An article in The Boston Globe on Monday holds forth on the national fruitnomenon that is the pomegranate.

According to the Globe, last year saw 450 new pomegranate products on the market, which, when added to products accumulating since 2003, brings the pommy product list to 961. As prolific as they seem to be, I know that POM Wonderful can’t be responsible for all of them.

Although one market-research representative in the article is quoted as saying the pomegranate craze seems to have come from nowhere, the piece also notes that the tough-skinned fruit with the edible seeds has been around since ancient Egyptian and Grecian times. The article explains that while recent American rabidness for the ruby fruit might have something to do with the many health benefits it offers, pomegranate-product pushers are now trying to interest the public in other facts about the storied fruit.

But the pomegranate’s appeal has spread far beyond the bounds of other health foods. Savvy companies played up the fruit’s history, revered for centuries as a symbol of fertility, royalty, hope, and abundance in various cultures. Some scholars even suggest that it was a pomegranate, not an apple, eaten in the biblical Garden of Eden.

Last week, San Jose’s Mercury News sang the praises of SheerBliss, “the only nationally available pomegranate ice cream on the market” and called it “rapturously delicious.”

The Boston Globe also passes along a forecast:

Some market researchers predict that pomegranates will continue to be on the radar but will taper off in popularity with the discovery of the next superfood. One candidate: acai, a dark purple berry grown in the Amazon rainforest that apparently is loaded with antioxidants.

Given that Oprah featured acai as one of her “Ten Superfoods for Age-Defying Beauty,” I’d say they might be right. Maybe her guests will find bottles of acai juice under their chairs one of these days.

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