4,000 years ago a farmer somewhere on a rocky Mesopotamian hillside was planting pomegranate trees. In the ancient world pomegranates were one of the most highly prized of fruits.
It is mentioned in the Bible and is often represented as a symbol of fertility in mythology. The prophet Mohammed advocated that believers eat pomegranates to purge the body of longing. And the fruit also appears in ancient Chinese paintings. In western countries the fruit was fairly popular until the 19th century, since when it has lost some of it's appeal.
However if the food writer Diana Henry has her way it is about to experience a resurgence in desirability. She told Anna McNamee why it is the perfect Yuletide fruit.