It seems tedious to admit it once again, but until I moved to Italy, I’d never tasted a pomegranate. Despite, or maybe because of, the Bible’s colorful mentions of this bizarre fruit (among them, Song of Solomon 7:12) I thought it belonged in the small type of ancient history, not in the playground of my mouth. I was—need I say it?—mistaken.

“Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.”

These symbols of fertility which inspired poetry and amorous advances are delectable. Round like a tennis ball, but ruddy red in color, the pomegranate—melograno in Italian—may be the only fruit I know of that consists almost entirely of seeds. And although these seeds are not easy to liberate from their membraned cells, they are all the more delicious for the difficulty.

Each of the pomegranate’s hundreds of seeds is enclosed in its own juice filled kernel—jewel-like, ruby red. The flavor, somewhere between wine and a citrus fruit, is complex—sweet, sour, slightly bitter, commanding, other-worldly. Decidedly exotic. Or by shifting one letter, erotic. It’s no wonder they are thought to be the original forbidden fruit.

I throw these seeds into the juicer and imagine garnishing salads with them. But my greatest pleasure is to eat them by the handful, tasting not only their juice but the ancient story of love and desire they carry within them.

My thanks to Ann Moore for copy-editing this post and for patiently explaining to me that pronouns must match their antecedent in gender, where relevant, and in number.

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