Autumn Flavors on the Amalfi Coast

Brilliant red pomegranate seeds

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” – Henry David Thoreau

As I broke open the pomegranate and brilliant red seeds tumbled into the waiting bowl, I glanced up at that quotation by Thoreau tacked on the cupboard in the kitchen. I smiled because I had to think this is exactly what Thoreau had in mind. With red stained fingertips I picked the seeds gently out of the pomegranate pieces, every so often stealing a few to savor the sweetness while I worked. I look forward to pomegranate season all year long. When it finally arrives in the autumn, I just can’t wait to break open the first one.

My first memory of eating a pomegranate was in elementary school sitting out on the dining terrace in the hot Florida sun. There was a sweet girl in the class one year behind me who dreamed of one day becoming a doctor, a heart surgeon to be precise. I remember admiring her drive and passion way back then, and I’ve never doubted that she achieved her goals. We weren’t in the same class and only rarely met, but I liked watching her pour over encyclopedias in the library and knew we had a lot in common. She had long straight black hair, a shy smile and brought the most intriguing things in her lunch sack. That’s where, one day, she pulled out a pomegranate. It was the first time I had ever seen one, and I was so grateful she let me try some. In retrospect, I imagine she was grateful to have found a kid who didn’t make fun of her for having a pomegranate instead of peanut butter crackers or a fruit roll-up!

That was the first time I ate a pomegranate, and I often think back to when I was a kid as I work the seeds out of pomegranates now. I suppose that’s because I never ate them again until moving to Italy. One early autumn day on the bus from Amalfi to Sorrento I swore I saw a pomegranate on a tree as the bus whirled around a corner near Positano. I came home and looked up the word immediately in the Italian dictionary. Melograno is the Italian word for the tree and melagrana is the word for the fruit. I kept my eyes out for them when I visited the fruit shop, and soon enough I spotted piles of pomegranates arriving for the autumn. Now they’re one of the fruits I look forward to each year with the arrival of autumn on the Amalfi Coast.

Whatever influences pomegranates may have on me, I’m happy to resign myself to them.

  • LindyLouMac in Italy

    A beautifully lyrical piece of writing about your love of pomegranates Laura. Sadly our tree died during the cold winter. 🙁

    November 5, 2012
  • Sandra

    Still none in the stores here…but I remember so fondly you and I eating lots of pomegranates while we watched movies last fall! Good memories. I am watching every week for them to arrive and will think of you. Beautifully written piece.

    November 6, 2012
  • I have a large Pomegranate tree in my back yard. It only produced a single fruit this year because we pruned it last fall. That means next year, it will be loaded with fruit. I don’t mind giving the tree and me a break every now and then. When you have a crop, it’s a lot of work to pick them and juice them. The juice makes wonderful grenadine, jelly, and gelato ( Of course, you can just shell them out and eat them like that. But if you have basketfuls of fruit, well, you need another solution.

    November 6, 2012
  • I adore pomegrantes .. and so did my eldest son … oh yes you do need a red couch or chair to sit on LOL .. I think I am one of the worlds messiest Pomegrante eater .. or maybe you are!! 🙂

    November 7, 2012
  • My almost 2yr old son ate his very first pomegranate this week. He thought it was kinda “crunchy”. I can only dream of having a tree in my backyard or even in my neighborhood. Thanks for the beautiful words, Laura.

    November 8, 2012
  • Sandra

    YEA!!! I bought 4 beautiful pomegranates this morning. All I am missing is you, Laura, and The Holiday!

    November 10, 2012
  • There is a small pomegranate tree just at the entrance to where I live in Positano, but there is also a huge one up where C works which nobody knows about so we get all the fruit from that…I’ve recently started juicing it with oranges, apples and carrots!

    November 27, 2012

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