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UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center

Pomegranates for Now


This menu page provides access to general and specific information, a description of the University of Florida pomegranate project, a list of plant accessions in our collection,, a cultural guide, pest and disease information and various other resources. Just select a category from the drop down menu to jump to a topic.


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  • Contacts

    Citrus Research and Education Center
    700 Experiment Station Rd.
    Lake Alfred, FL 33850

  • Announcements

    Friday, October 10, 2014. Annual Meeting of the Florida Pomegranate Association to be held at the UF/CREC, Lake Alfred. The program will feature guest speakers from California and Uruguay, lunch and a fruit tasting. SPONSORS and EXHIBITORS are welcomed

  • How to eat a Pomegranate

    How to eat a Pomegranate

    To eat a fresh pomegranate, slice off a piece of the skin on the stem end to create a flat surface (upper left); ring the blossom end to remove a "cap" of the skin and expose the interior of the fruit (upper right); score the skin along each side of the segments (lower left) and then pull the fruit apart (lower right) to expose the seeds which are then easily removed from the supporting tissue. (Jeff Moersfelder, USDA National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Davis, CA, provided the method; Kathy Snyder, CREC, provided the images and an unknown California grower provided the fruit.)

  • Pomegranate project mission and objectives

    The pomegranate has a certain natural appeal because it is such an unusual fruit, one that is quite different from the common fruits such as bananas and apples consumed in the U.S. Part of its appeal may relate to its long history of cultivation. The pomegranate is an edible fruit of antiquity that ranks right along with the date, fig, and olive. Also, there is considerable current consumer interest in pomegranate because of its reputation as a healthy fruit and juice.

      The major producers of pomegranate are India, Iran, Turkey, and Spain, and in the U.S, California is the major grower. The reputation of pomegranate has benefitted considerably from the aggressive marketing effort of a California company and their product, POM Wonderful® which is derived from the ‘Wonderful’ cultivar. Their efforts have greatly raised the awareness of pomegranate.

      The pomegranate is native to regions of the Middle East (Persia, e.g., Iran), and Southeast Asia (e.g., Turkmenistan and Afghanistan), areas with relatively cold winters and arid, but hot summers. The species is not generally considered to be suitable for climates such those of the southeastern U.S. where the winters can be cold, but the weather is humid during the warmer months of the year. Nevertheless, pomegranates have been a dooryard plant in South Georgia and Florida for decades. We have discovered plants in the Florida Panhandle area near Marianna and Perry that are ca. 100 and 80 years old, respectively. However, the origin of many dooryard plants is unknown. Furthermore, as we have visited nurseries to add plants to our collection, it became clear that it would be helpful to establish a collection of known cultivars and begin a systematic evaluation of their potential in Florida.

      Determining the commercial potential of pomegranate in Florida has never been attempted. Therefore, we initiated a pomegranate project with these objectives:
    1. Collect pomegranate selections and cultivars and establish mother blocks.
    2. Propagate from the collection and provide plants to interested grower.
    3. Establish cooperative projects and evaluate the selections.

      We chose these objectives because, while it is already apparent that pomegranate plants will grow in at least central Florida and northward into southern Georgia, it is not known whether the plants will produce acceptable quantities of good quality fruit especially for commercial purposes. We see these options:
    1. Fresh fruit grown conventionally or organically. Particularly intriguing would be to grow the fruit as a small farm enterprise and market it locally.
    2. Fruit grown by either method for juice which might alter the cultural program towards less use of pesticides. Particularly appealing with this option is to grow fruit for juicing in a small retail outlet and possibly blending with other juices such as blueberry or peach. Equipment for countertop operations to produce single glasses of juice or small quantities for bottling is readily available via the internet.
    3. Pomegranates grown as an ornamental for the homeowner and the Edible Landscape.
    4. Produce fruit for extracting and marketing of the arils. A brief search of the internet will reveal the variety of commercial equipment available for juicing the fruit and extracting and packaging arils.

  • Why Grow Pomegranates?

    California PomegranatePomegranate (Punica granatum L.) may have potential as an alternative crop for citrus in Florida and also as a crop for small farmers.  If you are not familiar with the plant and fruit, that's ok.  It is sufficient to know that both the plant and the fruit are beautiful and the juice is very healthy. Pomegranate is also very well suited to an edible landscape (You haven't heard of such a landscape?  Click on this link: ).

    First reason:  The health benefits associated with pomegranate fruit and juice are well known.  Dark- colored berry fruit like pomegranate generally are loaded with anti-oxidants and other components that aid your health (see Antioxidant Activity of Pomegranate Juice and Its Relationship with Phenolic Composition and Processing, University of California, J. Agric. Food Chem., 2000, 48 (10), pp 4581–4589).   The pomegranate has been described as "the most medicinal fruit in the world" partly because it is rich in thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins B6, B9, and C, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

    Second reason:  They are fun to grow and eat!

    Third reason:  The range of cultivars and their traits is eye-opening.  The fruit has been cultivated for centuries and is well established as a species of considerable ethnic importance.  There are selections used commercially for their fruit and juice, other selections that are dwarf and others used as ornamentals.  Fruit size and color range from yellow to pink to bright red with the portion that you eat (the aril) also varying in color from white to pink to dark red.  Seed texture can be hard (essentially inedible) to medium to soft.  Those selections with soft seeds allow a consumer to open the fruit and scoop out the contents and eat everything without having to separate the pulp from the seeds. 

  • Botany

    The Punicaceae family has only two members one of which is Punica granatum, the pomegranate of commerce. The Punicaceae family belongs to the Order Myrtales which includes Corymbia torelliana, a plant being used as a windbreak around citrus in Florida, Eucalyptus, Melaleuca, Jaboticaba, and guava.             

    The pomegranate is a naturally bushy, multi-stemmed plant that tends to maintain its bushiness because of suckers routinely arising from the base. Plants grow to heights of ca. 10-12 feet and commercially are often trained to a single trunk or sometimes three stems (Fig. 1). The plant is normally deciduous. New spring shoots tend to be thin and weepy with thorns. The leaves are shiny and dark green. The plant is essentially monoecious with two types of showy flowers produced on new growth each spring. Flowering may occur over several months with some flowers still being produced into late summer/early fall, but the major bloom period is the spring.

    A flower is either male or hermaphroditic. The latter flower type is bell-shaped and self-fertile. Hermaphroditic flowers produce fruit. Male flowers are more trumpet-shaped and do not set fruit. Flower color for many cultivars is orange-red to brilliant red and there are some, especially ornamental types, with “double” flowers (i.e., with extra petals) or some that are pink, white, or some combination of those colors and red. Pollination primarily by insects (bees) leads to fruit set and the development of the inferior ovary.

    The mature pomegranate fruit is large, usually 3 inches in diameter, and sometimes as large as 4 to 5 inches. Fruit generally mature in 5 to 8 months and often change from round to a slightly squared-out shape. The fruit of different cultivars are quite diverse in their color, taste, and certain other traits. Peel color ranges from a light yellow to “black” or very dark red/purple. The fruit is distinctive because it retains the calyx (petals + sepals) at one end of the fruit giving the fruit the appearance at maturity of having a small crown attached to it. Internally, the fruit consists of a series of chambers (locules) separated by a membranous septum. Inside each chamber are the seeds which each have a fleshy outgrowth (aril) that contains the edible juice. The seeds range in hardness from very hard (not edible) to soft (easily consumed). The color of the arils also ranges from a light, virtually white, color to very dark red or purple. The flavor of the juice can be inedibly tart to bland to sweet or sweet/tart depending on acidity. Typical soluble solids values for fruit grown in California are 15 to 18%.

    Pomegranate seeds

    The terms “seed” and “aril” are often used interchangeably as if they defined the same thing which is not true. Technically speaking, the “seed” has two parts: the crunchy interior structure that is the part that contains the embryo and is sometimes eaten if it is not perceived to be too hard, and the juicy part or the aril. The aril is a fleshy outgrowth of the seed coat and provides the color of the juice.

  • Culture

    Anyone interested in growing pomegranates is likely to discover that, while it is an ancient crop, it has not been widely studied in a systematic manner, an assessment that applies to cultural practices. The following is a summary of cultural information where there appears to be a reasonable and consistent foundation for the information.

      Climate, soils, water quality, irrigation. The pomegranate plant is adaptive to a wide range of environmental and soil conditions, but is usually described as requiring a long, hot, dry season to crop properly. There are mixed reviews about its tolerance to salinity and calcareous soils indicating the need for further investigation. The plant is very cold hardy, but is not tolerant of wet conditions. It is responsive to irrigation as a recommended practice, perhaps with water not containing more than 2,000 ppm salt. However, plants in Israel have been irrigated with 4,000 to 6,000 ppm saline water with effects on vegetative growth but without significant injury to the plant.

      Fertilization. There are few reports on formal fertilization studies, but supplying the usual essential elements apparently improves commercial performance. In Israel, Spain, India, and other regions, pomegranates are fertigated while in other places the plants are supplied with dry fertilizers. Some attempts have been made to establish leaf nutrient standards through research  and some data have been developed privately, e.g., in California. Some evidence suggests that careful attention to certain nutrients can affect aril weight and fruit size without altering juice quality.

       Propagation, orchard design, tree training. Pomegranates are readily propagated from stem cuttings of various size and age. They root easily with application of commercial hormone products and placement in a mist bed. They can also root when placed directly into orchard soil. Pomegranates can be propagated from seed. They have a relatively short juvenile period and can begin flowering in one year, but more typically after 2 or 3 years.

      Good light interception is considered essential for cropping and fruit development. Thus, plants are usually widely spaced, ca. 10-12 x 20 ft. and trained to a form that minimizes the willowy young branches that bend under the weight of fruit. The plants are often trained to one to three trunks with an open vase canopy. In some instances, a single trunk is formed and three main branches diverge 1 or 2 ft from the ground to form the open vase. 

      Pests and diseases. Reviews of pomegranate culture have long lists of pests and diseases that include various insects, fungi, and bacteria. Among the insects, aphids appear to be common to most regions where pomegranates are grown especially among young plants at the propagation stage. Other insect pests are some of those common to citrus in Florida like mealy bugs, thrips, and various mites, but pomegranates are not listed as a significant host for Med fly (Thomas et al., 2010). Less information appears to be known about the Caribfly which has been found in much of peninsula Florida infesting guava and other soft fruits and occasionally citrus. In one study conducted only in the Miami area without any observation on seasonality of infestation, pomegranate was listed as a host of this pest (see Swanson and Baranowski and the DPI publication). Root knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, has been reported to be a serious pest.

      The more serious problems are diseases caused by fungi and bacteria. Among these are leaf spotting, that can lead to leaf drop, caused by Cercospora punicae  fruit blemishes also caused by Cercospora sp. and fruit decay that renders fruit inedible. The bacterial genera Botrysphaeria and Alternaria along with others are implicated as sources of fruit rot problems.

  • Pomegranate Health Benefits

    …..prepared by
    Jill Taufer, Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist
    Program Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences
    University of Florida/IFAS Volusia County Extension

      Pomegranates have a rich history. They appear in Greek mythology, Egyptian tomb paintings, and are even mentioned in the Old Testament. Did these ancient cultures hold the pomegranate in such high esteem for their aesthetic beauty or is there more to the pomegranate story? There is evidence that over 2000 years ago the people of the Mediterranean used various parts of the pomegranate to treat a variety of ailments.

      Modern science suggests this unique fruit does indeed provide health benefits. Pomegranates are high in polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins. These plant chemicals (also called phytochemicals)  act as antioxidants, decreasing oxidation in the body and protecting cells from free radical damage. The antioxidants in pomegranates also reduce inflammation and may have anti-aging effects. You won’t see the 122 phytochemicals found in pomegranate juice listed on the nutrition facts label. What you will see is that an 8 oz serving has 150 calories, is a good source of folate and potassium, and very good source of vitamin K. The juice also provides 5% of your daily value for vitamins E, B6, and pantothenic acid. The edible portions of the fruit are the seeds which contain two parts. The aril is the colorful pulp filled sac that houses a tiny seed called the embryo which can be soft or hard. There are hundreds of arils in each pomegranate. The fruit is a bit challenging to eat but that’s what makes it fun. One medium pomegranate yields about 5 oz of fruit delivering 100 calories. Eating the whole seeds with the embryo has the added benefit of fiber and provides about 40% of the daily requirement for vitamin C. Commercial pomegranate juice has been pasteurized for safety, which destroys the vitamin C.

    Heart Health

      There is a significant body of research indicating that pomegranates boost heart health. Studies reveal that the diverse and rich antioxidant content decreases inflammation and thickening of the artery walls. Pomegranate juice also seems to prevent blood cells called platelets from clumping together, reducing the buildup of cholesterol and plaque. Other research indicates reduction of blood cholesterol and blood pressure when pomegranate juice is included in a well-balanced diet. Scientists attribute heart healthy benefits to polyphenols, including anthocyanins, which are plant pigments that give the pomegranate its attractive red hue. Anthocyanins also add nutritional value to other berries such as strawberries and blueberries. Although a pomegranate has no resemblance to these other fruits the edible portion is a berry.

      More clinical research is needed as a number of the studies investigating pomegranates role with heart health were conducted with small sample sizes. Also, keep in mind that consuming the fruit or juice in its whole unprocessed state is always best. The 2009 article “Pomegranate juice: a heart–healthy fruit juice,” published in Nutrition Reviews states, “Observational studies and clinical trials investigating the cardiovascular health benefits of fruits and vegetables, attribute these effects to the combination of phytochemicals, fiber, and other nutrients in whole food intake, rather than the sole effects of an individual component.” This Oklahoma State University report recommends that pomegranate juice be included in a heart-healthy diet.


      Pomegranate’s high antioxidant content also has scientists investigating a potential role in decreasing the risk of certain cancers. Most studies have focused on the ability of pomegranate juice or juice concentrate to inhibit the growth of prostate, breast, colon and lung cancer. There are several pathways that seem to slow the growth of cancer cells. The ellagitannins found in pomegranates have the ability to prevent cancer cells from becoming mobile. Studies also show reduced blood supply to tumors which prevents cancer cells from obtaining nutrients. This was demonstrated in a 2008 study published in the International Journal of Oncology. Mice that had been inoculated with human prostate cancer cells received a four week treatment of pomegranate juice extract. The results showed a significant decrease in tumor size and tumor vessel density. Health organizations, including the American Institute for Cancer Research, caution that most studies have been done in test tubes or with animals. More research is needed to determine specific antitumor-promoting effects in humans.

    Other Considerations

      Health benefits still under investigation include antiviral and antibacterial properties. Pomegranates also have an anti-inflammatory effect which some studies suggest are beneficial for individuals with arthritis.

      How much is needed to get health benefits? Research has shown some heart health benefits from as little as two ounces of pomegranate juice a day. This is good news because an eight ounce serving contains 31 grams of sugar. Individuals taking prescription medications who want to add pomegranates to their diet should first discuss the possibility of drug-nutrient interaction with their physician or pharmacist. The high vitamin K content may counteract the work of blood thinners. Also, pomegranate may affect how quickly the liver breaks down certain medications including prescription drugs for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

      Consumer demand for pomegranates has increased considerably in the past decade.  The slightly tart flavor balanced with a refreshing sweetness appeals to many. Individuals are also becoming more aware of pomegranate’s reputation as a healthy choice. As awareness of health benefits increases, more individuals are choosing pomegranates as a delicious addition to a healthy diet.

  • Fruit Uses, Recipes, and Storage

    …..prepared by
    Kathleen M. Bryant, Extension Agent III, Family & Consumer Sciences
    University of Florida, IFAS Extension, Volusia County Extension

    How to Buy

      When ripe, the outer skin of the pomegranate becomes soft and can be scratched under gentle pressure.  The shape changes with the sides becoming slightly squared; it will look flattened on the sides.   As the seeds or arils as they are called reach their maximum juice content, they press against the outer wall and cause the sides to flatten.  Pomegranate color ripens to a deep red shade on the outside.  Before ripening, the skin is hard, tight and cannot be easily scratched.  Unripe pomegranate fruit is round in shape much like an apple. It is considered ready for harvest when the fruit makes a metallic sound when tapped.  If the fruit becomes over-mature, it tends to crack open if rained upon. 

      Once a pomegranate is picked it stops ripening but develops more flavor in storage.  Select fruit that are weighty for their size with taut, glossy, unbroken skin.

    Tips for Storage

      Pomegranate keeping quality is similar to that of apples.  They should be kept in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place, out of direct sunlight.  Whole fruit can be refrigerated and will keep as long as 2 months.  Fresh seeds or juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.   

      Pomegranate arils can be frozen for later use.  To freeze, spread the arils, single layer, on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.  Put them in the freezer for no more than 2 hours, then transfer to a moisture, vapor-proof freezer bag or container for storage.  Return to the freezer and use within one year.

      The juice can be frozen or canned, however freezing is recommended as it maintains its flavor and color better.  To freeze, fill freezer containers, leaving ½ inch headspace.  Label with the date and store in the freezer in an upright position until juice is frozen.  Best if used within one year.

    Fruit Uses

      The edible portion of the fruit includes the seeds and the juice-filled sacs that cover them.  They can be used as a garnish in fruit cups, compotes, salads, desserts, and as a snack.  The juice is used to make jellies, puddings, desserts, and drinks.  Grenadine is made from pomegranate juice and is used as a flavoring for some beverages.  Grenadine is a delicious topping for chilled fruits or ice cream.  Additionally, dried pomegranates seeds and juice sacs are available as spices in specialty stores.


    Pomegranate Jelly
    Yield about 6 half-pints
    3 ½ cups pomegranate juice (about 5 pounds) 1 package powdered pectin
    5 cups sugar
    To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 3 ½ cups juice.
    To make jell:  Combine juice and powdered pectin in a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Return to a rolling boil.  Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary.  Ladle hot jelly into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace.  Adjust two-piece caps.  Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath canner.
    Source:  Ball Blue Book of preserving 2008.
    Pomegranate Sauce
    Yield about 4 half-pints
    5 cups pomegranate juice (about 10 large fruit) ½ cup lemon juice
    1 cup sugar
    To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 4 cups juice.
    To make sauce:  Combine juice with sugar and stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat just to simmering and simmer three to five minutes.  Cool.  Store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or freeze.  Use as toppings for ice cream or chilled fruits, or in beverages.
    Source:  Preserve the Harvest, Pomegranates, Utah State University, Utah Cooperative Extension Service, June 2005
    Grenadine Syrup
    4 cups pomegranate juice 2 cups sugar
    To prepare juice: Cut pomegranates in half.  Extract juice from red seeds with a juice reamer.  Strain juice through a damp jelly bag or several layers of cheesecloth.  Measure 4 cups.
    To prepare syrup: Combine juice with sugar and stir to dissolve sugar.  Heat just to simmering and simmer three to five minutes.  Cool.  Store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks or freeze.  Use as toppings for ice cream or chilled fruits, or in beverages.
    Source:  Preserve the Harvest, Pomegranates, Utah State University, Utah Cooperative Extension Service, June 2005
    Pomegranate Grenadine
    3 cups pomegranate juice
    Take 3 cups pomegranate juice and boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, and skim the froth till the juice reduces to 1 cup. Cool, bottle, and store in the refrigerator. This can be added to soups, sauces, and marinades for a rich, tart flavor.
    Recipe from
    Spinach Pomegranate Salad
    1 (10 ounce) bag spinach leaves, rinsed and drained
    ¼ red onion, sliced very thin
    ½ cup walnut pieces
    ½ cup walnut pieces
    ½ cup crumbled feta
    ¼ cup alfalfa sprouts
    1 pomegranate, peeled and seeds separated
    4 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
    Place spinach in a salad bowl. Top with red onion, walnuts, feta, and sprouts. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds over the top, and drizzle with vinaigrette.
    Recipe from
    Ginger Orange Pomegranate Relish Recipe
    Seeds of 2 medium pomegranates (about 1½ cups)
    1 tablespoon finely chopped orange zest on orange juice
    ½ tablespoon grated fresh ginger
    1 tablespoon honey
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Gently mix all ingredients together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. Recipe from
    Pomegranate and Kiwi Salsa
    3-4 ripe kiwifruit, peeled, carefully chopped
    ¼ cup pomegranate arils
    ½ avocado, peeled and chopped
    1 heaping tablespoon thinly sliced green onion
    1 tablespoon (adjust to taste) chopped fresh or pickled jalapeno chili peppers
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
    1 teaspoon olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Place the kiwifruit, pomegranate seeds, avocado, green onion and olive oil in a medium sized bowl. Gently fold in 1 teaspoon of jalapeno and add more to your desired level of heat. add cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste. Recipe from
    Sweet Potatoes with Coconut, Pomegranate, and Lime
    4 sweet potatoes
    ½ cup light coconut milk
    ¼ toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
    2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
    1 cup pomegranate seeds
    Lime wedges
    Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange sweet potatoes, pricked with a fork, on baking sheet and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Slice tops and mash sweet potatoes with a fork. Divide coconut milk, coconut flakes, cilantro, and pomegranate seeds among sweet potatoes. Serve with lime wedges. Recipe from
    Pomegranate Princess
    38 cup pomegranate juice
    38 cup fresh lemonade
    1 ½ oz. sparkling water
    Lemon slice for garnish
    Mint sprig for garnish
    Fill a tall tumbler glass a little more than halfway with ice cubes. Pour 38cup fresh lemonade into the glass, up to the halfway mark. Slowly add pomegranate juice. (The goal is to create a mix of half lemonade and half pomegranate juice, so adjust accordingly for the size of your glass). Add sparkling water and stir. Recipe from
    Pomegranate Chicken Salad
    Seeds from two pomegranates
    ½ cup golden raisins
    1 pount cooked chicken breast meat, cut into 1 inch chunks
    13 cup toasted sliced almonds
    1 chopped apple
    ½ cup chopped celery
    1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
    ¼ to ½ teaspoon curry powder
    13 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    In a large mixing bowl, combine the ponegranate seeds, raisins, chicken, almonds, apple, celery, parsley, green onion, and curry powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Pour in the chicken mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
    Pomegranate Gelatin
    4 cups pomegranate juice
    3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
    ¾ cup sugar
    Pour 1 cup of pomegranate juice in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin over top. Set aside until the gelatin blooms, 3-4 minutes. Whish the remaining pomegranate juice and sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat until boiling. Lightly stir in the gelatin mixture until it dissolves. Pour the gelatin into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover and refrigerate until set, about 3 hours or overnight. Cut the pomegranate gelatin into cubes and serve with fresh fruits, such as bananas, pears, and oranges. Recipe from

    Pomegranates Other Uses

    • Peel: tooth powders, toothpastes, facial care products, coughing remedies, supplement in cow feed.

    • Trunk Bark: tannins used to cure leather, in making insecticides, alkaloids are active against tapeworms.

    • Rind and Flowers: yield dyes for textiles, used to reduce oral and throat inflammation, buds used to treat bronchitis.

    • Leaves: mixed with vinegar to make ink.

    • Fruit: extracts used as astringents, fruits used in ornamental decorations.

    • Wood: used for walking-sticks and in woodcrafts.

    How to Extract Arils

    • Begin with plastic gloves and an apron, pomegranates are messy!

    • Cut off the crown end and score vertically into several segments.

    • Place pomegranate in a bowl of water, carefully break segments apart, and separate arils from the wall of the fruit.

    • Arils will sink while peel floats. Skim unwanted peel from top of water and drain arils in a colander.

  • Starting and Managing a Pomegranate Enterprise

    Orchard design and site preparation PDF
    Interactive Guide to Selecting Florida-Grown Pomegranates PDF
    Visual Comparison of the Fruit and Seeds [Arils] of Florida-Grown Pomegranate Varieties PDF
    Propagation PDF

    Locating Pomegranate Nursery Plants

    Nutritional Guidelines

    Tasting Florida Poms: A Video Journey

    Taste Test Results and Description of Georgia Cultivars

    Fruit available in the 2011 and 2012 field days at Water Conserv II was presented to attendees for tasting. Generally, a whole fruit was available for examination along with extracted seeds. After tasting, evaluators were asked to select either a green, yellow or red slip of paper to reflect their like, uncertainty or dislike, respectively, of the seeds. Those ballots were counted and are presented in the tables of results available by clicking here. Also, in most instances, a handful of seeds were crushed within a piece of cheesecloth over a beaker. The Brix value of a sample of expressed juice was then measured with a handheld refractometer. Fruit available for tasting in other events such as the 1st and 2nd Florida Pomegranate Association Annual Meeting was also evaluated and the results are posted here.  

    Note that the number of people tasting the seeds varied between tastings. Therefore, the interpretation of the information leading to decisions regarding which cultivars appear to be the most promising should be based largely on the consistency of results. A further caveat: Virtually all Florida-grown fruit have so far been sampled in late August to early September. It is clear from the results that that time period is not ideal for some of the cultivars that are later-maturing and, therefore, have not developed their fullest color or flavor. The tendency to dismiss those low-scoring cultivars should be resisted.
    Cultivar taste results and descriptions of fruit grown in Georgia are available here.

    Taste test results:  Florida Pomegranate Association 3rd Annual Meeting, 2014

    32 cultivars were assembled for tasting.  Many selections were obtained from Georgia, some from Florida and a few from California.  All fruit had been harvested in early October 2014.  Ratings and Brix data were collected as described above.  The taste results [[Table 7] are presented in rank order based on the number of “likes” or “green” ballots.  The descriptions of the seeds and juice flavor [Table 8] are presented in alphabetical order by cultivar name.

    Taste test results:  Florida Pomegranate Association 4rd Annual Meeting, 2015

    15 cultivars were assembled for tasting. Most selections were from Georgia with a few from Florida. The Georgia fruit were harvested at the end of September and put into storage. The Florida fruit were harvested on October 21, 2015, which is a late harvest date. Ratings and Brix data were collected as described above. The taste results [Table 9] are presented in rank order based on the number of "likes" or "green" ballots.

  • Field Projects

    Cooperator field trials and field days

    As of 2011, nearly 5,000 plants were distributed to interested parties. Some plants were provided to homeowners and hobbyists, others were given to nursery folks and to individuals and companies for field trials. The program has since been discontinued. Also, the Water Conserv II project was ended and the pomegranate plants removed. Field days were held until 2012.

    Handouts for all field days:

    • September 15, 2010 (PDF)
    • May 10, 2011 (PDF)
    • August 30, 2011 (PDF)
    • August 23, 2012 (PDF)

    Water Conserv II

    Foundation Block.  Click Here for a collection of photographs and Information regarding the past and current status of the plants at this location.  The Foundation block was removed in 2016.

      August 30, 2011 Taste Test Results and Caveats.  The first taste test was held on this date using fruit carefully selected from 14 selections for representative size and apparent maturity among the plants established in May 2009 [Caveat: It was evident later that the fruit varied in maturity based on taste and color development]. 

      For tasting, the arils were extracted from a typical fruit or two and put on display.  Colored slips of green, yellow or red paper were placed by each bowl of arils.  After tasting, participants were asked to select a slip of paper that matched their reaction to the tasting where GREEN = acceptable with good flavor, YELLOW = marginal taste and flavor, and RED = unacceptable.  Participants were also asked to briefly note on the paper slips the reason(s) for selecting a particular color, e.g., good flavor, too acid or soft or hard seeds.  Later, the slips were tallied and the outcome is reported in Table 1. (click here[Caveat: Note that the number of participants varied for each selection because of differences in the sample size available among cultivars.  Post-tasting interviews indicated that the reactions to the selections varied considerably.]

      The juice of arils from a fruit or two of each selection was tested for its Brix value using a handheld refractometer. Those data are also presented in Table 1Table 1 (click ) and ranged from the low 11.0 value for Surh-anor to 15.3 for Kazake. 

      Observations [by participants and Bill Castle] on fruit size, peel color development, aril size and color, seed hardness and flavor are presented in Table 2 The cultivars are listed alphabetically.  [Caveat: Some of the ratings are subjective and relative such as fruit size, others were readily apparent like aril color and some ratings were mostly subjective like flavor.  It must also be noted that no good measures of fruit maturity was used in rating the fruit.  Many fruit may not have been at peak maturity.  Therefore, it is very likely that certain traits would change as the season progressed.]

      What’s noteworthy?  Despite Florida’s hot, rainy and humid summer weather, several cultivars developed good aril color and the peel was clearly undergoing color change.  Noteworthy in that regard were Desertnyi and Wonderful.  The fruit of a few cultivars had good sugar [Brix] development, but also still had high acid values while others had comparatively good sugar content and mild or pleasant flavor. 

      The cultivars in Table 1 are listed according to the number of GREEN slips.  Some cultivars rated relatively high.  [Caveat:  In reviewing the results, note that a high percentage of GREEN slips does not necessarily mean that the cultivar was the best one.  The taste test did not account for differences in fruit maturity.  Cultivars with many GREEN responses may have just been early ripening and, thus, better tasting than those that ripen later.  For example, Surh-anor had low Brix, but large fruit and very few of its fruit had succumbed as of the field day to the rot caused by the fungus, Botryosphaeria.] 

  • Presentations

    • To see various presentations, video clips and other related items about pomegranates in Florida, click here.

    FL Pomegranate Association Presentations, September 14, 2012

    Contemporary Issues of Florida Agriculture
    Mike Stuart, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association

    Pomegranate Cultivars
    Jeff Moersfelder, Nat’l Clonal Germplasm Repository, CA

    Marketing Pomegranates
    Dr. Lisa House, Director, FL Agric. Market Research Center

    Basic Plant Nutrition and Pomegranate Fertilization
    Dr. Mongi Zekri, UF Cooperative Extension, Hendry County

    Basic Plant Nutrition and Pomegranate Fertilization
    Mickey Page, Research Farm Manager, Mid Fla. Citrus Foundation

    The Health Benefits of Pomegranates
    Kathleen Bryant, UF Cooperative Extension, Volusia County

    Pomegranates at the University of Georgia Ponder Farm
    Dr. Juan Diaz-Perez, Professor, UGA, Tifton

    Pomegranates in Georgia
    John Tanner, GA Pomegranate Association

    Pomegranate Propagation; UF website, and What to Plant?
    Dr. Bill Castle, UF/IFAS Professor Emeritus

    FL Pomegranate Association Presentations, September 13, 2013

    Tasty Pomegranate Dishes Prepared Right Before Your Eyes
    Chef David Bearl, UF/IFAS Program for Resource Efficient Communities

    The California Pomegranate Industry: Trends and Production Insights
    Kevin Day, Tree Fruit Advisor, University of California Extension Service, Tulare County
          A comprehensive review of the California pomegranate business including the number of acres and other statistics, canopy training and management methods, nutrition, pests and diseases, harvesting and postharvest storage as well as reference sites for additional information.

    Health Benefits of Pomegranates
    Jill Taufer, Registered Dietician, UF-IFAS, Volusia County Extension Service
         An excellent review of the nutritional value in pomegranates and their phytochemical and antioxidant contents along with other health benefits of the pomegranate fruit and juice; a recipe for pomegranate cooler, storage tips and other uses; and, a reference to further information about cancer and pomegranates.

    Observations on Pomegranate Cultivars Growing in Central Florida
    Emory McTeer, Blueberry and Pomegranate Grower, Haines City, FL
          An overview of a University of Florida pomegranate cooperator with information about cultural practices, favorite selections to date and the potential use of Dormex [hydrogen cyanamide] to assist pomegranate growers with issues related to winter chilling and flowering.

    Propagating Pomegranates via Cuttings: Some Commercial Experience
    Debbi Gaw, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, Alachua, FL and Cindy Weinstein, Green Sea Farms, Zolfo Springs, FL
         A well-illustrated presentation about propagation by cuttings and the associated facilities. The presentation shows plants at various stages of the process including the size and type of cuttings used most successfully for rooting.

  • Presentations

    FL Pomegranate Association Presentations, October 10, 2014

    Horticulture and GMOs: Current Status and the Future
    Kevin Folta, Chairman Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida
         A brief story of transgenic plants, how they are produced and
    their importance in commerce today along with some insights
    about the application of the concept to pomegranates.

    Botryosphaeria: A Manageable Disease in Pomegranates?
    Themis Michailides, Plant Pathologist, University of California, Kearny Agr. Center
         A review of fungal problems encountered with California crops
    especially Botryosphaeria on pistachio and the strategies developed
    to manage those diseases.  Field trial data are presented.  The
    California experience is related to pomegranates in Florida.

    Growing and Marketing Pomegranates in Uruguay
    Anibal Paz Marty, Consultant
         The 50-acre Uruguayan pomegranate industry was described
    beginning with a review of climatic indices used to determine the
    suitability of Uruguay versus central Florida for pomegranates
    followed by a focus on commercial and experimental varieties
    and their propagation, planting, cultural management and harvesting.

    University of Florida, Pomegranate Grant: Update
    Gary Vallad, Plant Pathologist, UF/Gulf Coast Research & Education Center
         A Specialty Crop Block Grant was awarded to a group of UF
    faculty members.  Work had been initiated to explore breeding
    for disease resistance and to survey pests and diseases to define
    existing problems. Initial results were presented.

    Pomegranates in Georgia: Update
    Erick Smith, Horticulturist, University of Georgia, Tifton
        A review of the origin and lore of pomegranates. Characterization data and other information were presented on fruit from mature bearing plants with emphasis on differences among cultivars.

    A Pretty Subject: Pomegranate Flowers and Flowering
    Justin Porter, Purdue University
         An excellent review of work conducted in recent years to
    learn the basics of flowering in pomegranate and how the information
    can be applied to farming pomegranates.

    Exciting Results from the UF/CREC Pomegranate Project
    Bill Castle, Horticulturist, UF/Citrus Research & Education Center
         After the propagation and distribution of about 8,000 plants to
    various cooperators throughout Florida, observational data were
    collected and plants rated for flowering and tree growth and condition. 
    The results were presented and interpretations leading to identifying
    best cultivars were offered based on consistency of observations.

    FL Pomegranate Association Presentations, October 23, 2015

    What Exactly is a Pomegranate Cultivar?
    Dr. John Preece, Supervisory Research Leader, Horticulturist,
    National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Davis, CA

      A story about the history of pomegranates and their propagation, the collection at the National Clonal Germplasm Repository, Davis, CA and the characteristics of the fruit and juice among various selections in the repository. The presentation also included information about the traits of various pomegranate selections and an analysis of their relationships [clustering] as scientists try to understand the origin of pomegranate cultivars.

    The Arizona Pomegranate Story
    Dr. Glenn Wright, Associate Professor and Tree Fruit Specialist,
    University of Arizona – Yuma Agriculture Center

      Pomegranates, while a new commercial venture in Arizona, are an old crop dating back to the original Spanish missionaries. The commercial potential of pomegranate is under evaluation at three sites in southern Arizona. This presentation included a report on the sites, the performance of the pom plants at each site and the results to date.

    Update on the UF Pomegranate Grant
    Dr. Gary Vallad, Plant Pathologist, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm
      Significant progress was achieved in pathology and breeding since the last annual meeting. The pesticide results are reported herein including the details about good results from controlled and field trials with an array of pesticides. The pesticide results were sufficiently encouraging to pursue certain chemicals for further study and subsequent registration for use in Florida.

    Pomegranates in Georgia: An Update
    Will Lovett, University of Georgia, Bacon County Extension
      The Georgia pomegranate industry centered in Alma has developed such that it now provides sufficient fruit for commercial exploration to take place. A seed extraction machine was obtained for pilot-scale operations. An update was provided along with a summary of yield data now being collected and a video clip of the extraction machine in operation.

    Discoveries of an Heirloom Pomegranate Collector
    Richard Bonsteel and Debbie Bice, PomNatural
      Florida's and Georgia's backyards are teeming with old pomegranate plants that have been maintained through a number of generations. Those heirloom plants range in age from 50 to 100+ years. This presentation described and gave the history of several interesting local pomegranates.

    FL Pomegranate Association Annual Meeting Presentations, September 30, 2016

    Updates from Pomegranate Breeding
    Dr. Zhanao Deng, Professor
    UF/ IFAS – Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm

      Breeding populations have been established in a trial site at the GCREC.  Natural leaf spotting was assessed.  Differences among seedling populations were reported along with plant growth.

    Lessons from the Citrus Industry
    Dr. Megan Dewdney, Associate Professor, UF/IFAS - Citrus Research and Education Center, Lake Alfred
       A comprehensive review of various leaf and fruit diseases of citrus, their life cycles, management and development of resistance.

    Pomegranate Production and Consumer Analysis
    Drs. Zhengfei Guan, Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Lisa House, Food and Resource Economics, Gainesville, Feng Wu, GCREC, Balm
    Mr. Armand Kapllani, FRED, Gainesville
      The purpose of the presentation was to collect production information and cost data to analyze the economic feasibility of producing pomegranates. Taste test results are presented along with the responses to a 2024-person consumer preference survey. 

    Tailoring an IPM Program for Florida Pomegranates
    Dr. Gary Vallad, Professor of Plant Pathology, Dr. Achala Nepal KC
    UF/IFAS - Gulf Coast Research and Education Center, Balm
      The purpose of this presentation was to report the current results regarding a survey of pathogens and pests impacting pomegranate production, and to describe the latest disease management strategies leading to the conclusion:

    • At bloom applications critical for effective disease management.
    • Additional fungicides are needed to establish an appropriate rotation.
    • Field sanitation is critical to manage pathogen levels = reduce disease pressure

    Florida Pomegranate Association, Grower Meeting presentations. 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018

  • Resources