How to Seed a Pomegranate (Without Making a Mess!)

Ever wonder how to seed a pomegranate without making a huge mess? This step-by-step photo tutorial will show you just how easy it is.
Pomegranate with one side cut off, seeds exposed, with black background.

Pomegranate with one side cut off, seeds exposed, with black background.

When the height of pomegranate season hits, I often get plenty of questions on how to seed a pomegranate. If you are not familiar with eating pomegranates, they can be a somewhat baffling fruit to tackle.

I get it! For years, I steered clear of pomegranates because I heard stories of blood red-spattered kitchens and stained countertops acting as innocent bystanders to the seeding of pomegranate seeds (called arils). But I was determined not to be bested by something that grows on a tree.

It turns out that it really isn’t that difficult to release those crunchy, juicy seeds from their seemingly inhospitable casing.

Of course, there is more than one way to skin a…well, you know. (I have two felines that might be a little miffed if I completed that sentence.) Anyways, my point is this: if you have a tried and true method of seeding pomegranates other than the one outlined here, feel free to share it in the comments section.

And guess what? Pomegranate arils can also be frozen, which means you can buy and seed in bulk, and enjoy the benefits of pomegranates for months to come. More on that later. Plus, I’m sharing tips on choosing pomegranates.

How to seed a pomegranate

Step 1:

Cut the ends off of the pomegranate, but don’t discard them. There are precious seeds still tucked inside of those ends!

Step 2:

Score the pomegranate between the natural breaks (white sections) between the seeds.

2 photos. Whole pomegranate on black background. Cutting between the pomegranate segments with a chef's knife.

2 photos. Whole pomegranate on black background. Cutting between the pomegranate segments with a chef's knife.

Step 3:

Place the pomegranate in a large bowl of water. Make sure that the water is high enough so that you can completely submerge the fruit. You want the juice to squirt into the water rather than out of the bowl (and onto your pretty white sweater…because, inevitably, that’s what you’ll be wearing when you splatter blood-red fruit juice all over your front).

Using your hands, break apart the pomegranate at the scored sections.

Step 4:

Now there are a couple of different ways to do the next part. I typically use the first method, but have been told by a friend that the second method is sure-fire and easier:

  • Method 1: Use your fingers to remove the arils, separating them from the membranes.
  • Method 2: Hold a pomegranate piece, aril-side down into the water, and whack the skin with a wooden spoon. The arils should fall out into the water. Sounds kind of fun, and oddly satisfying.

2 photos. Pieces of pomegranate shell floating in bowl of water. Scooping shells out of the water with a large spoon.

2 photos. Pieces of pomegranate shell floating in bowl of water. Scooping shells out of the water with a large spoon.

Step 5:

The empty membranes of the pomegranate will float to the surface of the water, and the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl.

Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the membranes.

Step 6:

Pour the contents of the bowl into a strainer.

Voilà…a bowlful of beautiful arils!

How to pick a pomegranate:

Weight:

Hold the pomegranate in your hand. As the seeds ripen and become juicier, the weight of the fruit increases. So, a ripe pomegranate should feel heavy relative to its size.

Appearance:

As tempting as it is to pick the pomegranate that’s perfectly smooth and round, this is where the idea of “beauty in the imperfection” comes into play.

The pomegranate arils swell as they ripen (filling with juice!), which causes the exterior of the fruit to become more angular. Instead of picking the impeccably round pomegranate, pick the one that has angled sides.

The skin:

As the pomegranate ripens, the skin becomes softer. When a pomegranate is ripe, you should be able to scratch the skin without using much force.

Sound:

Full disclosure – I’ve never actually tried this method myself, but have been told by several gardening pros that ripe pomegranates have a slight metallic sound when tapped. Kind of like thumping a watermelon, but on a much smaller scale.

How to store pomegranates:

When kept in a cool, dry place that is not in direct sunlight, whole pomegranates can be store for up to 2 months.

Once seeded, pomegranate arils can be store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I typically store them in an airtight container.

To freeze pomegranate arils, dry them then spread on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that the arils are spread out and not touching each other (as much possible) so that they don’t freeze in a clump.

Freeze on the lined baking sheet for 1 to 2 hours. Avoid freezing for longer so they don’t form ice crystals. Transfer the seeds to a freezer resealable bag or an airtight freezer container. They should stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Fine mesh sieve filled with pomegranate arils. Black background.

Fine mesh sieve filled with pomegranate arils. Black background.

Pomegranate nutrition:

According to this article on the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing site, pomegranates and their juice have a host of nutritional benefits.

For example, studies have shown that pomegranates may have positive effects on heart health, such as improved cardiac blood flow.

In addition, preliminary studies have shown that pomegranate juices may be effective in fighting prostate cancer. Read the article linked above for more information about those studies.

Pomegranates are rich in fiber and nutrients such as Vitamins C and K, folate and potassium. All around, it’s a great fruit to add to your diet.

Now that you know how to seed a pomegranate, you’ll need some recipe idea. Here are a few to get you started:

Chopped Kale Salad with Pomegranate & Avocado {Cookin’ Canuck}
Light Meringues with Pomegranate & Pistachios {Cookin’ Canuck}
Healthy Pomegranate Breakfast {Compass & Fork}
Healthy Pomegranate Apple Cobbler {Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog}

Pomegranate with one side cut off, seeds exposed, with black background.Pomegranate with one side cut off, seeds exposed, with black background.

How to Seed a Pomegranate

Ever wonder how to seed a pomegranate without making a huge mess? This step-by-step photo tutorial will show you just how easy it is.

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Course: How To

Cuisine: Mediterranean

Keyword: How To, Seed a Pomegranate

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1 pomegranate

Instructions

  • Cut the ends off of the pomegranate, but don’t discard them. There are precious seeds still tucked inside of those ends!

  • Score the pomegranate between the natural breaks (white sections) between the seeds.

  • Place the pomegranate in a large bowl of water.Make sure that the water is high enough so that you can completely submerge the fruit so that the juice squirts into the water, rather than out of the bowl.

  • Using your hands, break apart the pomegranate at the scored sections.

  • There are a couple of different ways to do the next part. I typically use the first method, but have been told by a friend that the second method is sure-fire and easier:

  • Method 1: Use your fingers to remove the arils, separating them from the membranes.

  • Method 2: Hold a pomegranate piece, aril-side down into the water, and whack the skin with a wooden spoon. The arils should fall out into the water.

  • The empty membranes of the pomegranate will float to the surface of the water, and the arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the membranes.

  • Pour the contents of the bowl into a strainer to capture the arils.


Tried this recipe?If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it on Instagram! Just use the hashtag #COOKINCANUCK and I’ll be sure to find it.

This post was first published on January 19, 2013 and was updated with new photos and text on December 8, 2020.

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

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