Spanish Missionaries brought pomegranates to California over 200 years ago and today they are grown on shrub-like trees mostly in Southern California’s San Joaquin Valley. Long the inspiration for poets and painters, pomegranates symbolize fertility and prosperity in Chinese, Greek, Persian, Roman, and Hebrew lore. In Christian art they often represent hope.

Muhammara, a classic Syrian and Turkish spread is delicious on toasted flat breads or as an accompaniment to salads.


2 red peppers, roasted and peeled
2 slices rustic bread, lightly toasted, torn in pieces
2 small cloves of garlic
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses*
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place the roasted peppers bread, garlic and walnuts in a food processor and process for about a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and process until relatively smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and lemon juice if needed. Makes about 2 cups.