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Pomegranates are one of those fruits which are unrivaled when it comes to nutrient content. In fact, a study published by the World Journal of Gastroenterology claims that its juice has anti-cancer properties. But aside from their many health benefits, pomegranates are also in high demand for their delicious flavor that is a little sour when ripe. This leaves most people asking, “is pomegranate a citrus fruit?”
Despite their citrusy taste, pomegranates are not a citrus fruit. They do not belong to the same plant family, and they also cannot be considered cousins. Nevertheless, their juice can be combined to produce a refreshing drink that is quite loaded in essential vitamins. If you are interested to learn how to categorize a pomegranate fruit properly and why it differs significantly from citrus fruits, this article has all the information you need. There are also some other essential facts included here to help you get to know the fruit a little better.
Definition of a citrus fruit
Before we focus on pomegranates, let us first discuss what citrus fruits are so we are guided in our comparison later on. Citrus fruits belong to a class of flowering and fruit-bearing plants that came from the Rutaceae family. They originated from Southeast Asia, but they are now more popular in South and Central America.
One of the primary characteristics that distinguish them from other fruits is their vitamin C concentration. According to the International Food Research Journal, oranges contain 58.30 mg of vitamin C per 100 mg, while grapefruits contain 49.15 mg. They are also more thick-skinned and rounded as compared to other fruits. Some of the most common citrus fruits sold in the market are lemons, oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, and limes. They may look unique from each other, but they all have that sour tang that consumers often seek.
What kind of fruit is a pomegranate?
This might surprise you, but pomegranates are a type of berry that came from the Lythraceae family. They are red in color and round in shape, so they are sometimes mistaken as apples with flower-shaped stems. Like other fleshy fruits that are botanically called berries, pomegranates have a husk or outer covering, which is composed of two layers: the epicarp or the hard outer layer and the mesocarp or the soft inner layer.
The mesocarp has non-symmetrical chambers which contain the pomegranate seeds, and they are covered with aril. This fleshy covering and the fruit’s seeds are edible and can be eaten raw or processed to create a juice. Meanwhile, the peel or the epicarp should be discarded.
Does pomegranate juice have citric acid?
Does the sour taste of ripe pomegranates mean that it contains a high amount of citric acid similar to all citrus fruits? Those who haven’t read the investigation on the chemical composition of pomegranate seeds and juice published in Wiley Online Library would probably answer yes. On the other hand, those who scanned the article can accurately answer that pomegranate juice is not high in acid.
To be specific, the edible parts of the pomegranate, which are processed into a juice, only consist of 0.1 grams of citric acid per 100 ml, 10.6% sugar, 85.4% moisture, and 1.4% pectin. This means that their acid content is extremely insignificant compared to lemons which have 1.44 grams, and limes contain 1.38 grams. People who suffer from acid reflux or GERD can consume pomegranate juice without worrying about the potential consequences because there aren’t any. It won’t cause them any chest or abdominal pain, unlike citrus fruits, so they’ll get to enjoy its sour tastefully.
Difference between citrus fruits and a pomegranate
By now, you are probably more knowledgeable about pomegranates than half the world’s population. But to add to your growing knowledge, below are some other detailed information about how they differ from citrus fruits.
How they are grown
Pomegranates are relatively easy to grow than citrus plants. They thrive in about any type of soil, although the well-drained variety often works best. What’s more, most people claim that they are drought tolerant and only need watering every two to four weeks.
In planting, you should make sure that you have completely removed the aril from the pomegranate seeds so they can readily grow. Afterward, you should cover them with soil for at least half an inch so they could properly germinate. In terms of citrus fruits, their seeds need to be soaked overnight before being planted in moist soil. They also require a wind-protected sunny spot for them to grow. Most citrus plant varieties are high maintenance, so you would really have to put in the work before seeing them bear their first batch of fruits.
Common uses and benefits
Aside from making pomegranate juice, here are some other ways to use pomegranate seeds and aril.
- Since their seeds resemble rubies, they can be added to salads for aesthetic purposes. They’ll also add a bit of flavor to your greens.
- They can be used to create a dip by adding red peppers, olive oils, and walnuts.
- They’re high in antioxidants, so eating them raw or juiced can help prevent inflammation and remove free radicals.
- They are effective in preventing prostate cancer since they slow down cancer cell reproduction.
Meanwhile, here are the most common uses of citrus fruits:
- It’s a well-known fact that citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. This means that they can be used to boost the immune system.
- They can prevent kidney stones since they increase the body’s citrate levels.
- Snacking on them can lower high blood pressure and alleviate the risk of heart disease.
While most citrus fruits have a sweet and sour taste, pomegranates can vary greatly. When they are ripe, they often taste a bit sour, like citrus or ripe berries, but they have a sweet aftertaste. On the other hand, the unripe pomegranate combines a sour and bitter taste which isn’t exactly palatable for many.
Another thing to note is that the sweetness of pomegranates is not comparable to ripe grapes or apples. Yes, they do have some natural sweetness in them, but it is quite tart.
Similarities between citrus fruits and pomegranates in terms of nutrient content
As revealed in the former sections, citrus fruits and pomegranates are far from being similar if we consider the plant families they are categorized with, their uses, and how they taste. However, they both offer several health benefits through their nutritional content.
Pomegranates are high in fiber, protein, vitamin K, folate, and potassium. Meanwhile, citrus fruits have high amounts of vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, manganese, copper, and phosphorous. All of these provide effective protection from various illnesses, including cancer, anemia, and cardiovascular diseases, so if you aren’t comfortable eating one or the other, you have an alternative.
Is pomegranate a citrus fruit?
Pomegranates are not considered citrus fruits even though they oftentimes taste like one due to a variety of reasons. They came from a different plant family, and their edible parts do not contain the relative amount of acid which most citrus fruits have. Their uses are also a bit different from