Greener BeeGreen HolidaysRed and green ring in the holidays

The color of red represents anything from love and passion to fortune and fertility. In China and India it is worn in weddings, as it is a sign of love and good life. In Africa, it is the sign of death and mourning. In the United States, it is often the color of danger and serious alerts. Colors represent many different things in different parts of the world and for different situations.

The holiday season acquired its colors through the Christian faith that green is the natural representation of eternal life. The evergreen has always been the main symbol of this color as it is green throughout the entire year with a fresh scent and appearance. The color of red symbolizes that of Christ’s blood and to deliver the message that even through death there is eternal life.

During this season we see the use of evergreens through Christmas trees, pine wreaths and garlands all decorated with red bows, lights, candles, strands of cranberries and popcorn, slices of apples and the appearance of the pomegranate. Many of us have heard of the pomegranate, but many are truly unfamiliar with what the pomegranate looks like or how it presents itself.

The pomegranate is known as the seeded apple and originated from the Middle East. It is known as the seeded apple because its entire interior body is made up of hundreds of juicy seeds surrounded by a moist white pulp. Most of the fruit can contain anywhere from 600 to 1,400 seeds per unit depending on the size and variety grown.

The get to these seeds, you first need to section the fruit itself, or gently peel away the tough red rind, and pull the seeds out for consumption. They are very juicy and sweet and can be consumed by the hundreds. Once you start eating them, they can be nearly as addictive as opening a can of cashews and not being able to put them down. But the can of cashews is going to make you feel much more uncomfortable after consumption over a thousand pomegranate berries or seeds.

The pomegranate cannot be grown in our area, as it needs a warm, arid region to grow. It is also very adaptable to drought conditions and can handle temperatures as cold as 15 degrees without too much damage.

Generally there are three different varieties. The dwarf variety will reach about 4 feet high with small fruit the size of a small golf ball. There is a medium size that will reach a height of about 12 feet with larger fruit, and the largest size can reach about 15 to 18 feet.

Their structure is very twisted in character with highly interesting bark traits. The wood is strong, but it cannot tolerate wet and humid conditions that may make it prone to root rot and fungal diseases. The branches are long and arching, which allow for the harvester to pluck the fruit with ease when mature during the fall. This arching habit gives the tree a more broad appearance making it wider than it is tall. Of course, like most fruit-bearing trees, they enjoy full sunlight and space to grow.

Pomegranates have been around for centuries and are tucked away into all sorts of historic data. They can be found in ancient drawings, paintings, national shields and coats of arms, royal banners, religious writings and pictures. They were held sacred by many of the world’s major religions.

The fruit was used for medicinal purposes to cure intestinal diseases and the lowing of cataract development in the eyes. The fruit juice was considered a tonic for the heart and throat and was considered a good supplement for dietary fiber.

The fruit is used in many different types of Middle Eastern cooking from marinating meats, to salad dressings to making a sauce for fish dishes. It was commonly used to just drink as a beverage as it has a wonderful and full-bodied flavor. It is also the product that grenadine is created from, which is added to many alcoholic concoctions.

Even though pomegranates have been around for awhile, they really only had a surge in the United States market for only the last 10 to 15 years. Sure they have been around for a long time, but their antioxidant characteristics and healthy benefits have only recently come to light in our society, thus creating a great marketing ploy. As with all fresh fruits and vegetables, you can never have enough and there is nothing but good nutrition in all senses, so indulge in them whenever you can.

The next time you are in the grocery store and see that odd, red, dry-rind-looking fruit in the bin, pick one up and give it a try. I would almost guarantee that you will go back for more. Eat them fresh, throw them into a salad, or juice them for their sheer goodness, and you can add a little something extra special to your holiday season. I have heard pomegranate juice goes mighty well with vodka also, but I will leave that up to your discretion to see if that is in your taste constraints.

All things red and green will make your holidays complete. Now that you know the meaning behind the colors, you can introduce many of the earth’s natural products to enhance your holiday décor for the season.

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