How to Eat a Pomegranate (Without Scraping Seeds Off the Ceiling)

17 Sep

What’s tough on the outside and beautifully bizarre on the inside?

Clue: It’s not Clint Eastwood’s Republican Convention speech.

It’s the pomegranate, in season (here in the Northern Hemisphere) now through February.

You may have noticed pomegranates in the produce section of your local supermarket. Perhaps you strolled over to the pomegranate bin to pick up one of the crown jewels and admired it for its exotic beauty. You might have turned it over in your hands and thought about its numerous health benefits—even sniffed the pomegranate and fantasized about devouring its sweet, tart, juicy seeds.

Then you probably scratched your head and wondered, “How do I eat a pomegranate?” With a frown, you likely tossed it back into the bin and made a beeline for the apples.

Eating a pomegranate can be tricky. My method has always been to cut the pomegranate in half or into segments and scrape out the seeds—which works well if you don’t mind being splattered with more shades of red than a back alley wall, or scraping the seeds off the ceiling.

I recently searched the Internet to learn the best way to eat a pomegranate and discovered a wonderfully simple and surprisingly cathartic method I call “pomegranate smacking.” All you need is a knife, bowl and wooden spoon.

Score the fruit with a knife down its middle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Break it open.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gently stretch the skin away from the membrane of each of the two halves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hold the pomegranate over a bowl and smack the rind as hard as you can over and over with a wooden spoon to eject the ruby-like seeds into the bowl. (Instead of a bowl you can use a strainer and place it inside your kitchen sink to minimize countertop splatter).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove any stray pieces of the bitter white membrane and enjoy your bowlful of pomegranate seeds—and your clean ceiling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More On Pomegranates:

The pomegranate, native to Persia, is one of the oldest fruits known to man. In fact, Adam and Eve might have skipped the apple entirely and bitten into a pomegranate if wooden spoons had been invented.

The pomegranate has a long history of use as a food, medicine and religious symbol in many countries. Those of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year may know that the pomegranate is a symbolic fruit of the Jewish holiday representing fruitfulness and wisdom, and one of the healthier traditional New Year foods, unlike noodle kugel, which symbolizes clogged arteries.

On the second night of Rosh Hashanah it’s common to eat a new fruit, one you haven’t tasted in a long time. Often, the pomegranate is used since it is said to have 613 seeds, which corresponds to the 613 mitzvot, or commandments of the Torah.

The next time you eat a pomegranate, I recommend you try the smacking method. I can’t guarantee the pomegranate will bring you fruitfulness and wisdom, but I’m pretty sure your clothes and counters will stay clean.

Wishing you all an easy de-seeding, and for those who celebrate, a Happy New Year!

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69 Responses to “How to Eat a Pomegranate (Without Scraping Seeds Off the Ceiling)”

  1. Carrie Rubin at 3:18 pm #

    The things I learn from reading blogs! I’ve actually never eaten a pomegranate, I’m ashamed to say. And given the amount of work it appears to take to get inside of one, I suspect I’ll stick with pomegranate-flavored yogurt. Then again, it might be fun to try it, get covered in red splatches, and greet my family for dinner looking like I’ve nicked an artery during my meal prep. 😉

    • Carrie, Carrie, Carrie, where is your sense of adventure? Now that you’re a published author, I think it’s time you tried an “adventure bite” (that’s what I call it for my kids). 😉

      • Carrie Rubin at 7:29 pm #

        An “adventure bite”! Oh, that’s good! And you’re right; I should take more risks in my culinary experiences. But I probably won’t. 🙂

      • I can’t believe you’re not willing to taste one pomegranate seed! Argh, you’re glad I’m not your mother or I wouldn’t let you get away with it.

      • Carrie Rubin at 10:12 pm #

        I’m willing to taste it. I love fruit. I’m just not willing to go through the trouble of opening it. 🙂

      • Perfecting Motherhood at 12:40 am #

        Just ask Lisa to do it for you. She’s clearly a pro at this.

    • Sounds like you have Halloween all figured out!

  2. Lisa L at 3:18 pm #

    What a great post! Happy Healthy New Year to you and the whole family!

  3. Honie Briggs at 3:45 pm #

    Last year I was trying to do something nice for my husband. Um, I do nice stuff more than once a year. Anyway – I’d never purchased pomegranates before, they were everywhere and since I was hanging out in the produce department, looking for opportunities to start conversations about my book. (because that’s where my target audience hangs out) I had the idea that it was about time I figured out something about this “healthy snack” & so, I bought a few.
    I looked like I’d field dressed a deer after I got through hacking them to pieces. 😛 Thanks for the tip, maybe it’s time for me to do something nice again.

  4. G M Barlean at 3:59 pm #

    I knew about the smacking of pomegranates. I’ve boughten them and smacked them before. What I can’t quite figure out is…are you supposed to eat the seeds whole? The hard part, too? It was a while ago when I smacked my first and last pomegranate and it seems I kind of sucked off the juice and spit out the seeds, then wondered what all the fuss was about. Your answer may be the difference between me every purchasing another pomegranate!

    • You already figured out the hardest part–removing the seeds! The easy part is eating them–yes you can swallow the entire seed. I can sit down and eat an entire bowlful of seeds. I savor every spoonful! But if that’s too intense for you, try sprinkling them in dishes—whether meat dishes, sides dishes or salads.

  5. Mama Bread Baker at 4:42 pm #

    We had a pomegranate tree in our yard when I was in 3rd grade. I loved them! But I admit, I pass them up in the store because they are so messy. I think I’ll have to grab one next time and smack it. I’m sure the crumb snatchers would say “better the pomegranate than them!”

    • That’s so cool that you had a pomegranate tree growing up. I would love to have one in our yard but I don’t think we have the right environment. We have a fig tree, and in four years it’s produced one fig. We split it five ways.

  6. LuAnn at 5:05 pm #

    I stumbled upon this method of dissecting a pomegranate recently as I also got tired of being splattered. Great post! 🙂

  7. Jen and Tonic at 5:19 pm #

    I love pomegranates, but find the seeds so hard to scoop. On the upside, I always dye my hands a lovely shade of red. I’ll have to try this!

  8. I love pomegranates and that’s a great trick. Although I’ll probably smack my own hand with the wooden spoon the first time I try it…

  9. Paprika Furstenburg at 7:34 pm #

    You learn something new everyday and today I learned two new things! I now know how to get to the pomegranate seeds without ruining my clothes and I know that they are symbols of the Jewish New Year. I’ve been eating apples and honey all these years. No wonder I’m not as wise as I could be.

  10. earthriderjudyberman at 9:29 pm #

    We have pomegranates on occasion. I don’t recall how we got around to the messiness, but they sure do taste good. Thanks for the great tips, Lisa. I’ll try them the next time.

  11. That is a good way to de-seed them. BUT if I may offer an alternative suggestion, this one is straight from Martha Stuart’s mouth to your ears.

    Cut off the top and bottom of the PG. Then score the sides in 4 or 5 places, moving around the PG. Scoring makes it easy to peel off the skin in sections, then just turn the section you dislocated from its whole, hold it over a bowl, and pull out the seeds in clumps, which is the way they grow.

    I love PGs, and now that I know how healthy they are I love them even more!

    • Thanks for the tip, Ronnie. I’ve tried the scoring method and I love to watch the colorful clumps of seeds fall away. I did find, though, that the seeds stay attached to the membranes more than they do with smacking. But if violent smacking isn’t for you, you can’t go wrong with Martha! 🙂

  12. Huffygirl at 9:50 pm #

    I have never eaten a pomegranate. When they are cut open I am always reminded of a post mortem on a heart with endocarditis. And that is as far as I get.

  13. nursemommylaughs at 10:06 pm #

    Adam and Eve and the Wooden Spoon…interesting. You have really outdone yourself with creative topics this time! Informative AND entertaining. Love it!

    • Hmmm, “Adam and Eve and the Wooden Spoon” — could be an interesting book title! Thanks for the kind words, Stacey.

  14. artsifrtsy at 10:37 pm #

    We grew poms in our back yard when I was young and my grandma made the most amazing jelly out of them. I had not heard about smacking them. I face the star up and cut in between 2 opposite points about 3/4″ down into the fruit – most of the top is the dense yellow divider. Twist the knife from side to side while it’s still in the pom – it will start to break apart – from there it easily breaks into sections that you can just bite off the sections. Man, I want one now!

    • What I would give to try some homemade pomegranate jelly! Sounds like you have some nice pomegranate memories. And yes, I agree, there’s something very satisfying about biting into a whole section of seeds– sort of like the satisfaction biting into a meaty rib (if you’re not a vegetarian) 🙂

      • artsifrtsy at 11:46 am #

        I like some pos with my ribs:) My grandma looked like she had on a hazmat suit juicing them in the backyard to make the jelly. My pop also made wine with them.

  15. shovonc at 11:00 pm #

    That was oddly useful. Thanks.

  16. amybluestone at 8:19 am #

    wow thanks! That’s an amazing discovery… Happy New Year! A

  17. Grown and Flown at 12:03 pm #

    Years and years of making an unholy mess just came to an end….really how can I think you. It never occurred to me that there was a better way, lesson learned. Many thanks.

  18. Katherine Checkley at 5:44 pm #

    So I had a dream about a pomegranate…and the next day your post pops up. Very strange. I took it as a good sign! Great tips as well 🙂

  19. FringeGirl at 8:27 pm #

    Good tip! For a long time I thought you had to suck on the seeds and then spit them out. I didn’t know you could eat them.

    • Now if we could only figure out a way to eat artichoke leaves! I think craping them with our teeth is such a tease!

  20. Debbie Abrams Kaplan at 12:59 pm #

    whack it with a spoon – good to know! I’ve always cut it in half and then popped the seeds out with my fingers, while the pomegranate is in a bowl of water. Less mess, and the good seeds usually sink while the white stuff and nasty seeds float. But I’d rather hit the damn thing with a spoon.

    • Funny, Christian Grey said the same thing! 😉

      • Lou and Kitty at 5:17 pm #

        Seed is an interesting word. Regarding pomegranates, they can be de-fruited with a good wack. A whole new thing for me. They can be planted in the ground or in ones head or simply spit out. For now I just plan to recede.

      • Thanks for spitting out that amusing comment! And be careful receding. When my husband did that he lost his hairline.

  21. Cass @foodmyfriend at 8:25 pm #

    Great tutorial 🙂 I love pomegranate. Especially in soda water. Yum!

  22. funnyortragic at 2:22 am #

    Ik now you can drop the seeds into a bowl of water, and the pithy parts will float up so you don’t have to sift through them…

  23. ioanna aggelidaki at 5:06 am #

    Very helpful post! I always make a mess when eating a pomegranate…… 😛

    • Thanks. Unfortunately we encountered a different kind of mess yesterday when my husband cut open his finger along with the pomegranate. . . . thankfully he is ok! 🙂

  24. Dawn@LightenUp! at 10:05 am #

    Lisa, you are full of valuable of valuable information. And stuff. 🙂

  25. The Laughing Mom at 12:16 am #

    Happy New Year to you. I thought I already commented in this, however, that was very interesting! Will try your technique as I have two fruits in the fridge.

  26. Ally Bean at 8:50 am #

    I like pomegranate juice, but have never tried to cut open a pomegranate. Now I have a project that sounds like fun. Thanks for the info & for stopping by my blog.

  27. Gunta at 6:07 pm #

    Thanks for enticing me over here with your “like” …. this was certainly a fun post. Totally enjoyed your sense of humor in the comments. ;

  28. Storkhunter at 8:07 am #

    Lisa – my hubby does this method and yet he still manages to get pomegranate splatter on the countertop, floor, walls, sink (inside and out) and yes even on the ceiling.
    BTW, although the red seeds look beautiful it is the paler pinky ones that taste sweeter

  29. Are you married to Wladimir Klitschko? I didn’t know that pale seeds are sweeter–thanks for sharing!

  30. pomlover at 11:47 pm #

    Putting seeds on everything now, cereal, vanilla ice cream, …
    But, I’d get a deseeder to smack the pom. Less mess.
    http://www.pomegranatedeseeder.com has them.

  31. Capt Jill at 1:14 am #

    Interesting post. I’ve never eaten one of those and I have to admit, I had no idea what you’re supposed to do with them. Eat the seeds whole? Seems like it would be a hell of a lot of work to not do it that way. We actually have some of them around here at the moment, lucky for me, we have cooks out here and I’m not the one that needs to figure out how to prepare them 😉
    Thanks for stopping by my blog, I’m glad you liked my quiz and the corny jokes 😉

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