Pomegranates are a delicious and ultra healthy snack, but they are notoriously difficult to cut. For many people, the process is messy and awkward, taking a long time and ending with a puddle of juice. Even worse, many people find that the process causes them to lose out on those delicious arils!
But there are several ways to cut pomegranates without the mess and effort, ensuring that you get your hands on that delicious fruit more quickly. Here are our top methods for how to cut pomegranates quickly and (almost) without a mess!
The Water Method
Many pomegranate lovers swear by the water method for quick and easy cutting and deseeding. This method removes most if not all of the mess you usually see when cutting a pomegranate.
It all comes down to opening and seeding the pomegranate in a bowl of water. This method is actually extremely simple and requires very little cutting!
To start, get a deep, wide bowl that offers enough room for you to work with both hands. Fill it about a third full of water. Some people prefer to use warm water, believing that it makes it easier to peel the pomegranate by softening the tough peel and loosening the seeds. Try it with warm or cool water and decide which you think works best!
To start, make a large X cut in the top of your pomegranate. This will make it easier to break into quarters. Put the pomegranate in the water and, using your thumbs, pull it apart into four pieces. If you find this tricky, remove the fruit and make the cuts deeper.
Keeping the pomegranate in the water, work at it with your fingers to remove the pith and skin. This method makes it much easier to separate the skin from the arils. The seeds, which are naturally heavy with juice, sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the skin and peel float to the top.
Meanwhile, the juice remains in the water rather than spraying and staining. When you have deseeded the pomegranate, skim the skin and peel from the surface of the water, then drain using a colander. This is an incredibly quick and mess-free way to get your pomegranate ready to eat!
The Peeling Method
One of the challenges of opening a pomegranate is the thick skin. Unlike most fruits, which can be peeled by hand, pomegranates still require a knife for peeling. You will still need to start out by cutting, but this method helps reduce the amount of time you spend hacking at the fruit and cuts back on wasted seeds.
To start, cut the pomegranate into quarters. Hold each one over a deep, wide bowl, with your fingers at each corner. Push your thumbs into the center of the peel to invert the quarter. This will help break the seeds loose, likely in clumps.
Use your fingers to break up the clumps into individual arils. You may also need to pick out some pith or skin manually. It is often helpful to bunch your fingers up and sweep them briskly across the peel to knock loose the seeds.
The Flower Method
One of the simplest ways to cut a pomegranate is to use the “flower” method. This is one of the quickest and cleanest ways to cut a pomegranate, letting you avoid the mess that it usually entails.
To do the flower method, start by cutting off the “flower” of the pomegranate, the navel on the end of the fruit. Use a paring knife to score the sides gently, separating it into four segments. When choosing the place to cut, look at the ridges on the fruit. Cut between them to take advantage of the natural separations in the pomegranate.
Then use your thumb to push the spot where the flower was. This should make it easy to crack the fruit into four segments. Proceed as you normally would, removing the arils with your fingers.
This method is a great way to open a pomegranate since it reduces the amount of cutting you’ll be doing, so you won’t have juice going everywhere. The resulting open pomegranate also makes a beautiful centerpiece for a fruit platter!
The Hitting Method
This method might seem a little bizarre, but hear us out! The hitting method requires a very basic cut — just scoring gently along the fruit. In fact, it is almost identical to the flower method. The difference comes down to the way you will remove the seeds.
To start, remove the flower and score gently along the sides of the pomegranate peel. Then push your thumb into the top, ripping the pomegranate into quarters.
Instead of removing the arils with your fingers, smack the fruit repeatedly against the side of a bowl. This should remove most of the seeds. If you need a bit of extra help, feel free to loosen them with your fingers wherever needed. After all, you don’t want to waste any fruit!
Alternatively, take each quarter, hold it above the bowl, and use a wooden spoon to smack the peel side firmly. Rotate each quarter to make sure you get all the seeds. You should not need to use your fingers much — the impact of the spoon will likely shake most of the seeds loose in just a few minutes!
Make sure you are using a deep, wide bowl to catch the arils rather than having them wind up all around your kitchen.
Should You Wash a Pomegranate Before Cutting It?
As with any produce, you should wash a pomegranate before cutting it. The outside of fruits and vegetables often harbor bacteria, which is carried into the fruit when you cut it. For this reason, you should always wash pomegranates before cutting them, even though you won’t be consuming the peel.
You don’t need to use soap to wash your pomegranate. A simple rinse under some warm water will do the trick. As you rinse, rub the fruit briskly with your thumbs under the stream of water. Alternatively, you can use a scrubbing brush to make sure you remove any harmful bacteria that might be present.
Can You Peel a Pomegranate Before Cutting It?
You certainly can peel a pomegranate before cutting it, but there is no real point — unless, of course, you simply prefer to use the peeling method outlined above. Pomegranate peel is thick and tough, and it can be difficult to remove, usually requiring a knife to make strategic cuts. Since the seeds come loose in the same way regardless of how you open the fruit, it really comes down to what you find quickest and easiest. Generally, however, you will not be able to peel a whole pomegranate with your fingers as you would with an orange (unless you are extremely strong!).
What Should The Inside of a Ripe Pomegranate Look Like?
A ripe pomegranate has medium to dark-colored fruit (with the exception of a few varieties such as the Eversweet pomegranate). None of the fruit or skin should be green. You can tell that a pomegranate is ripe by looking at the whole fruit for flat sides. These are caused by the ripe seeds exerting pressure from inside the fruit.
A ripe pomegranate will also look (from the outside) deep in color — either red or brown, but not pale. It will also be firm and smooth, not puckered or soft. All these are solid signs that you have a delicious, ready-to-eat fruit on your hands.
Final Words On How To Cut Pomegranates
Some people dislike cutting and deseeding pomegranates so much that they pay many times the usual price for pre-cut fruit. However, with these quick and easy methods, you will save money without sacrificing time (and potentially the state of your clean shirt).
Do you have a favorite method you’d like to share for how to cut pomegranates? Let us know in the comments!
Excited to learn more about this magical fruit? Then check out our pomegranate trees page for information on pomegranate planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!
- About the Author
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Bree is a wife, mom to a silly pitbull, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards. She lives in Oregon where she works as a freelancer and spends her free time cooking or crafting.
She began gardening when she became a homeowner — whenever she moved into a new home, a garden was one of her first priorities. She enjoyed creating beautiful outdoor spaces in whatever growing zone she lived in and says her southwest gardens were the most challenging!
Bree currently lives in a downtown urban setting, so she’s making good use of indoor gardening methods. Writing for Minneopa Orchards also inspires her to experiment in the kitchen with fresh herbs and seasonal produce. Infused oils, fruit syrups, and dried fruits are some of her recent successes.