Pomegranates are healthy and in season! But cutting them can be tricky and messy. Here’s an easy way to open a pomegranate and get the juicy seeds inside.
As much as I miss summer produce (peaches! blueberries! watermelon!), I’m trying to embrace and enjoy winter produce as much as I can. That means I’m buying lots of grapefruit and stirring kale into soups. It also means I’m stocking up on pomegranates, which are my fifth grader’s new obsession! So first, a little primer on pomegranates:
When is pomegranate season?
Pomegranates have a limited growing season. In the United States, pomegranates are in season from October through January. You won’t find them in stores outside this timeframe, so nab them while you can!
Okay, so what part of the pomegranate do you eat?
Though pomegranates look a bit like apples, it’s the ruby-red seeds inside that you eat. Those seeds are called arils, and they’re juicy and tart-sweet.
Are pomegranates good for you?
Yes! A half cup of pomegranate arils have three grams of fiber (about as much as a slice of whole wheat bread) and roughly a third of the vitamin C young kids need in a day. They also contain compounds that work in the body as antioxidants, helping to protect cells from damage.
How do you choose a pomegranate?
At the store, pick a pomegranate that’s heavy for its size, which means it’s full of juicy seeds. Keep in mind that the color of the outside is NOT an indicator of how sweet or delicious it will be inside.
How long do pomegranates last in the fridge?
Stock up when pomegranates are in season (especially when they’re on sale) because they last a nice long time in your refrigerator. Stash them in the back of the produce drawer and they’ll stay good for months!
How to Open a Pomegranate
There are a few different ways to do this, but I find this method to be the easiest. First, cut the top off the pomegranate.
You’ll notice there are raised ridges all along the outside of the pomegranate. Using a paring knife, score the pomegranate from top to bottom along these raised ridges, just cutting into the skin and not deep into the seeds.
Fill a bowl with cool water. Gently pull apart the sections over the bowl, so it catches any arils or juice that come out.
This is what the sections will look like. The white part is the pith.
Gently push the seeds out from the sections with your thumbs, either over the water or with the section submerged in the water. Trust me, this is a lot less messy that doing it over a cutting board!
The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the pith will float to the top. Remove the pith from the bowl and then strain the seeds from the water.
How to eat pomegranate seeds
- Eat them fresh out of hand
- Pack them in lunch boxes
- Sprinkle them on salads
- Stir them into oatmeal
- Add them to yogurt
- Blend them into smoothies
- Use them instead of raisins for “ants on a log”
- Place a few in a glass of sparkling water or sparkling wine