Inside: How to open a pomegranate and get the juicy, nutritious seeds inside, without making a huge mess!
As much as I miss summer produce (peaches! blueberries! watermelon!), I’m trying to embrace and enjoy winter produce as much as I can. That means I’m buying lots of grapefruit and stirring kale into soups.
It also means I’m stocking up on pomegranates, which are my fifth grader’s new obsession.
Though pomegranates look a bit like apples, it’s the ruby-red seeds inside that you eat. Those seeds are called arils, and they’re juicy and tart-sweet.
The million dollar question: How to open a pomegranate and get those seeds without making a huge mess?? Here’s the best way in just five simple steps.
How to Open a Pomegranate
There are a few different ways to do this, but I find this method to be the easiest.
Step 1: Cut the top off the pomegranate.
Using a sharp paring knife, cut off the very top of the pomegranate (the “crown”).
Step 2: Cut along the ridges of the pomegranate.
You’ll notice there are raised ridges all along the outside of the pomegranate. Using your knife, score the pomegranate from top to bottom along these raised ridges, just cutting into the skin and not deep into the seeds.
Step 3: Gently pull apart the sections.
Over a medium bowl of cool water, pull apart the pomegranate sections. The bowl will catches any arils or juice that come out.
This is what the sections will look like when they’re cut. The white part is called the pith.
Step 4: Push out the pomegranate seeds.
Gently push the seeds out from the sections with your thumbs, either over the water or with the section submerged in the water. Trust me, this is a lot less messy that doing it over a cutting board!
Step 5: Collect the seeds.
The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the pith will float to the top. Remove the pith from the bowl and then strain the seeds from the water. Put the seeds in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator.
FAQ About Pomegranates
How do I eat pomegranate seeds?
- Eat them fresh out of hand
- Pack them in lunch boxes
- Sprinkle them on salads
- Stir them into oatmeal
- Add them to yogurt
- Blend them into smoothies
- Use them instead of raisins for “ants on a log”
- Place a few in a glass of sparkling water or sparkling wine
When is pomegranate season?
Pomegranates have a limited growing season. In the United States, pomegranates are in season from October through January. You won’t find them in stores outside this timeframe, so nab them while you can.
How do you know if a pomegranate if ripe?
At the store, pick a pomegranate that’s heavy for its size, which means it’s full of juicy seeds. Keep in mind that the color of the outside is not an indicator of how sweet or delicious it will be inside, so you don’t need to look for the reddest fruit.
Should I refrigerate a pomegranate?
If you’re eating it right away, you don’t need to. But if you want to stock up (especially when they’re on sale) and make them last, stash them in the back of the produce drawer. According to the folks at Pom, they’ll stay good in the refrigerator for months!
Are pomegranates good for you?
Yes! A half cup of pomegranate arils have three grams of fiber (about as much as a slice of whole wheat bread) and roughly a third of the vitamin C young kids need in a day. They also contain compounds that work in the body as antioxidants, helping to protect cells from damage.