Pomegranates, the Ruby Jewels of the East

A viral article claimed the fruit is tasteless and making a “comeback.” But for South Asians and Iranians, it transcends any fad.

GettyImages-91932932 pomegranate
OCTOBER 15, 2009: Pomegranates seeds are displayed at the Omaid Bahar Fruit Processing Company in Kabul, Afghanistan. The new $11 million factory has contracts for juice concentrate and whole fruits with major buyers in India, the Gulf, Europe, and America (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Ayesha Le Breton


February 6, 2024


9 min

For self-proclaimed foodie Raj Bala, nothing compares to the sensory experience of eating a pomegranate, the crimson-crowned fruit. “It’s like you’re getting a little treasure with each bite,” he said. For this obsession, Bala credits his Indian immigrant parents. 

Whether you grew up with Farsi, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, or Pashto, anar means pomegranate. It figures richly across all major religions and many cultures. The Prophet Muhammad championed it, as did Tamil literature and Persian and Greek mythology. For millennia, people have enjoyed pomegranate on its own, or mixed into simmering stews or atop biryani as a garnish. 

But in January, a certain article claimed the fruit does “not taste good.” The Juggernaut — and the many people we interviewed — beg to differ.

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