The pomegranate isn’t the most common fruit, so it’s not unexpected that most people aren’t sure how to cut it open or how to eat it. It looks kind of like an apple from the outside, and inside, there’s tons of seeds filling up what looks kind of like a honeycomb. People who have never had a pomegranate might not be sure how much of it is edible and how they’re supposed to go about eating the fruit.
What Are Pomegranates?
These vibrant red fruits are in season in the fall and are a pinkish red color the outside, with crunchy, dark seeds called arils on the inside. They’re very flavorful and can be found at local farmers markets as well as many groceries.
How do you tell if a pomegranate is ripe and ready to be eaten? Look for pomegranates that have cracked peels that look like they’re about to start opening on their own. This means the seeds have ripened and become plump and are starting to grow past the confines of the peel.
Are the seeds edible? Absolutely, and there are a few different ways you can prep the seeds for storage or eating. Some people freeze them to store them up for long term and just pull them out of the freezer when they feel like snacking on them. Other people will blend up the seeds to make puree or paste or use them in smoothies.
How to Cut Open a Pomegranate Fruit?
If you’ve never seen this fruit before and you’re not very familiar with them, you might be wondering how to cut open a pomegranate. You’re probably tempted to slice the pomegranate right down the middle, as a lot of people do, but this isn’t considered the best way how to cut a pomegranate open.
Start by slicing off the bottom of the pomegranate. You don’t want to slice off too much- just a thin incision that removes about 1/4 inch from the bottom end of the pomegranate. Then, place the pomegranate flat where you cut it, and it should stay stable. The crown or blossom end should be on top.
Next, you remove the crown. The best knife to slice that off is a paring knife, and you want to cut shallowly into the pomegranate, making a circle. Slice around the crown and remove it.
Next make shallow cuts along the exterior of the pomegranate, slicing vertically. You should see ridges on the outside of the pomegranate, and you can cut along with those, making for an easy, natural guide. This method for how to cut and open a pomegranate will make it easy to eat and deseed.
If you are cutting along the ridges, you should be making about 6 cuts. Not every pomegranate has these prominent ridges, and that’s oaky. Just cut several times around the outer edge, trying to space your cuts evenly. The important thing, though, is that you don’t slice deeply. You don’t want to cut into the seeds. Be sure to cut from the top to the bottom all the way around the fruit.
Next, we need to pry open the pomegranate. You can use your fingers to pull it open and it should come apart easily, leaving behind exposed seeds. Open up all the sections, and you may want to cut open the fruit over a bowl of water. Why I cover how to cut open a pomegranate over a bowl of water is so that you don’t have a big mess and lose seeds everywhere. If you open it over a bowl of water, the seeds will be suspended in the water and will be easy to get out.
Next, you need to pry the seeds out of the membranes and peel. Be sure to work over a bowl to reduce your mess and to keep the seeds from rolling away. Use your fingers to pull the seeds away from the membrane and peel. Working over a bowl of water means that the seeds will fall to the bottom of the water and the membrane will be suspended, making it easy to separate the two parts of the pomegranate and sort them out.
Keep in mind as I show you how to cut open a pomegranate the right way that the seeds can stain if they get on your countertop, carpet, or clothes. You want to be careful about that, and this is why I suggest working over a bowl to reduce the mess.
Once all the seeds are removed from the skin membrane, you can take the membranes out of the top of the water remove the seeds from the water as well. The seeds can be stored separately to be eaten as a snack later.
This is the simplest and easiest way to cut open a pomegranate and remove the seeds without making a big mess. Be aware that some pomegranate juice may still come out and cause a bit of a mess. You should know that the juice can stain whatever it comes into contact with.
What about the membrane? Is it safe to eat? The white, pithy membrane is safe for consumption, but most people will get rid of it. That’s because it is very bitter. The white membrane is a good source of antioxidants, vitamin C, and polyphenols. So, it’s very nutritious, but most people will avoid it because of its bitter flavor. You can eat the skin too, but most people will simply grind that down into a powder if they use it at all. It can be made into a pomegranate extract, used to flavor beverages or desserts with a pomegranate taste.
You do not want to eat the stem or root of the pomegranate, particularly in large amounts. Eating lots of the stem, root, or even the peel in large quantities can be unsafe. Some people have a sensitivity to pomegranate, particularly pomegranate extract. Some people will apply the extract to their skin as part of a skin care routine and this is safe for most people. Just be aware that the peel, stem, and roots do contain poison, which may not affect you in small amounts but would definitely have a negative effect in large amounts.
Now you know how to cut open, use, and eat a pomegranate. If you’ve never tried this fruit before, you should definitely give it a try. This strong flavor is unique and can make a great addition to a snack mix, smoothie, and desserts, adding an interesting new flavor to them.