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How to Open a Pomegranate

Posted by in Kitchen Talk

Maybe you’ve passed by pomegranates in the grocery thinking they’re much too exotic and pricey for your tastes. A couple of years ago, I found my friend Sallie munching on the bright red arils, or seeds, from the pomegranate. Since I’d only used pomegranate juice in teas and recipes, I talked to her for a moment about the pomegranate. Sallie said she loved when pomegranate season rolled around, greatly reducing the price while increasing the availability. She told me how she’d take one to work for a snack.

I was like, wha?! A snack? I can hardly open the thing. I’d have red juice everywhere and would’ve grabbed a pack of Ho-Hos by the time I got the seeds out.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Besides, it seemed so exotic. And sometimes Jalapéno Cheetos are as exotic as I can get. Yeah, I’m not typically a healthy snacker.

Just keepin’ it real, folks.

But seeing Sallie, the woman who can swim three laps to my one … Sallie who is ten years my senior but who could easily pass as my younger sister … Sallie who eats pomegranates for a snack … I’m thinking Sallie may be on to something.

So, on my next trip to the grocer I picked up a few to give it a go. When I got home I did a little checking, first on the pomegranate and second how to approach the strange-looking fruit. Sakes alive, have you ever read about the pomegranate? Truly an amazing fruit.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

And have you ever opened one? They really are unbelievable. Pictures don’t do it justice. The vibrant red, ruby looking seeds are a marvel. And pretty tasty too. Not to mention that pomegranate seeds and the juice are a great addition to many recipes. The arils burst with a sweet, tart flavor, ending with a crunch. They’re to be enjoyed whole, seed and all.

Plus, the possible health benefits alone make the price of this fruit seem not so expensive. These include the antioxidant benefits of helping keep bad cholesterol from developing further, preventing blood platelets from forming clots (similar to aspirin), and even helping reduce inflammation, which can aid in treating arthritis. At least, what’s what I read in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the American Journal of the College of Cardiology.

These are just a few of the possible benefits from the pomegranate that I ran across. Do a thorough check yourself. You may be surprised at what you find.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

There seems to be a variety of recommended ways to open a pomegranate. I’ve tried a few, but have two that I prefer. Wanna see?

Before beginning, I’d recommend—unless you own a red cutting board—laying parchment paper or paper towels out on the surface where you’ll be cutting. I’ve found that no matter how careful you are, unless you’re a professional pomegranate opener-upper, it’s difficult to avoid the juice splattering. Also, have a medium-large bowl filled halfway with cold water ready.

On to the two ways I get to the goodness.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

The first way: halve the pomegranate, cutting it from top to bottom.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Place both halves in the water. Working with one half face down, using your fingers, gently coax the seeds out.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Eventually you’ll be able to turn the pomegranate peel inside out to extract those closest to the outer skin. The seeds will sink to the bottom, while the white pith floats. Skim off the white pith and strain the water out.

The second way to cut a pomegranate is my favorite. It requires more cutting but I think is less messy in the long run.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Start by gently cutting a circle around the top of the pomegranate, just barely piercing the skin. (Of course you can use a much smaller knife than this one. A small paring knife should work well.)

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

The idea is to take the top off without popping any of the seeds, like this.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

As you can see, I cut a few seeds. I could use some more practice. But how pretty is that? It’s like a little bowl of jewels.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Once the top is off, you can easily see the different sections of the pomegranate. There should be six different “chambers,” roughly the same size. See the white pithy areas separating each section?

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Using those pithy dividers as a guide, and, again, gently piercing the skin of the fruit but not cutting all the way through, cut down the sides of the pomegranate following where the individual sections seem to be. You’ll make six different cuts working around the pomegranate.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

Next, gently pry open the pomegranate.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

It opens up like a beautiful gift revealing all the tasty jewels inside. Simply an amazing fruit, huh?

To remove the seeds, either gently pick them out or repeat the steps above with the bowl of water.

Tasty Kitchen Blog: How To Open a Pomegranate. Guest post by Amy Johnson of She Wears Many Hats.

All of these seeds are from a single pomegranate. One pomegranate holds hundreds of these little beauties. A handy tip to remember when purchasing pomegranates is the heavier the pomegranate, the more seeds it will have.

So there you go. Next time you’re in the grocery store, grab one of these babies and take it home for a snack, or as an addition to a recipe. Be sure to let me know how it goes. And a big thanks to my friend Sallie for turning me on to this super fruit!


Amy Johnson is a blogger who writes about food, travel, the home (both inside and out), and various observations and random musings about anything and everything. Visit her blog She Wears Many Hats for a dose of deliciousness, practicality, hilarity, or just plain fun. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and two children.



Comments are closed for this recipe.

Ellen on 1.15.2011

Love Pomegranets in our house! We have a small tree in our front yard that’s been there for many, many years. My husband’s grandmother used to make jelly from the fruit, this year we sold a few – a hot commodity, I might add – at our roadside fruit stand. Mostly we love sharing them with our two small boys! The pomegranet rule is that you must eat them Outside! On second thought, I will be giving your Option #2 a go next season, thanks for sharing!

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mrshuck on 1.6.2011

Yeah! I am always stained red from head to toe when I eat pomegranate. Maybe now I will buy them more often. Love them!

Hannah @ Treasuring It Up on 1.3.2011

I love this! I’ve tried other methods with rather dismal success. Thank you so much for the help!

Tamara Schroeder on 1.2.2011

You got me over the intimidation of them. I’ve bought several this week now :) Thanks for this post!

Lauren @ Crave. Indulge. Satisfy. on 1.2.2011

Thanks for the cutting tutorial. I definitely needed this last week when my husband and I cut into one and juice went everywhere as we tried to pick the seeds out one by one. I will definitely be trying the second technique with cutting the top off first next time I eat one!

Andrea on 1.2.2011

Wow, this is an incredible and beautiful post! You’ve turned these pomegranates into works of art.

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mygirlsnme on 12.31.2010

I wish I could save this handy dandy tip sheet to my recipe box…

Mindy on 12.30.2010

Just ate half of one about an hour ago. I could have used this helpful tutorial though! I cut it in half and attacked it minus the bowl of water. My jacket is now asymmetrically polka-dotted, but my heart’s feeling good.

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Mama Gee on 12.30.2010

Thank you so much!! This solves a big mystery for me. Interestingly, today for the first time I saw containers of pomegranate seeds at Sam’s Club. After seeing your post, I’ll definitely go for the whole fruit though. The fun is all in the challenge, right?

Sheila on 12.29.2010

Easy lesson on youtube, cut a bit off the top, cut down through just the skin to the bottom, and pull it apart. (It might be even better if you divide it where the natural divisions of the pith are) I then submerge the sections in a deep bowl of lukewarm water, no need to freeze your hands. The pith floats and the arils sink. I add pom juice to my raspberrry jam, for more depth of flavor. Sometimes I leave a bowl of arils on the counter and we eat them out of hand until they are gone. You can also freeze the arils for later use in dressings or cooking.

Jenny on 12.29.2010

I’m giving a third option that is oh-so-easy… no precision, no strainers!

I live in Spain where this is not an exotic fruit, in fact it grows in my yard. When I realized my Spanish mother-in-law, who could care less about cooking, was throwing these into everything, I just KNEW there must be a dead easy way to get the seeds on the plate. So I asked, and sí señor!

Cut the fruit open at the equator (no special board necessary, I just wipe up after), get a largish bowl and hold the pomegranate seed side down in my hand inside the bowl and start whacking all around the skin with a sturdy soup spoon, heavy kitchen knife or whatever is within arm’s reach…. seeds fall into the bowl with almost no pith attached. My 4 yo shovels these in like there’s no tomorrow. The kids like this process too, but cleanup has the potential to be more complicated when hijinks ensue.

Bon Profit from Barcelona!

Samantha on 12.29.2010

another fun way to enjoy a pomegranate is the first way I ever tasted one. You take the whole fruit, skin and all, and roll it on a counter or hard surface… you can hear all the seeds bursting and soon the fruit will feel soft because of all of the juice. Then you can make a small hole in the skin (we usually took a small bite to make a little flap) and suck the juice out! My dad, sister and I always had such a fun time doing it, and its the freshest pomegranate juice you can have!

witloof on 12.29.2010

to the commenter who said she spits out the seeds… .let me just say that the next morning, you’ll be very glad you didn’t!

Devon on 12.29.2010

Like others here, we had one in our yard when I was a young kid. All the kids in the neighborhood had shirts that were stained red on the front from helping themselves to the tree in our front yard. The tree also was a popular hang out for small bats — and this was in the middle of Dallas!

kerry macLeod on 12.29.2010

Lovely pics…I got my son the coolest pom tool for Christmas in the produce section. It’s a bowly thing with a lid, you whack it in there and the seeds pop out. I will take some pics, find the box and share the find soon, it’s fab.


Marie Hudson on 12.29.2010

I haven’t had pomegranate at home in years. Other than enjoying them at a restaurant as an adult, my home memories of them are as a little kid of about 4 or 5 (I’m 57 now), sitting on my front porch picking the seeds out with a toothpick. So yummy!

Nicole Jobst on 12.28.2010

We LOVE them as a snack! We put them in a mug and scoop them out with a spoon. This snack goes quite fast!

Rebecca on 12.28.2010

The wooden spoon whacking is the way to go! Just ask Martha…she has a video demo out there of her preferred pomegranate opening method.

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The Newlywed Chefs on 12.28.2010

Thanks for this post! Last time we tried to seed a pomegranate it was a mess!

VJ on 12.28.2010

Had a pomegrante sitting on the counter. Went straight over there and now am sitting her eating, how great it that.

Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef on 12.28.2010

i love pomegranates! i usually cut them similarly to your second method but don’t section it so precisely. that makes it look really easy though!

Jeanette on 12.28.2010

I remember eating pomegranates as a child with a pin- picking the seeds out. We used to see how many seeds you could get out at one time! Memories – must do it again.

Shelly from NM on 12.28.2010

Oh, how I love pomegranites! My daughter also has a tutorial from ’09 on her blog:

Thanks! Beautiful photos.

Leighann on 12.28.2010

First: Amy, Amy, Amy. Those photos are drop dead and the tips invaluable. Thank you so much!

Second: for Jessica @ about 5 posts above this one. I followed your link and the post was wonderful. I could probably figure out how to make the jelly (I make other jellies and know the basics) but what I really, really want is the approximate proportions for the soup! The idea is absolutely making me drool!!

Thank you ladies! :)

Kacee on 12.28.2010

I love pomegranates now, but growing up I had no idea what they were. My grandma had a tree (bush?) in her backyard but she just let the birds eat them. I wish I hadn’t wasted all of the wonderful fruit from my childhood!!

Gillian on 12.28.2010

My mom has a pomegranate tree at her house. They require little to no maintenance. This year her tree produced about 30+ pomegranates. I think it’s pretty neat and we love picking (and of course, eating) them each year.

Athena on 12.28.2010

Great info! I am buying a pomegranate the next time I see one in the store!

Thanks and Happy New Year!

Tia Zhan on 12.28.2010

I enjoy pomegranates but will enjoy them even more so now; I thought I wasn’t supposed to eat the seeds! Thank you so much for clarifying this. I’ve read instructions on how to eat a pomegranate but this tiny detail was never mentioned. I just always thought, no wonder it is not popular — you have to walk around with a spit-cup. Thanks!!!!

Jessica on 12.28.2010

Growing up in Las Vegas, Nevada, pomegranates were regular fare in our home. As a kid I found the best way to open a pomegranate was to throw it down on the street (not too hard). It would split the skin naturally without creating the juicy, staining mess that a knife does.

My Mom, my Grandma, and my Great Grandmother before her made the most beautiful and delicious pomegranate jelly the world has ever known. I make it still when my Mom brings me her juice.

You can see a picture and read a pomegranate tribute here.

Kimmer on 12.28.2010

My daughters are crazy about pomegranates! When they’re a dollar each, like now, I try to keep them in the house. They like to split one after dinner. I’m not as fond of the crunchy seeds. I usually just cut them in half and break them up a little, letting the kids get the seeds out. I like the second method you mentioned here, and will give it a try tonight.

j ho on 12.28.2010

another yummy fruit to add to the new “pregnancy foods”….so exciting!

Katie | GoodLife Eats on 12.28.2010

Great tutorial, Amy! I’ve never tried the second method but it definitely looks much better. I always make such a mess with pomegranates but I do love to eat them. Thanks for sharing this with us and with such pretty photos!

eden on 12.28.2010

Two methods that beat the heck out of the way I’ve randomly butchered these in the past.
Did you know that a pomegranate is called a granada in Spanish?… yes, like the city in Spain. There you have it… your word of the day.

Mary Kemp on 12.28.2010

I saw one post that said to smack it with a wooden spoon and the seeds come out and thats what I saw one of the cooks on the Food channel do. Haven’t had a pomegranate since I was a child.

Crissy on 12.28.2010

* Yes, you eat the seeds with the red, juicy flesh. They remind me of sunflower seeds. Can’t get enough of them!
* In the summer when I get a pomegranate craving, I make a pomegranate sorbet with POM juice–amazing!
* For fewer splatters, I clean out the sink, then de-seed them into a bowl sitting in the sink. An apron comes in really handy, too.
* If it’s too sour for you, just sprinkle with a tiny bit of sugar. Also good tossed with sugar, rose water, and lemon juice (3 cups pom seeds, 2 tsp. rose water, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. sugar, mix and refrigerate a few hours)

Kathy G on 12.28.2010

I just love Pomegranates, they are my summer popcorn, I think I eat at least one a day. Our home in Greece has a couple Pomegranate trees and they taste delightful freshly picked. This is a dieters candy and I take them to the show and they last a whole movie. I just make sure to take a dozen paper towels. They make a mess but are the yummiest fruit in the world.

Jessie P on 12.27.2010

I love these little rubies of heaven.

But I have tried whacking with a spoon–doesn’t work. it only gets the seeds on the outside of the white stuff. The rest is still buried.

I have tried the bowl of water–same problem, and many seeds sink, and a lot of the white stuff floats. And they get a weird texture.

But as soon as I get home, I am going to the store to try sectioning it into sixths, because that makes so much sense!

jessabea on 12.27.2010

As kids my mom would just cut one in half and send my sister and me outside to crunch and slurp. How wonderful it was, so I tried it with my kids…”this is too hard…I don’t like the seeds…how do I do this”…Ahhh! Just EAT IT! I think we were a little different growing up than my kids, they must get that from their dad.

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cookincanuck on 12.27.2010

This is a FANTASTIC post, Amy! Not only did you give us two relatively painless way to extract those beautiful seeds, but your post was very entertaining.

Shannon on 12.27.2010

When I have a pomegranate, I just cut it in half and then tear a half apart, pick out the seeds, and eat them. Probably not the cleanest way, but it’s simple, and almost fun, and I don’t mind if my fingers get a little red.

midnacht on 12.27.2010

Cool. When i was a kid My mom used to cut them in half and let us just pick the seeds out as a snack. We were the hit of the neighborhood. We used to have contests to see who could get all their seeds out without ruining the skin.

MayaPapaya on 12.27.2010

Thank you for demystifying this fruit! I passed by a display of these at the grocery store yesterday but was too afraid to buy one. I think I’ll try one next time.

stuckinmypedals on 12.27.2010

Well now that I know how to open one, I’m adding poms to my grocery list. I think I’ll try whacking it with a spoon first because that method sounds like the most fun. Thanks for posting this!

Stephonie on 12.27.2010

I LOVE pomegranates!
I must have been a very good girl this year because Santa left TWO in my stocking!
Thank soo much for this post! I was wondering how I was going to get at those seeds and I wasn’t looking forward to an hour of seed popping fun with stained clothes. Your second method worked beautifully!!!

Now…. what to do with all those delicious seeds?!?!!? :)

Mama M. on 12.27.2010

Oh my gosh!! I should’ve known that P-Dub’s site would pull through for me! I’ve had a pomegranate sitting in a bowl waiting to be opened…but I couldn’t, for the life of me, remember how I opened it last year!

Thank you, Miss Amy!!!

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topcrop on 12.27.2010

I put some seeds in my banana bread last year and it just didn’t do:( was too hard:)!

Shawna on 12.27.2010

Thanks for the great post! I’ve never tried them before. Always seemed a little intimidating…. Can’t wait to give it a go!

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Wenderly on 12.27.2010

Why thank you Miss Amy! I never knew how to easily open a pomegranate! I usually buy them pre-opened! :)

Juliette on 12.27.2010

We used to get pomegranates from a family at church. We could pick all we wanted off their trees. My mom then made jelly every year for Christmas gifts. People would ask for it every year. I had to help pick out the seeds. My hands would be stained. Fun, good, yummy memories!