Jan 19
2013

How to: Seed a Pomegranate

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How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

This is the height of pomegranate season and those beautiful baffling fruit seemed to demand a return of my “How to” series. I steered clear of pomegranates for a long time 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, feel free to share it in the comments section.

After seeding several pomegranates, I took an average of the bounty. It turns out that one large pomegranate yield approximately 3/4 cups of arils. I thought about buying the flat of pomegranates that is sold at Costco, and wondered about freezing the arils. After reading through various sites and forums online, it seems that this is only recommended if you plan to use the arils for juicing after you thaw them, as the arils lose their pleasant “pop” after freezing.

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

How to do it:

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.

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

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, so that the juice squirts 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.

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

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.

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

Step 6:

Pour the contents of the bowl into a strainer.

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

Voil√†…a bowlful of beautiful arils!

How to: Seed a Pomegranate by Cookin' Canuck #howto #pomegranate

Here are a few recipe ideas:

Chopped Kale Salad Recipe with Pomegranate & Avocado by Cookin' Canuck
Cookin’ Canuck’s Chopped Kale Salad with Pomegranate & Avocado
A Spicy Perspective’s Duck Confit Salad
Family Fresh Cooking’s Pasta with Pancetta, Spinach & Pomegranate
Good Life Eats’ Pomegranate Salsa
Sweet C’s Designs’ Pimm’s Pom Fizz Valentine Cocktail
Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes’ Breakfast Quinoa

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jean January 19, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Hi Dara, I really enjoy your blog – photos, recipes, information – everything. And I love pomegranates – so colourful and nutritious. Bonus: you can stick a pomegranate with a wooden dowel and place it in your outdoor winter arrangements for a special hit of colour. Lasts right until spring.

For the last few years I’ve been using Martha Stewart’s method of de-seeding pomegranates with the back of a wooden spoon (no water involved) and find it works really well, especially if you wear an apron and put the bowl inside the empty sink to confine any stray particles. Here’s a link to a slightly amusing video on how to do this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_KKvqQ2QxU

Keep up all the great work Cookin Canuck!!

Jean

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2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Hi Jean, I love the idea of using a pomegranate in a winter arrangement. So pretty!

I’ll definitely check out the video. Thanks for adding the link and also for your kind comments.

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3 Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs January 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Thanks for this post, Dara! Whenever I try seeding pomegranates, I end up with juice eeeeverywhere. You gave me a new look on the whole process. Take care!

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4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Whitney, that used to be me. I hope you find this method less messy.

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5 Nicole January 20, 2013 at 1:17 am

Many years ago a few friends and I were watching a movie and eating pomegranates. I was sitting on the couch in front of them, when the lights came on the back of my shirt was a mess! That shirt still sits in my closet as I haven’t been able to throw it away, and I always pull it out when I am seeding pomegranates. Now it looks even worse than it did that night.

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6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Nicole, that’s too funny! Everyone needs an official pomegranate seeding shirt.

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7 Frank @Memorie di Angelina January 20, 2013 at 9:42 am

Love the water bowl trick, would never have thought of that! I usually just mess up my hands and anything else in the area…

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8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I feel your pain, Frank! I hope you find this method easier.

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9 Kathy - Panini Happy January 20, 2013 at 10:08 am

We love pomegranates – just had some seeds on my yogurt moments ago!! I’ve been having a lot of fun with the whacking method. :-)

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10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I really need to try that whacking method!

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11 Linda Wright January 20, 2013 at 10:13 am

Hey Dara, I remember by husband telling me stories about growing up in California. They had a pomegranate tree in their yard. They’d grab one off the tree, sit on the steps, and throw it on the ground to smash it open. I can’t imagine what their fingers and sidewalk looked like!

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12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Linda, I’ll bet his mum loved that! :) How wonderful to have a pomegranate tree…no hope for that here.

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13 Aislinn January 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Hi,
Great post – thanks. I’ve been baffled by how to seed a pomegranate until last summer. Any suggested uses for the leftover water?

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14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 20, 2013 at 1:17 pm

To be honest, I have always discarded the water. I don’t know that the water is highly concentrated enough with pomegranate juice to add much flavor to anything (I try to keep as much of the juice inside the seeds as possible). If you figure out a good use, I’d be intrigued to know!

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15 kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts January 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Great photos and directions–I’ll share it with my chief pomegranate de-ariler, my daughter.

Thanks!

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16 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl January 20, 2013 at 3:29 pm

That is the most stunning photo I’ve ever seen, Dara!!!!

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17 Deborah January 22, 2013 at 9:52 am

I love this – and your photos are gorgeous!!

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18 Laura @ Family Spice January 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

When you seed 20-30 pomegranates at a time, which my husband and I find us doing during the fall months, we find that the water method is hand-down the best method. Certain pomegranates are easy to whack with a wood spoon, the arils fall out quickly, but, trust me, most pomegranates aren’t that easy! Those pesky arils are logged in tight and don’t come out without extra coaxing! Lovely pictures, Dara!

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19 Melanie October 3, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I used this method a couple years ago when I picked 50lbs of these off my sister’s tree. I just filled the sink with water instead of a bowl. I also juiced them all right away and froze the juice in ice cube trays then transferred to Ziploc bags. Great for Sangria or cocktails!!!

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20 margaret October 25, 2013 at 1:40 am

It’s funny that you said I would most likely be wearing white. Because I am. haha.
I’ve bought my very first pomegranate and I’m so thankful for the internet. :D

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21 Becky November 1, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I bought my first pomegranate today and I’m excited to try this method for getting out the seeds

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22 S Goodman May 31, 2014 at 12:30 am

Despite my liking pomegranates, I actually hesitate to buy them because they’re so messy to prepare.

You bowl of water idea captures the juice and floats the unneeded bits nicely!

Thanks

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