The other day I stopped by my friend Britanie’s house to borrow a book and she also sent me home with some beautiful pomegranates that she got from Bountiful Baskets. (Those of you in the Boise area, my friend is also the coordinator for a new pick-up location right here! I believe it begins mid November in Meridian.) I thought this would be the perfect time to take some pictures and do a quick tutorial.
Pomegranates show up in stores right about now, and I know a lot of people who don’t buy them because they have no idea what to do with them. If that’s you, then I challenge you to pick one up next time you’re at the store and just eat it for fun! I love introducing fun, seasonal foods like this to my kids. The fact that it’s a “superfood” is a bonus. My boys had never tried a pomegranate before and they loved it. If you’ve never tried one, basically you break it open and pull out the little seeds (called arils) that are surrounded in a translucent, ruby colored coating that bursts with juice when you eat it. If you don’t like straight up pomegranate juice (like me) then know that the fruit itself is sweeter.
Now you can just cut the thing in half and have at it, but you might end up with bright red juice all over you. Here’s some easy steps to what I’ve found to be the easiest and cleanest way to handle a pomegranate.
1. Cut the top
Take a sharp knife (serrated works best) and slice off the top of the pomegranate, just below the stem. You’ll see there are distinct sections:
2. Score the skin
Using those segments as your guideline, just score the outer skin of the pomegranate, from top to bottom. You don’t want or need to cut all the way through the fruit, just the skin.
3. Break apart
Now you can easily break the segments apart with your fingers. Since you didn’t cut all the way through the fruit, all of the arils should be in tact and it shouldn’t be too messy. Aren’t those gorgeous?
4. Remove the arils (seeds)
The fleshy arils will easily come out with your fingers. Just bend back the skin and pull them out with your hands. Or as many mentioned in the comments you can just whack the back with a wooden spoon and they fall out easily as well.
I like to use the water method. Fill a medium sized bowl with water and remove the seeds right over the bowl- or even under the water. The seeds will fall to the bottom and any white parts will float to the top. Any juice that comes out will go straight in the water and wash off.
Remove any white pith that is floating in the water and discard. Pour the remaining contents of the bowl into a strainer over the sink.
Give them a quick rinse with cold water and they’re all ready to eat!
Honestly, my favorite way to eat them is just like this:
Plain, with my fingers. But you can also think of them as sprinkles of sorts! They’re delicious sprinkled into salads, especially in place of recipes that use dried cranberries. Try them in this Candied Walnut Salad, or this Summer Strawberry Salad, or this Sweet and Salty Salad Wrap. They also work great sprinkled on top of desserts. Try sprinkling on top of your whipped cream over pumpkin or apple pie, or even on ice cream! Since Pomegranates are so trendy right now you can find tons of recipes on the internet for both sweet and savory dishes.
How Top Pick a Ripe Pomegranate: Unlike fruits such as bananas and mangoes that are picked when unripened, pomegranates aren’t picked until they’re ripe and ready to eat, so technically if it’s in the store, it should be ripe. That being said, sometimes you get ones that are better than others. Definitely feel for weight, a heavier fruit means the more juice inside. Also avoid any fruits that are shriveled, bruised, or have super soft spots.
Freezer Instructions: Lay arils in a single layer on a flat plate or baking sheet. Place in freezer 1-2 hours. When completely frozen, place in freezer safe container or zip top bag. Frozen seeds are especially great added to smoothies for an icy nutrient boost!
Juicing Instructions (From pomegranates.org)
It will take 2-3 Pomegranates to yield about 1 C juice
Cut the fresh pomegranate in half as you would a grapefruit. We recommend using a hand-press juicer to juice a pomegranate. If you use an electric juicer, take care not to juice the membrane, so that the juice remains sweet. Strain the juice through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
Place 1-1/2 to 2 cups seeds in a blender; blend until liquefied.
Pour through a cheesecloth-lined strainer or sieve. Caution, pomegranate juice stains.
On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside (crackling stops when all seeds have broken open). Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice or poke in a straw and press to release juice. Caution, pomegranate juice stains. NOTE: Rolling can be done inside a plastic bag to contain juice that leaks through the skin.
Nutrition Information: Pomegranates are loaded with nutrients and are a great source of fiber!
What do you guys do with Pomegranates?
And if you’re looking for some Halloween fun this weekend, check out this great post on Easy Halloween Party Food!
I am with you. I love to eat them straight up. I always intend to put them in salads, but end up eating the whole bowl first!!! 🙂
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This comes at a perfect time, since I just bought 25lbs of pomegranate from the co-op. Have you tried any of the juicing methods? I'm wondering which way is the best.
Thanks so much! I got some pomegranates in my Bountiful Basket and I was putting off opening them. Ow I know how!
Last year I tried a pomegranate guacamole for the first time. I was uneasy but tried it and it was awesome. I tried making it myself based on recipes I could find through google. Try it with some chips or crackers. Yum!!
It's funny to see these becoming so popular all of a sudden. My family has been eating and loving these for as long as I can remember. Now my kids are enjoying them with too! We mostly peel and eat them plain but we also love to stir them up in our oatmeal at breakfast.
I have two pomegranate favorites:
Pomegranate fruit salad – bananas, pomegranates, walnuts, can of fruit cocktail (not something I EVER use but for this salad) and then mix with fresh whipped cream. sooo good!
I also use it as a replacement for grapes in chicken salad. They are the best to bite into.
I have 3 beautiful pomegranates in my kitchen right now and got a little messy opening up the last one. I was about to go searching for a way to do it with less mess and your post came up just at the right time. Thanks!
At thanksgiving..we make a pomegranate salad. It has apples and pomegranates and pecans in a whip cream base…it's delic. It might be a S.Utah thing though since we grown pomegranates so well down here.
I LOVE Bountiful Baskets! The pomegrantes were tempting, but what to do with that many with limited time at the moment. If they have these around Christmas though, perhaps they could be used as neighbor gifts!
the BEST thing to do with a pomegranate is to make a pomegranate cheesecake. I made a bunch last year with rave reviews and have been waiting for them to appear in the store again so i can make one again.
another good thing is pomegranate salad. chopped apples, pomegranate seeds, mixed with some yogurt and cool whip. delish
I love pomegranates but I have a question. If you eat it straight from the skin, do you eat the hard part of the seed? For instance you have the juicy red outside and then white middle part. Can you eat that white middle part?
Great article, I love this site!
Seems like I am the only male here though. But I don't mind! I love the writing style and the recipes a lot! Keep up the good work!
I am embarrassed to say, but I didn't know you could eat the seeds. I would just chew off the juice and spit out the seeds. It was a lot of work. hahahha
I love making Alton Brown's pomegranate jello recipe.
I love to make a cranberry pomegranate salad every Christmas. It is so yummy and has sugar soaked cranberries with pomegranates, grapes, pineapple, walnuts, and whipped cream.
Those ruby red, juicy arils are one of life's great pleasures! Another way to extract the seeds is to hold a pomegranate half in your hand, skin side up, and whack the skin with a wooden spoon. The arils fall out like magic.
THANK YOU!! I have NEVER known how to eat one, what part was even for eating! I could never find this information.
I just tried it recently, but didn't like the small hard seeds inside the arils so I'd pop them in my mouth and spit out the seeds.
This is a great method, because I find the little white pieces that stick to the seeds annoying to pick off. I'll try this. I usually cut it into section and beat the back of the pomegranite with a wooden spoon. They just fall out… but I'll try your method out!
My kids LOVE pomegranites!
Or check out this method…
I've even skipped the scoring step(just cut in half and pound with a wooden spoon) and it works like a charm!
Christmas breakfast isn't complete without crepes and fluted kiwi halves sprinkled with arils. The green and red make a pretty Christmas treat.
I just bought a pomegranate the other day. I was wondering if I was going to be in the mood to fight eating it, lol (aka, getting all the seeds out to enjoy). I'm glad you posted this. I love to just eat them all by themselves. 🙂 They are a good addition to a salad though.
…. and cilantro and lime, almost forgot!
Sandy- great question, I just added that info to the post!
Eden- great idea!
Charity- pre peeled?? How interesting!
Angela- that sounds SO good!
Susie- you lucky duck. I'm jealous you get to grow your own. How fun!
We are lucky down here in southern utah and have home grown pomegranates. They are so much sweeter than the store bought ones which are a different variety. Our outer skins are more yellow with some red running through them. How we tell they are ripe is the skin starts cracking itself if the outer shell does part easily they aren't as ripe, we can just tear the skin with our fingers. I love pomegranate season and my 2 year old forages around grandpas farm just finding them and eating them she loves them so much!! Great tutorial.
I made the BEST salsa last year with minced cranberries, pomegranate, minced orange and jalapeno. I'm making it for Halloween but going to add some mango too. Eat it w/crackers and cream cheese.
I just posted on FB about peeling these being a full-time job for 5 kids! ha! I just learned they sell them pre-peeled at local grocery stores! Yippppeeeee!
I like adding it to a fruit pizza!
How do you tell if one is ripe? I tried one years ago and the seeds were hard and crunchy.