This is my friend the pomegranate tree, just outside the window.
In April it began to flower.
In May the first fruit, more green than red, appeared.
In August I found a few split open, hanging on the tree.
Yesterday I picked a big red intact pomegranate, cut it in half,
and ate the seeds for the first time this year.
Nature--what a great system it has for making food!
And I did say the two required Hebrew blessings before eating it: the Shehechiyanu (see below) and "Blessed are You, Lord our God, who creates the fruit of the tree."
The pomegranate (rimon in Hebrew) always ripens just before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This year the holiday begins on the evening of September 29.
About.com explains it nicely:
"On the second night of Rosh Hashanah, we eat a new fruit which we have not yet eaten this season. When we eat this new fruit, we say the shehechiyanu blessing which thanks God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season. This ritual reminds us to appreciate the fruits of the earth and being alive to enjoy them. A pomegranate is often used as this new fruit. In the Bible, the Land of Israel is praised for its pomegranates. It is also said that this fruit contains 613 seeds just as there are 613 mitzvot.* Another reason given for blessing and eating this fruit on Rosh HaShana is that we wish that our good deeds in the ensuing year will be as plentiful as the seeds of the pomegranate."
(*the 613 commandments in the Torah)