Best Plants for San Diego: Growing & Eating Pomegranates

Growing and eating pomegranates is very popular right now.  These beautiful fruits are some of the best plants for growing in San Diego. 

Pomegranates, also known as Punica granatum, are grown for their fruit crop and as ornamental trees and shrubs.  They provide beautiful fall color in our local landscapes.  The fact that they grow fast, that they use so little water and that they produce the most remarkable fruits just proves why they should be appreciated more. 

Pomegranates have been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region of the world.  In the United States, they are cultivated in Arizona and California.  Have you heard of the amazing benefits of pomegranate juice?  According to some accounts, this beautiful fruit can help us by boosting our immunity, improving digestion, easing inflammation and can even help with fine lines and wrinkles!  Wow, what a fruit! 

But I wonder if all the claims are too good to be true?  I also read that plenty of these studies have been funded and organized by drink makers trying to sell this awesome fruit in a variety of ways.  The one thing I do know is that they are delicious when used freshly on salads, in teas and craft cocktails, rice and grain pilafs, juiced and almost anything you can dream up! 

Pomegranates are in season from the beginning of September and available through January.  When selecting them at the store, pick heavy fruits and store in a zip locked bag in the refrigerator.  When planting them, there are quite a few varieties available in the San Diego region to the local homeowner.  One of the bigger varieties for growing in hot inland climates is the ‘Wonderful’ cultivar, growing roughly 10′ T & W.  Another variety available and suitable for our region is ‘Parfianka’ and is noted as receiving high praise for overall flavor.  Pomegranates are available at our local San Diego nurseries, including Kniffings Nursery-El Cajon, CA.

Ripe Pomegranates on a 3 year old ‘Wonderful’ shrub.

How to remove seeds from a pomegranate

The pomegranate is an ornate fruit that contains a maze of seeds enclosed in inedible flesh.   At first it can be daunting to cut into one, but there is an easy way to get to all those nutritious, juicy, sweet seeds.

  1. First, cut off the crown.
  2. Score and slice the rind all around, but don’t cut the rind all the way through.
  3. Soak the pomegranate face down in a bowl of cold water for about ten minutes.
  4. Break apart the scored rinds while still in the water and remove the seeds from the flesh (the seeds will sink to the bottom of your bowl).
  5. Remove the membrane and rind from the bowl with a sieve or spoon.
  6. Drain the seeds with a colander and pat dry with a paper towel.

To get the most out of a pomegranate, enjoy the seeds while they’re at their freshest and juiciest!

If you are needing help finding a place to plant pomegranates in your yard, please look for Tracey at Botaniscapes by Tracey!