Thursday, 24 October 2013 8:58 AM
It would'nt be right to carry on this blog any further without talking about pomegranates, as living in Granada I simply can’t escape them. The first time visitor to the city may not notice very many, but look closer and you’ll see that pomegranates are everywhere. In fact, the city of Granada was actually named after the pomegranate, and the Spanish word for pomegranate is granada.
Pomegranates were first grown in the Middle East, but through trade they spread to China and North and West Africa. The Moors first brought pomegranates to the Mediterranean where they began to grow in abundance. After they took over the small hamlet and established the city of Granada in the 11th century, they decided to name it after the crimson coloured fruit too.
However, it was not only for this reason – pomegranates also have a strong religious and symbolic mythical status and throughout the centuries have been mentioned in both Greek mythology and the Koran. When Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand took over the last of the Muslim strongholds in Granada in 1492, they decided to keep its name and to mark their victory they added a picture of a pomegranate to their coat of arms. The pomegranate also became the official symbol of the city.
Pomegranates in the city
Today, the pomegranate is still a symbol of Granada, featured not only on the city’s official coat of arms, but also on street signs, fountains, fire hydrants, door handles and inlaid into the cobbled squares. When walking around the city, I often like to play a little game with myself to see how many I can spot and I’m always surprised by just how many there are. You can also find pomegranate trees dripping with ruby red fruit growing in the city’s parks and along the sides of the roads.
Pomegranates are are often used in North African cuisine, either mixed into couscous or sprinkled on top of tajines, and can be found used in many of the dishes served in Granada’s Moroccan restaurants and tea houses.
The pomegranate season in Granada lasts from September to January and during this time, you’ll often see it being used in Spanish salads, made into juices, syrups and jams, and sometimes even ice cream.
By Esme Fox @EsmeFox
Credit title image: Thinkstock