How to Cut a Pomegranate
Learn how to cut a pomegranate quickly and easily using this simple step-by-step guide. Pomegranate makes a delicious and healthy snack with sweet, tart flavors and beautiful colors. Cutting a pomegranate may seem challenging, but it’s much easier than you think! Plus video tutorial!
The pomegranate is a red, grapefruit-sized fruit that grows on a pomegranate tree. Inside there are many pods called arils with a sweet, tart flavor. Pomegranates are native to the Mediterranean and the Middle East, but have been cultivated in California, Arizona and many other parts of the world.
Pomegranates have become wildly popular like dragon fruit because of their high levels of antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K and folate. Their crunchy seeds contain dietary fiber and micronutrients too.
While pomegranates are available year-round, the peak season for American pomegranates is October and November. To get the freshest-tasting pomegranates, look for ones that:
- have a bright color
- have plump, firm skin
- are heavy for their size
When the fruit is fully ripe, the arils inside will take on a darker, burgundy-like hue. Since pomegranates do not ripen after being picked, you’ll notice the skin becoming taut with soft spots as it gets old.
Note that pomegranate juice will stain your clothes, so don’t hack indiscriminately into a pomegranate and instead follow the steps below 🙂
How to Peel a Pomegranate
To cut a pomegranate, all you’ll need is a sharp paring knife and a cutting board. A plastic cutting board is best, as wood will get stained by the pomegranate juice. Keep a cereal bowl nearby for any loose seeds that may come out during cutting.
- Remove the top: Using a paring knife, cut about 1/2 inch from the top so as to remove pith without seeds.
2. Score the skin: The pomegranate has flatter faces with 5-6 ridges in between typically. Using the paring knife, score the skin vertically along the ridges leaving about ½-inch intact on the bottom. Make sure to cut the skin very gently and don’t cut into any seeds underneath.
3. Pop it open: Place your thumbs into the top and gently pry open the sections, which will open naturally like the petals of a flower.
Once you have the pomegranate in sections, there are two main ways to separate the seeds from the white pulp:
- Fastest: On a plastic cutting board, place the pomegranate section skin side facing up. Whack the skin with a large wooden spoon several times to knock out the seeds. You may wish to put paper towel underneath to contain any splatter.
- Cleanest: Fill a medium mixing bowl with cold water. Place the pomegranate section in and pry out any seeds with your fingertips. The seeds will be separated from the pith as the seeds will sink and the pith will float, so drain out the pith from water to have seeds leftover.
You can also pick the seeds out from the sections with your fingers, which can actually be very relaxing when you’re in the mood! Some people spit out the seeds, but remember they contain dietary fiber and micronutrients.
If you want to make pomegranate juice, juicers and higher-end blenders like a Vitamix will separate out the seeds for you. Otherwise, pass the slurry through a sieve to separate the seeds. Each pomegranate will yield 1/3 cup of juice depending on size and freshness.
Whole Pomegranate: A fresh pomegranate should be eaten within 1-2 days for maximum flavor and juiciness. While it’s best stored at room temperature on your kitchen counter, you can extend the shelf life by another day or two by placing it in a ziplock bag in the fridge.
Pomegranate Seeds: You can cut a pomegranate ahead of time and store the seeds in the fridge for up to one week. Place them in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag to preserve freshness.
The seeds can be frozen the same way for up to 3 months, but separate them into layers with wax paper or parchment in between to contain any leakage. I find the texture suffers somewhat with freezing, so only do it as a last resort.
Watch How to Cut a Pomegranate
How to Cut a Pomegranate
- 1 large pomegranate, ripe
- Rinse the pomegranate and place it on a work surface stem-side facing down.
- Using a paring knife, cut a 1-inch circle around the blossom, cutting diagonally only deep enough to score the skin.
- Feel for the 5-6 vertical ribs of the pomegranate with your fingers.
- Using the paring knife, cut along each rib from top to stem, leaving a 1/2-inch uncut on the bottom. Make sure not to cut into seeds underneath.
- Working from the top down, use your fingers to gently pull apart the sections of pomegranate like flower petals.
- Fill a medium bowl with water and add the pomegranate sections. Pop out the seeds, which will sink, and drain off the remaining pith and peel.
- 1 pomegranate yields approximately 1 cup of edible pods/arils, or about 1/3 cup of juice depending on the size.
- Store cut pomegranate in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months separated into layers in a sealed container.
More fresh fruit hacks:
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