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White Pomegranates grow on shrubby trees that average between 5 and 8 meters tall. The spherical fruits are roughly the size of an apple and have a thin leathery skin that is actually more of a creamy pink than white. The interior membranes of the fruit are white and the translucent seeds have a subtle pink blush. The seeds, technically called arils, of the White pomegranate are softer than those of the red variety. White pomegranates offer a super sweet taste and have the highest sugar levels and the lowest acidity of all the varieties.
White pomegranates are available in the early fall and through the winter months.
Pomegranates are botanically classified as Punica granatum. The name comes from two French words, "pome" and "granate" literally meaning "apple with many seeds". The white variety is far less common than the standard red variety and can range in color from pure white to creamy yellow or pale pink. The 'Haku-Botan’ is a very unique Japanese variety of white pomegranate that produces cool greenish white fruits.
Pomegranates are rich in vitamins B and C as well as antioxidants, potassium, protein, carbohydrates and fiber.
White pomegranates may be used similarly to the red variety with the one obvious advantage of no color staining. Their seeds may be easily and cleanly removed by breaking apart the fruits in four or five pieces and submerging in a large bowl of water. The edible seeds will sink and the white inedible membrane will float and is easily skimmed away. The seeds may simply be eaten raw as a snack or added into salads, relishes, garnishes or desserts. The juice is highly flavorful on its own, but may be reduced down into pomegranate molasses or fermented into pomegranate vinegar. Complimentary flavors include cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, coconut, lemon, grapefruit, orange, apple, pear, honey, almond, hazelnuts, curry, lamb, chicken and pork.
The Pomegranate is referenced throughout historical legend and lore. In Greek myth, Hades, god of the underworld, tricked Persephone into eating Pomegranate seeds and forced her to return back to him every winter, making her goddess of the underworld. Biblically, though the apple commonly appears in depictions of the Garden of Eden, many people actually believe that the pomegranate was the real forbidden fruit.
Pomegranates are ancient fruits, with some evidence of their existence dating back to between 4000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. Native to present day Iran and Turkey, research has revealed that Egypt, Jericho and Mesopotamia were the first cultures to domesticate Pomegranate trees in their early orchards. The Pomegranate was first introduced to the Western hemisphere by Spanish settlers in 1769, and today it is cultivated in tropical and subtropical climates. The White variety typically ripens earlier than the red variety and has a much shorter season. It is estimated that there are some 500 varieties of pomegranate grown world-wide.
People have spotted White Pomegranates using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Spotting allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.