Thursday, November 4, 2010

6 Photo Steps to Open a Pomegranate

It's a beautiful thing isn't it???

Have you seen em yet???  Harvest time for Pomegranates is here, and the stores are full of them. The real ones.  Many of us have been lucky to get the Pom Wonderful juices as a freebie.  many of us have used the juice for sauces and flavorings.  But, much like Orange juice is different from an actual orange, the Aril, "the botanical term for the seed, surrounded by a juice sack" is much different from the Pom Wonderful juices.

Great for salads, great as a snack, great for... well, you'll just have to wait to read what I think they are great for.

You see, yesterday I got an incredible gift in the mail...

Pom Wonderful is supplying me with 2 count em TWO CASES of these gems!  22 in a case, 44 in total!  How cool is that???

Last week,  I was selected as 1 of 100 bloggers to host a POM PARTY!  Mine is a week from Sunday.  I have three KC area bloggers and their spouses coming for the first ever KC Blogger meet up/POM Party!  Again... How cool is that???

How scary is that???

What on Earth am I supposed to do with these things.  I drank the juice, I reduced, sauteed, flavored it.  But never in my life have I opened a pomegranate.

I better get good at this.  Fortunately, the good folks at POM WONDERFUL have a website with the basics and tips (click HERE to see the Pomegranate 101 page).

So, let's start at the basics... How do I get at the seeds and juice???

Start with a real live fresh Pomegranate!

Step 1... CUT

Sounds easy, but think about your options... Cut through the middle?  Cut through the top down?  Nope, best to cut the top off as shown above.

Step 2... SCORE

OK, if you look close inside the Pomegranate, you will see white membranes.  these membranes hold the seeds, and are what attaches the seeds to the fruit, which is attached to the branch, the trunk, the roots and the nutrients that feed it.  It's the cycle of life without a Lion.  Scoring means to cut down through those membranes.  Keeps the arils intact and less mess.  Leave the last 1/2 inch uncut so you can... 

Step 3... OPEN 

Now we're at the good part.  Feel free to taste test the little seed sacks.  FILLED with juice, sweet, a little tangy and ready to eat!  But to actually cook with them, we need to open it up, just peel down the sides.  Now, you can see all the seeds, all the arils.

Step 4... LOOSEN

If you are afraid of the mess, you can use a spoon for this step.  But let's get Zen with it.  Be the Pomegranate... Feel the Pomegranate.. Live the Pomegranate lifestyle.  get in there and pop the arils off with your thumb.

Just a small word of caution with this step.  Wear an apron, or be very careful.  The juice is wonderful, but it does stain.  Work with the sides of the pomegranate towards you and the seeds away,  when you separate them, it is less likely that the juice will pop towards you.

When you separate the arils from the membrane, always empty them into a bowl of water.  the seeds sink (they are full of juice), while the white membrane will rise to the top, making it easy to...

Step 5... SCOOP

With the membrane floating, it is easy to scoop the white parts out.  The membrane is about the only inedible part of a pomegranate.  It is very bitter.  So scoop out all you can.  Again, run your fingers through the seeds and make sure as much as possible has been removed.

Step 6... Strain

Pour through a colander, or scoop out with a slotted spoon, but stack em up!  You get about a cup and a half of arils out of each Pomegranate.

So, I've ready to move on...

Just what the heck am I gonna do with all the Pomegranates, all these seeds, all this juice.

Many of you have gotten your freebies from Pom Wonderful... What's the best thing you did with it?  Drop me a comment and get me inspired... HELP!
Just what would you do with 43 pomegranates???



  1. Wow that's a lot of poms! Thanks for the tips!

  2. I recently bought my daughter pomegrantes because she loves the seeds, however, she never watched me actually get the seeds out. I gave her instructions over the phone - she left before I got home from work, with a note:

    "Mom, sorry it looks like I murdered the dog on the counter - I had no idea it would stain so much!"

    Luckily I have Bar Keeper's friend - that takes the stains out of everything!

    I'll put my thinking cap on Dave about the pom seeds, I'll let you know!

  3. Hi Dave! I've only opened one pomegranate in my life and after reading your instructions...I was doing it all wrong! Great tips and pics.

    OK, I bet you would be great at this, but what about a pomegranate BBQ sauce?? I just googled it and there were a bunch of recipes, but it called for BBQ mollases which you could buy in a I googled homemade pomegranate mollases and Alton Brown from Food TV has a recipe:

    Then I saw this recipe for mango and pom bbq chicken wings, which sounds right up your alley!

    Hope that gives you a few ideas!

  4. I love pomegranate seeds. I ended up with a few myself last year. May I suggest Chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds? They're yummy!

  5. Great post and tips...I love these little guys, but they are a bit difficult to get to the good stuff, lol :)

  6. I'm so glad you've posted this. I've always been afraid of cutting one of these guys for fear of ruining my clothes.

    I have no idea how you could use this many. I would love to have just the seeds for garnishes. They make everything look so pretty.

  7. There is a wonderful recipe for chocolate pomegranate mousse floating around on Tasty Kitchen's use the juice to make the mousse then add whipped cream on top and add some seeds for garnish. If you can't find it let me know, I have it written down. Its REALLY good.

  8. A big thank you for such precise instructions. I've never gotten this right and I'd love to create a pom ganache for a cake filling.

  9. Love this step by step tutorial! Never has a pomegranate looked so damn glorious.

    I've made a pomegranate, blue cheese couscous salad was downright fantastic in every way.

  10. OMG that's a lot of pomegranates!!!

    My brother's a chef and he swears by turning them upside down and tapping w/ a spoon to get them out. I've also read/seen to do it your way, except do the loosen step UNDER WATER - greatly helps w/ the staining.

    When I got my juice I mostly baked w/ it. Just swap the liquid of a recipe out for the juice. I made muffins and a pie and I think a custard? I forget!

    Good luck and have fun!

  11. I can't wait to see what you do with 43 pomegranates. I'm not a lot of help with them, unfortunately.

  12. a bit late to the table but having just come across your post…
    when I was a youngerling, my brother and I (and all the neighborhood kids) would break these babies open and have seed spitting contests. The best shots where when you hit someone and left red marks on them. Delicious, yes. Messy fun, that is why poms are best!