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Pomegranates and Persephone

September 23, 2014 3 Comments

pomegranate

pomegranate

pomegranate

pomegranate

pomegranates

pomegranates

One of the most symbolic of all the foods we harvest in the fall is the pomegranate.  This is the fruit of the dead Hades gave the goddess Persephone before she was retuned to her mother.  The pomegranate seeds she ate in the underworld created a magical bond she could not break.  She was doomed to return to Hades for three months each year.  This complicated story is about birth and death, cycles and seasons, sabotage and fate.  She was kidnapped and raped by her husband Hades who planned to keep her forever.  Persephone’s mother, Demeter, goddess of fertility, went into such a tizzy about her daughter’s kidnapping that Zeus, her husband, finally relented and brought Persephone back to her.  The entire incident could have ended at that, but the pomegranate seeds she ate magically sealed her relationship with Hades and the underworld.  She was, after all, since her kidnapping and rape, the queen of the underworld.  Now we have three months of winter, and during that time Demeter will not produce crops or warmth for the land.  Each spring when Persephone returns from her underground realm life begins anew and Demeter gets busy providing ample food for humans.

The ruby red color and the delicious taste of the pomegranate makes an exotic ingredient in all kinds of dishes and drinks.  Here are a few ways to honor Persephone and enjoy the season:

Pomegranate molasses is available at Middle Eastern grocery stores, and is a wonderful ingredient.  It is very handy at the bar.  This beautiful alcohol free drink is named after the queen of the underworld:

Last but certainly not least I leave you with a recipe for an exotic cocktail with chocolate covered pomegranate seeds:

Enjoy!!!

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