POMEGRANATE PRIMER:
HOW TO GET OUT ALL THOSE TINY SEEDS

It feels like a miracle suitable to the season that pomegranates come into the marketplace just when the color red is most in vogue. I love to arrange a big bowl as a centerpiece in lieu of flowers since they’re not just beautiful to look at, but delicious to eat. They’re also mega-nourishing, like tiny antioxidant bombs that are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

That said, pomegranates can be a little intimidating. A lot of folks pass them by because they’re not quite sure how to get those tiny seeds out of there. Plus, that gorgeous pink juice can ruin a good blouse faster than a toddler with a chocolate bar.

So, after playing around with a few techniques for cracking into a pomegranate, I’ve settled on a practically painless approach that minimizes the mess. Here’s how:

Set a large bowl in the kitchen sink and fill it with water. Take a sturdy, sharp knife and cut an X about two inches into the top of the pomegranate. Immerse the pomegranate in the bowl of water, wedge your thumbs into the fruit and crack it open into several chunks. Use your thumbs to loosen the seeds from the pith. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the pith and skin will float to the top. Once all the seeds are extracted, scoop up the pith and discard. Pour the seeds into a strainer. An average size pomegranate will yield about one cup of seeds.

Now, what to do with all those bright red beauties? Here are a few ideas:

Enjoy as a snack — My kids eat them like popcorn. They’re a lunchbox favorite packed in little containers with a spoon.

Toss in a salad — Throw a handful in a fall salad. The color is set off particularly well amongst the dark leaves of spinach or arugula along with toasted nuts and a good vinaigrette.

Stir into grains dishes — Add pomegranate seeds to cooked rice, quinoa, farro, or other grains to add color and tang.

Add to fruit salad — Pomegranate seeds marry well with other fall fruits, particularly persimmons and pears. Dice up your favorites along with the pomegranate seeds to enjoy with plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey for breakfast or even dessert.

Blend into juice — Whirl pomegranate seeds in a blender or food processor. Strain through a cheese cloth-lined colander or fine mesh strainer to separate the juice from the seeds.

Use as a garnish — Sprinkle over everything from cupcakes to custard to add a bit of interest.

Mix a Pretty in Pink Cocktail — A combination of sparkling wine, pomegranate juice, and a spoonful of pomegranate seeds makes for a festive cocktail this time of year.

When buying a pomegranate, look for one that feels heavy for its size. Store at room temperature for several days or in the fridge for at least a month. Extracted pomegranate seeds can also be frozen.

If you haven’t tried pomegranates, give them a go. Kids tend to like tangy flavors, which is perhaps why pomegranates go over so well. If your little ones need some encouragement, let them know that the sticky, bright syrup that transforms a glass of 7-Up into a Shirley Temple comes from, you got it, pomegranates.

How do you eat pomegranates in your house?

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14  Comments

Comments

  1. Zulakha
    11.08.2011 at 7:54 AM #

    I put a little salt on them on serve them in a bowl. The sweet and savory make a good combination. Have you tried cutting the pomegranates in half or fourths and cupping them skin side up in your hand and then hitting the skin with the flat part of a metal tablespoon? That seems to work the best for me. The vibration tends to loosen the seeds from the skin and it goes pretty fast too. Love your posts!

    • katiemorford
      11.08.2011 at 8:43 AM #

      Yes…I’ve done the job by hitting it with a spoon….and it is quite effective. I like to remove the seeds in a bowl of water simply to contain the mess! I minimize how much I cut into the fruit because you lose some of the precious juices. Thanks for the sweet/salty tip!

  2. 11.08.2011 at 2:03 PM #

    I do the water thing too, but I first roll the pomegranate on the counter to loosen the seeds and then I cut it round its equator. Next I place one half cut-side down on my palm and whack it firmly all around with a wooden spoon over a large bowl of water. The white membrane is lighter than the seeds so it floats to the top. Weirdly I find that pomegranate juice comes out easily if soak the affected garment in water and then wash when I get around to it. Beetroot on the other hand…

    Glad your kids like them – same here :D

    • katiemorford
      11.08.2011 at 2:05 PM #

      Good tip on rolling it on the counter to loosen seeds. Thanks.

  3. Lynda
    11.11.2011 at 1:09 PM #

    Brilliant! Just tried the underwater method and it is SO much better than dealing with the mess on the countertop. Have to admit I had switched to buying the seeds at TJs but this is so easy that I can go back to starting with the fruit. Thank you!

  4. Pam H
    12.20.2012 at 8:42 AM #

    You won’t believe this but yesterday, as I spent quite a while extracting the seeds, I asked myself if you (yes, you) had a better way to do it. Thanks for sharing and I’ll try this the next time.

    • katiemorford
      12.20.2012 at 8:46 AM #

      Sorry this wasn’t out yesterday!

  5. Pamela
    12.22.2012 at 6:58 AM #

    Thanks for this great tip for getting the seeds out~~ and I especially like the cocktail idea!

  6. Monica
    01.09.2013 at 9:20 AM #

    I was at the farmer’s market and a woman shoved a bag of 3 pomegranates into my hand for a dollar, but I took them with confidence knowing that I had seen this post! It was a lot of fun and I could picture kids really enjoying this task.

    • katiemorford
      01.09.2013 at 10:09 AM #

      Love that! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Annemarie
    01.17.2013 at 11:08 AM #

    I cut the poles off (just enough to open the top and bottom), then score the lines of longitude in about 4 or 5 places. That way you can pull the fruit apart easily with minimal juice loss. Then do the underwater thing!

    • katiemorford
      01.17.2013 at 11:30 AM #

      Great tip. Thanks.

  8. Anne Mullen
    11.19.2013 at 2:01 PM #

    My favorite way to have pomegranate seeds is when my daughter-in-law and granddaughter from Tbilisi, Georgia make Badrijani, which is sauteed sliced eggplant topped with a paste of ground walnuts and other yummy things, then topped with pomegranate seeds. Very pretty and delicious.

    • katiemorford
      11.19.2013 at 5:27 PM #

      That sounds heavenly….all my favorite foods.

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