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How To Cut and Eat A Pomegranate

Learn how to cut and eat a pomegranate like a pro with our step-by-step guide! Discover the best techniques and tips for enjoying this delicious fruit.

Pomegranates can be a bit of a challenge, but beneath their thick, leathery peels and white, spongy pith lies a bounty of juicy, ruby-colored seeds packed with flavor and health benefits. Whether you are a seasoned pomegranate enthusiast or trying the fruit for the first time, mastering the art of cutting and eating it is worth the effort. This no-nonsense guide will teach you how to cut and eat a pomegranate so you can confidently purchase the whole fruit instead of pre-packaged arils the next time you head to the grocery store.

How To Cut And Eat A Pomegranate

How To Pick A Pomegranate

Like other fruits, the goal is to buy fresh fruit, but pomegranates are a little harder to read. They aren’t as easy as a peach or pear, whose ripeness can be determined by a gentle squeeze. First, pick up the fruit to check the weight, as ripe pomegranates will feel heavy for their size. Next, check the shape. Ripe fruits tend to be a little less round. Instead, they have a more angular appearance with noticeable flattening near the blossom and stem areas.

Structure: A Simple Overview

A pomegranate consists of several parts. These include the thick rind (or peel) called the flavedo or exocarp, a white pith-like membrane called the albedo, and the edible seeds. The white membrane divides the fruit into clusters called carpels that house the edible arils and inner white seeds. The arils consist of two parts: the aril and the actual seed. The aril is the fleshy, juicy, flavorful outgrowth of the seed that surrounds the crunchy interior structure.

How To Cut A Pomegranate

Gather your equipment before you start cutting into the fruit with reckless abandon. To cut a pomegranate, you’ll need a sharp paring knife, a cutting board, a slightly damp dish towel, a spoon with some weight to it, and a bowl. The sharp knife and cutting board are obvious, but you may have questions about the towel and spoon. It’s best to place a damp towel under the cutting board to keep it in place on the countertop (even anti-slip cutting boards tend to move around a bit). The heavy spoon will come in handy when it comes time to knock the seeds out of the pomegranate, as a little force from a weighted object helps dislodge them from the albedo. As for the bowl, you’ll need it to catch the seeds.

Now that you have the required equipment, it’s time to cut the fruit. To do that, follow these simple steps:

1. Remove the Crown

Place the pomegranate on the cutting board and remove the upright calyx, or “crown” of the fruit. To do this, insert the tip of the knife at a slight angle (keep the insertion shallow to avoid cutting into the seeds). From there, work your way around the calyx until it is detached. A bit of the white pith of the fruit will also be attached. Discard this bit.

2. Score

Starting from the top where the crown was removed, make shallow, vertical cuts along the ridges of the pomegranate that extend to the bottom. The goal is to create sections that correspond to the natural divisions inside the fruit, so use the indented exterior lines as guides. You will cut some inner white portions, but avoid cutting into the seeds, as this creates a mess.

3. Crack It Open

Place both thumbs in the indentation made when you removed the crown from the fruit and grip the pomegranate with your other fingers. From there, hold the fruit over the bowl and gently pry it open along the scored lines.

4. Tap Tap

Hold each segment over the bowl seed-side down and firmly tap the peel with the back of a spoon to release the edible seeds. They will fall right out. Alternatively, you can transfer the segments to the water bowl and remove the seeds.

How To Eat A Pomegranate

The simple answer is to pop the arils into your mouth and chew. The arils that surround the white seed are sweet, juicy, and tart, while the white inner seed is rather crunchy, not hard, so it’s easy to chew but may have a bitter taste to some. However, if you don’t want to eat the actual seeds, simply spit them out.

Can You Swallow Pomegranate Seeds?

According to MedicalNewsToday, pomegranate seeds are safe to eat and are a good source vitamin C, antioxidants, fiber and other nutrients. It basically comes down to personal preference.

Now, to get into more specifics, there are numerous ways to enjoy the fruits of your labor literally. Six of the best include:

1. Parfait Perfection

Layer with yogurt, other fresh fruit, and granola for a breakfast parfait you won’t soon forget!

2. Salad Upgrade

Sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top of your favorite salad or use them as a primary ingredient, like in a couscous and pomegranate salad with fresh herbs (e.g., mint and coriander).

3. Add to Smoothies

Blend a handful with a frozen banana, yogurt, berries, and/or nut butter, along with your choice of milk or juice for an antioxidant-packed smoothie.

4. Incorporate Into Baked Goods

Cakes, cookies, brownies, cheesecake, scones—pomegranate is an exceptional addition to them all. They instantly elevate desserts by adding a refreshing pop of fruity flavor and a lovely burst of color to boot!

5. Make Pomegranate Juice

Pulse the seeds in a blender or food processor a few times to break up the arils to extract the juice, then pour through a strainer, and voila, pomegranate juice that can be drunk as is, used to make sorbets, popsicles, sauces, salad dressings, and more. Expect ½ cup to ¾ cup of juice per pomegranate.

6. Use them in Pomegranate Cocktails or Use as a Garnish

Especially during the holiday season pomegranate cocktails and garnishes are extremely popular. There are many creative concoctions from Pomegranate Margaritas, Pointsettia Pomegranate Cocktails, and Pomegranate Mojitos to a Dirty Shirley garnished with pomegranate arils.

7. Turn that Juice Into Pomegranate Molasses

Combine fresh pomegranate juice with lemon juice and sugar, then cook down to a thick, rich reduction that can be used on anything from a stack of pancakes to roasted chicken or lamb.

8. Mix into Dips and Sauces

Mixing pomegranate into dips and sauces can transform an ordinary appetizer into a festive holiday appetizer. Pomegranate mixed into hummus, relish, guacamole, salsa, and cream cheese dip are a few to try. Experiment with pomegranate-infused BBQ or teriyaki sauce for a sweet and tangy twist.

9. Jellies and Jams

Make homemade pomegranate jelly or jam to spread on toast or pancakes, or use as a condiment on your favorite dish.

11. Charcuterie Board

Add pomegranate arils or jam to a cheese board for a festive holiday addition to any charcuterie board.

12. Toppings

From pancakes and ice cream to soups and cakes, pomegranate arils enhance not only the presentation but also add a flavorful crunch.

13. Homemade Face Mask

Take advantage of the many antioxidants in pomegranates and create a DIY face mask consisting of blended yogurt and arils.

In conclusion, cutting and eating a pomegranate may seem daunting, but it is a breeze with these simple steps. By carefully scoring the fruit along its natural ribbed areas, the pomegranate is easy to open, and then all there’s left to do is firmly hit the fruit with a spoon to dislodge the seeds.

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Monique McArthur
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