Wild pomegranates are used as they are too sour to eat fresh out of hand, and the tree can be grown with almost no cultivation maintenance. The fruits are 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4 to 6.5 cm) wide with a hard outer rind. Most seeds are dark red but some can be pinkish white. The fruits grow from the first week of August to the end of September.
The seeds and the pulp adhering to them are used to make the spice.
The seeds and the pulp dry together in reddish brown, sticky, clumps. Because of the stickiness and brown colour it is sometimes called “pomegranate molasses.”
Traditionally the seeds and pulp were spread on roofs and sun-dried for 10 to 15 days. Agricultural advisers in India are now looking at drying in other ways, both to increase speed and to be more hygienic, as the fruit often got dust, dirt and bugs on it. Mechanically, the fruit can be dried in a drier at 140 F (60 C) for 5 hours or 113 F (45 C) for 48 hours.
This spice is packaged in bags made of cloth or jute (gunny bags.) Packaging in plastic bottles is being looked at to help it store and ship better.
The rind of the fruit contains 30% tannins. It can be used to dye cloth yellow or can be used in tanning leather.
Anardana Powder (Ground Anardana)
Anardana is also available dried further and ground to a powder.
Buy the smallest amount you can, as you use it quite sparingly in recipes.
Anardana is a common ingredient in chutney.
Lemon juice, Tamarind, Amchoor
Store for up to 1 year in tightly sealed container
Literature & Lore
“I have had little luck with anardana in the West. I can buy it all right, but the seeds are dark and unyielding, nothing like the soft brown, melting seeds found in Pakistan or, indeed, in the villages of Indian Punjab. Instead I resort to lemon juice”. — Madhur Jaffrey, in The Observer, 21 Sept 2003.