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How to Peel a Pomegranate – My Way

October 31, 2011

[Photo Credits to JL]

One of the things that I look for the most in the Fall is pomegranate because I absolutely adore pomegranate seeds. To me, they are one of the most beautiful fruits, a glossy and smooth skin that is a vibrant red.  Hidden inside are these little jewel like gems that are sweet and tart, sparkling in the light.

But, as life would have it, the best things are often the hardest to obtain.  Pomegranates are notoriously difficult to peel.  Very often, you end up with arms and shirts stained red and pomegranates flying into every which corner of the kitchen.  So many people I know just simply give up in frustration.  Not me though!  I, driven by my craving for these crunchy delicious seeds, have figured out a way to more or less painless extract the seeds from the death grip of a pomegranate.

First, you need to select the pomegranates.  I try my best each time I am at the market by picking the densest fruits for their size.  Also, I look for a fresh and taut skin with a standing spout that does not look dried out.

Next, the equipment for extraction.  It is really quite simple – all you need are a small paring knife, two bowls, one large filled with enough cold water to completely submerge a large pomegranate and one small for the skin and “bad seeds”.

After you wash the pomegranates briefly, hold one with the spout parallel to the floor on a cutting board.  With the knife, slice off the spout as closely to the fruit as you can.  This will reveal a little what I fondly call the outie belly button of the fruit.  Next, take the tip of the knife to lightly score the skin a few times.  Do not press too hard or you will pierce the seeds as the skin is actually quite thin.

Now for the slightly “violent” part of the process.  After you have scored the pomegranate, hold the knife parallel to the floor in one hand and the fruit firmly in the other with the belly button facing the knife tip.  Using a little bit of force, insert about 3/4 to 1 inch of the tip of the knife into the belly button part of the pomegranate.  When you have a firm grip with the knife in the fruit, submerge it into the big bowl of water and twist until you feel the fruit open up.  Doing this under water will prevent any juices from splattering all over the white shirt you will inevitably be wearing when peeling pomegranates.

Once you have a small crack in the pomegranate, you can remove the knife and set it aside.  You should be able to wedge a part of your finger into the opening.  Using a little bit of elbow grease, the fruit will open up nicely.  Of course, if you are scared of accidents, do this under water or very close to the water.  As soon as you are able to make a little bit of progress, the rest should come very easily and the seeds should come out without much resistance when you push on them from the side with your thumb.  You will be able to do this quickly once you get the hang of it but go slow and carefully at first and patience will reward you.  I usually let the seeds sink slowly to the bottom of the bowl and the white pith will automatically float to the top.  The larger peels and “bad seeds” go into the small bowl for easy clean up.

You are almost done!  The last step is to remove as much of the white pith floating at the top of the water as possible.  Pour the bowl with the seeds and water into a large sieve over the sink to drain the water.  And all you will be left with are palms full of precious pomegranate seeds ready to be enjoyed whichever way you please.   The best part is that the seeds keep for over a week so I usually peel a week worth of pomegranates all at once on the weekends.  Go ahead and give this a relatively easy and mess free way a try at home and you will be soon reaping the bounties of your labor!

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