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By: Yalda Mahmoudi
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I ate this fruit for the first time that I remember with my dad, the fall that I would
turn 5, I think. When he pulled the leathery fruit from the refrigerator, I wasn't impressed. When he cut it open to reveal the shining rubies inside, I was enthralled. One mouthful and I was hooked: the seeds were cool and smooth on my tongue; crushing them with my teeth drenched my mouth with their sweet-tart juice. I munched the crunchy bit of seed that was left, swallowed and reached out for more.

The history of the fruit was lost on me when I was little; I loved it for its sensory pleasures. “Good old King Solomon was fond of this fruit as well, and had a grove of them--some attributed his wisdom to their consumption.” They're also a worldwide symbol of fertility and abundance; with all those seeds it's no wonder. Despite its feminine name and appearance, this fruit is actually the most masculine of them all. We see that men, who show their true feelings as readily as they feel them, are generally regarded as "wimpy", "soft", or "buttery". To be a true man one must appear, as a stone, unmoved and steady in times of difficulty, even if the soul is troubled by the storms of emotional agony. And so it is with this fruit.

The internal architecture of this fruit is absolutely amazing. The structure, complex and compact, contains thousands of individual parts, of at least a dozen different tissues, mixed in an asymmetric symphony of pulp and juice. The edible portion of the fruit is packaged as blood-red seeds folded on top of each other, separated by a foam-like divider.

Today, I eat this fruit as a celebration treat that reminds me of my childhood house and the first cool breezes of fall. This fruit has been eaten for at least 3,000 years, and it originates from Persia. Today, it influences a wide reach of cuisines: Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Jewish and American Southern. The flavor of the seeds is difficult to describe, other than to say they are sweet, tart, and deliciously different. They have a unique flavor, because it is a unique fruit. This fruit can’t be consumed without a certain amount of spitting. These seeds, which come tightly packaged in the sweet red meat of each bit, must be suctioned and cut away from the meat. The mini pits frequently stick to teeth, gums, and lips causing them roll down the chin and neck rather than shoot towards the intended target.

When shopping, for this fruit choose the one that is heavy for it's size--it will have the juiciest seeds. They will range from baseball to softball-sized. The skin should be leathery and mostly red, with the dull glow of a hand-rubbed finish. The seeds glow like little jewels, but beware that glow comes from the juice, which stains whatever it comes in contact with--it was used as the traditional red dye for Persian rugs. So be careful, when working with this heavenly fruit. Make sure you pick it up and hold it firmly in your hand. Imagine not the sweet taste or the complex and stimulating texture, contemplate the sound of constant sucking. Constant spitting, sucking, picking and flicking. A poet once said our world would be heavenly, if we could see the heart of each individual as we call see the heart of each seed of this fruit.

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