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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!

 
 
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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.

 

93 Comments

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Amy from She Wears Many Hats on 12.27.2010

I’ve whacked a few pomegranates as well y’all. I prefer to cut it up into the 6 sections because sometimes we like to just pick up the section and eat the arils/seeds right off the sectioned pomegranate, avoiding the bowl or plate altogether. Plus, I think the seeds are best a mouthful at a time. So juicy!

Many days over the past couple of weeks I’ve cut one up and left it out on the counter for my husband or myself to grab a section as we walk by. It being out and already prepped has helped us to make a healthier snack choice.

I hope it’s a habit I’ll continue through the new year.

They are yummy!

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Food for My Family on 12.27.2010

I, too, prefer the second method. Not only is it less messy with the juice, but you also retain more of the arils. The photos are gorgeous, Amy!

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jiffy on 12.27.2010

Mmmm… I’m so sad my tree didn’t produce this year. We got too much rain out here in the NV desert.

Alison on 12.27.2010

I’m glad to see other commenters saying they whack theirs with a wooden spoon. That is my preferred method, and most food blogs don’t mention it. I can’t stand holding my hands in the cold water!

Heather @ Creative Family Moments on 12.27.2010

We did this with our kids and they thought it was a science experiment! They loved it and could have done it for hours.

http://www.creativefamilymoments.com/dice-pomegranates-and-marriage/

Mary Connealy on 12.27.2010

You’re supposed to eat the seeds?
I always spit out the seeds.
Eating them would really simplify this fruit.

I’ve had pomegranate before and loved them, except for spitting out those stupid seeds.

Mountain Mama on 12.27.2010

Soooo wish I had read this a few days ago! I cut open a pom for the first time ever on Christmas and was like, “whaaaa??” So after my hands were completely red, my butcher block was stained, and I splattered juice on my brand new OSU sweatshirt I got that morning, I decided it wasn’t worth it for that particular recipe and got out the pom juice instead. I did enjoy munching on a bunch of the seeds though, so I will probably attempt it again with these handy-dandy tips. Thanks!
(And I did manage to get the stains out. Thank you, oxy-clean!)

Stina on 12.27.2010

I have always loved poms. A few years ago a co-worker taught me to open and pop the seeds out under water, similar to the bowl process. I did it under running water into a bowl. I definitely want to get some poms this season and try the cutting method.

Anything healthy and tasty is usually hard to process/prepare but always totally worth it (ie: sugar cookies!)

Pam Wilbur on 12.27.2010

Peeling a pomegranate is therapeutic. So is eating it.

Lindsay on 12.27.2010

Thanks for all the wonerful pictures and instructions on how to peel and enjoy a pomegranate! I can’t wait to try one. My question is how do you know if a pomegranate is ripe?

stacey on 12.27.2010

THANK YOU for showing how to open and get the most out of the pomegranate! I bought one a few weeks ago and ended up not only making a mess but throwing away much of the tasty seeds because I got so frustrated trying to get them out! With your tips, I can’t wait to cut one open! :)

[email protected] on 12.27.2010

So helpful, thank you! I have tried them a few times and love them, but it always seemed such a hassel…maybe not now.

Mary Lou on 12.27.2010

I picked up a leaflet in the grocery store last week in the produce
department, with a colorful picture of a pomegranate and
the instructions for opening one. I have never eaten one and
was talking to the clerk if she ever had. She said she just likes to
eat the arils out of a bowl. But I found out they are also good on
salads, which is how I will try my first one. Also mentioned was
to add them to yogurt, oatmeal, appetizers, entrees and desserts.
They can also be enjoyed for 7 to 10 days after opening. Store
and refrigerate in a sealed container. If they have an Albertsons
store in your area, maybe they will have some leaflets. More
information on pomwonderful.com

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Serve at Once on 12.27.2010

Oh, and these have to be the most beautiful fruit photos. Ever. Just LOOK at that color!

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Serve at Once on 12.27.2010

I have never purchased a pomegranate for this very reason: I was scared of opening it, and I never knew what to do with the seeds! I’ve had pomegranate in a variety of dishes, but this gives me confidence to actually USE them. ;)

Jane in KC on 12.27.2010

I have chronically dry skin and one one time I opened one, the juice stained my hands! Anyone else have this problem?

Kathleen C on 12.27.2010

My family lived in Southern California when I was a child. We used to climb up on the roof of the garage to pick pomegranates off the tree. YUM!! It was soooo worth it. They were so good!

witloof on 12.27.2010

I have a pomegranate almost every day when they’re in season. I adore them! I do all the cutting and de seeding in the kitchen sink, which cuts down on the splatters.

Pomegranate molasses, available at middle eastern stores and maybe Whole Foods, is a great cooking ingredient, too. A delicious fat free salad dressing can be made by mixing pomegranate molasses with Dijon mustard.

Bratfink on 12.27.2010

Wow… thanks for the memories! When I was a kid my dad bought these for us kids every Christmas. I learned very early how to get those seeds out, put them in a bowl, and enjoy with a spoon.

I did this with my daughter, too, and now she’s passing the tradition to her kids.

Well worth the work!

Miss Wisabus on 12.27.2010

Oooh, thanks for the instruction. I just cut into my first pomegranate the other day and was surprised at how easy it was. Honestly I was expecting to look like a bloody mess when I was through!

Elina Pelikan on 12.27.2010

I don’t if I can describe this without pictures… maybe i’ll do a blog post about it later because I heard from a middle easterner a different way which I prefer. You simple stick the knife into the top and make shallow slits down to the right and the left. You then stick your fingers into the gash at the top and pry in half. I find this is the least bit messy once you get the knack….

does that make sense?

SueKnight on 12.27.2010

My mom has a prolific pomegranate tree and we learned early on to wear red, gently score the pomegranate, and immerse it in a bowl of water to coax out the arils. Yum! Just made a vegetable dish with diced sweet potatoes and carrots, olive oil and pomegranate juice and arils topping the finished dish.

Idaho Annie on 12.27.2010

The POM Juice in the refrigerated vegetable and fruit section is really, really, really good without the mess of peeling.

mary simpson on 12.27.2010

We had one in our yard growing up, also. I loved eating them warm off the tree, sitting in the backyard, juice everywhere! If you get enough of them, juice them through a sieve and make jelly – it’s amazing! I miss my dad’s pomegranate jelly.

alisyn1derland on 12.27.2010

I tried the wooden spoon method and all I got were splatters of red juice everywhere. :) I look forward to trying the section cutting method – my daughter loves pom seads.

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mnheather on 12.27.2010

oh yea, I’ve always done like Robyn -slice in half, whack with the back of a wooden spoon into a bowl. Takes seconds…

Sarah on 12.27.2010

or… you could be like me, and do a dance in the produce section of Costco when you find that you can buy ready-to-eat arils, already out of the fruit, in little bowls. Amen!

mom of 15 on 12.27.2010

I’m nearly 70 years old & remember in grade school we would walk to the neighborhood store to buy pomgranites. The teachers hated for us to eat them because we would be stained red (mouth and hands) and we didn’t eat the seeds. We sucked each seed and spit out the center. It was messy but delicious!

Amy Lu on 12.27.2010

I also open mine like Robyn! Best technique yet! Although some of the pith does come flying out with the seeds, it is easy to pick out.

rere on 12.27.2010

my son loves them, but they are too tart for me. but, since seeing how good they are i will buy one next time and try them again.

Charlotte Lammers on 12.27.2010

I third the whacking with a spoon method. Works well and you don’t sacrifice any juice.

nikki on 12.27.2010

I agree with Robyn, whack it with a wooden spoon and they all come out. I tried the water in a big bowl method but you lose all of that beautiful juice into the water and it seemed to water down the flavor of the seeds too. Just make sure you have a big deep bowl and hold one half of a pomegranate cut side down right in your palm, whack it with a wooden spoon and the seeds come flying out into the bowl.

peg on 12.27.2010

Sooo ~ You eat the hard part of the seed??? :? I like them all right,but don’t know the proper way to eat them.. Help!

Bev on 12.27.2010

I just had one for breakfast this morning. I LOVE them.

Amy on 12.27.2010

We had a pomegranate tree in our yard when I was growing up. It’s long been replaced by a taneglo tree, but I have such fond memories of my Dad bringing in a bucket of ripe poms…we would sit around the kitchen table, crack them open, scoop out the seeds into a giant bowl, and eat them with a spoon. Bliss.

I love these tips…and the trip down memory lane.

Kristen on 12.27.2010

Perfect! We have a pomegranate tree in the backyard of our new house here in CA… tackling one will be less comical thanks to your post!

Thanks!

Robyn on 12.27.2010

An easy, if messy way to get the seeds out, is to slice the pomegranate in half at the equator, and, holding the half over a large bowl, whack the outside of the fruit with a wooden spoon. It takes a few hits to loosen the seeds, but eventually they’ll all rain down into the bowl. Very satisfying.

CookieDoh on 12.27.2010

Thanks for the opening tips! When I was young, my grandparents had a pomegranate tree in their yard. We loved them, but always made a huge mess of them!

Sarah Fought on 12.27.2010

I love to eat pomegranates, but hate cutting them. The sectioning looks like a good option.

Sandy on 12.27.2010

Back in the 60s, my “healthy food” mom used to give me a chunk of pomegranate for lunch (along with my brown bread sandwich). My peanut butter and banana-eating friends thought I was strange … and imagine trying to eat it neatly! I still love them.

Tina on 12.27.2010

I love pomegranates! One of my favorite memories as a kid eating them while running around in the summer.

Heather (Heather's Dish) on 12.27.2010

pomagranates are one of the coolest things in the world to open! so vibrant and tart and fun :)

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is on 12.27.2010

I absolutely adore pomegranates! They are one of my favorite fruits. And I love opening them because I get to slurp out all of the delicious juice.