglecting your trees this way.  However, even with all my neglect, our trees give us some glorious tasting pomegranates.  They look horribly ugly, but they taste deeelicious.

That’s a pomegranate from the grocery store on the left and our ugly (but super sweet) homegrown pomegranate on the right.

There are many varieties of pomegranate.  Click here  and here for some great information on growing pomegranates in Florida. They can take the humidity, but they prefer hot, dry summers.  If you have a deer problem, take note that deer love to eat pomegranate trees.  Also, they do have thorns.

Our neglected pomegranate tree.

A plate of homegrown pomegranates… strange looking.

 

My favorite recipe for pomegranate seeds is persian rice with pistachios.  I enjoyed this dish at a Persian restaurant several years ago and have been making it at home ever since.  Check out this blog called My Persian Kitchen for the recipe and some fantastic ideas for Thanksgiving dinner.

The seeds sparkle like precious gems and taste like sweet candy.  Eat more pomegranate.

Come grow with us!

 

 

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8 Responses to “Homegrown Pomegranates”

  1. Save me some :) I am one of those that have never tasted them!

  2. Seeing your bizarre looking fruit is encouraging. I know they’re not a species generally recommended for Florida, thanks to our humidity, but I know that many have been grown successfully here. Mine are still young, but I’m hopeful.

    As for the “neglected” tree, I’ve found that keeping grass away from the tree (basically, hoeing a ring out to the drip line) and mulching it makes a big difference in growth and tree happiness. During my Master Gardener training, we saw some UF root system excavations showing how many of the feeder roots are in the top 6″ of soil, right where the grass is. Eliminate the grass and yields/growth goes way up.

    • I don’t have time to take care of the tree in the photo properly, but if I did, removing the grass would be the first thing I’d do. I took very good care of my pomegranate trees in the first couple of years after planting them and I experienced a lot of fruit drop. When I stopped worrying about the trees, I started getting fruit. I have a ton of fruit trees, vegetable and flower gardens. I don’t have much help so sometimes I have to let the weeds and grass grow. Our dairy goats are priority on our “to do” list these days.

      I try to let people know that you can have fruit trees and gardens without trying to make it perfect. A farmer would try to increase the yield and make the fruit pretty to sell it. A mom with a job, kids, animals and a big yard full of edibles is content to to have fresh and delicious fruit from a neglected tree.

      I’ve looked into the master gardener program several times but I don’t have time to be a permanent volunteer for the program as is required by them. I’m self-taught and quite proud of it.

      • “I’m self-taught and quite proud of it.”

        Good for you. Me too, for the most part. I jumped into the MG program this last year to get as much info about my specific region as possible. It was also a good way to meet other gardeners and trade cuttings. ;) I’m all about free plants.

        And don’t think I’m judging you because of your grass-encircled tree. We used to have dairy goats and they totally ate up our time… I got rid of them because I realized I was more of a gardener than a goatherd. Really miss the milk, though. It’s hard to do everything.

        I’ve put out trees (from cuttings) in numbers on purpose just to see what thrives and what doesn’t. Less work and free food is always a plus.

  3. Yes, it is tough to do everything. We’ve got our priority list these days. I never give up on the gardening but sometimes it takes a backseat for a short time.

    I did feel a little judged about my tree with the grass up next to the base… funny, because I really thought twice about using that pic. Thanks for clarifying :) It’s my reality though. I have a lot of maintenance.

    By the way, I love your blog, http://www.floridasurvivalgardening.com/. I subscribed.

    • Thank you!

      Fear thee not.

      I really got smacked-down on the grass around my trees a couple of years ago… I became a grass-free evangelist after my aunt’s peaches grew twice as fast as mine. I couldn’t figure out what was going on until I saw a paper from Minnesota and simultaneously saw the excavation shots in my MG class.

      Of course, peaches are really maintenance hogs. From what I’ve heard, pomegranates don’t do that well with typical fruit tree care, so your observations stand up. And really – most of our best gardening knowledge comes from paying attention. Some things thrive with a bit of stress.

      If you saw more pics of my yard, though, you wouldn’t worry, I’m sure. There are a few things that get a lot of my time (the annual beds, my wife and kids, my citrus) and a lot of things that have been thrown into The Deep Jungle Of Death out front. ;)

      I always enjoy your posts, BTW. Been reading you for a while now.

  4. dr. rani kurapati Says:

    i love reading your blog, please tell me the swetest pomegranate i could grow in florida

    • Thank you for the compliment on my blog :)

      I only have experience growing one variety in Florida. I read that Punica granatum ‘sweet’ is the sweetest variety. If I had one of these, I personally would try growing it. Actually, I think I will go seek one out!

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