What made this once anonymous fruit so popular is the refreshing flavor of its juicy seeds as well as its health benefits.
Behind the secret of health benefits is that red purplish color. The compound which gives the deep color often seen in fruits such as red cabbage, blueberries and pomegranates has many health benefits. Its ellagic acid, a naturally occurring plant phenol antioxidant also found in strawberries, gives that rich color to pomegranates. Antioxidants can potentially lessen the level of bad cholesterol, known as LDL, and also have a relaxing effect on blood vessels.
Pomegranate is one of the important fruit crops commercially grown in the state of Maharashtra. The area under this crop is 1.25 lac hectares. Maharashtra accounts for more than two third areas, while other states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Tamilnadu share the rest.
The two most commercially grown varities are Ganesh & Bhagwa. The Ganesh variety has a yellowish pink outer colour and pinkish and soft arils. It is the commercial cultivar of Maharashtra. The size of the fruit ranges from 200 – 400 gms.
Bhagwa has a very attractive Saffron coloured clean, thick skin. The cherry red coloured bold Arils have increased its cosmetic value and market appearance as compared to the other varieties. It is less susceptible to fruit spots and thrips, the thick skin gives it a longer shelf life. Hence, the variety is the most popular table variety both in the domestic and export market. Average fruit weight is 250 gms.