Fruits of Her Labour

Exploring the symbolic fruits of womanhood
Published April 5, 2016

Each year on Mother’s Day, time is taken to acknowledge the women who have helped us through our journey or shaped our lives in some way or another. Mother’s Day celebrations typically focus around brunch or tea. Whether you’re acknowledging your mother, or are being acknowledged as a mother, this day is a celebration of women! But this year, consider honouring your mother with superfoods that symbolize motherhood and femininity. Or eat them yourself to boost your own health.

Pomegranates, are one of the oldest fruits known. With their hundreds of juicy seeds, pomegranates symbolize eternal life, fertility, marriage and the arrival of spring. Pomegranate comes from the Latin word ‘granatis,’ meaning ‘seed of grain.’ In Greek mythology, the pomegranate is associated with Persephone, the queen of the underworld. Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants, which help to fight oxidative damage and prevent disease. Try sprinkling pomegranate seeds overtop of grilled meat or vegetables with a little torn basil or mint. Or place a few pomegranate seeds into a glass and top with sparkling wine for a pretty Mother’s Day libation.

When you think of an apple, you probably think of Adam and Eve being tempted in the Garden of Eden. But apples are so much more than that – in China, the apple and apple blossom is seen as a symbol of women’s beauty. In other cultures, apples symbolize joy, wisdom, youthfulness and fertility. Apples contain plenty of fibre, which helps to keep you full for a long time. Apple skins contain a compound that has been shown to increase muscle while helping to burn fat. Try flavouring water on your brunch table with a few slices of apple and a cinnamon stick, layer slices of apple into an elegant tart, or use apple sauce to lower the SmartPoints value of some Mother’s Day apple muffins.

Long held as a symbol of fertility, in art and myth, figs are believed to have been cultivated first in Egypt and then ancient Greece and were considered a sacred fruit in ancient Rome. Figs have plenty of health benefits – with loads of calcium and potassium, figs make an elegant addition to your salads. Instead of buying dried figs, which are higher in sugar and SmartPoints, buy fresh figs. Cut fresh figs in half and stuff with a little chevre for a decadent little bite.

Deemed ‘fruit of the angels,’ by Christopher Colombus, eating papaya can transport you to a faraway island. Papayas have plenty of health benefits, but are best known for their ability to lower inflammation and encourage digestion due to their high enzyme content. An enzyme called papain, which is derived from the papaya, can be purchased in pill form to aid digestion. Papain does wonders for the complexion as well – mash a papaya and apply it to clean skin as you would a face mask and experience an almost instant glow.

They contain high antioxidant levels, which can help to fight signs of aging both in the body and on the skin. Virtually all types of berries provide health benefits. In Seneca tradition, strawberries are associated with the rebirth of spring. They are the only fruit with seeds on the outside. Raspberries have been used as a folk remedy to stop hair from greying. Blueberries and blackberries are full of anti-aging, antioxidant compounds.