The pomegranate has a lengthy history of stories and health benefits, such that this unique fruit creates both appeal and confusion to modern audiences. Appeal — because we want to try this fruit. Confusion — because we have no idea what to do when we purchase one.
It’s time to demystify the pomegranate peeling and eating process and simply enjoy the taste, aroma, color, and culture of this fruit. Here is what you need to know about how to peel a pomegranate.
Pomegranates are the reddish-purple fruit of legend. Rumored in Greek mythology to be the fruits of Persephone’s underworld faux pas, this legend helps hold that the tiny arils inside are almost irresistible. Pomegranates have a legend of significance in religions across the world, including Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, and Islam Buddhism as well as displaying this fruit’s universal appeal.
Medicinally, pomegranates have been used to treat a wide variety of medical ailments, commonly including digestive issues and all parts of this plant have been repurposed including flowers, fruit juice, rind, bark.
How to Select a Pomegranate
Krazy Koupon Lady knows how to guide you through the pomegranate selection process. You won’t be able to properly peel a pomegranate with success if you don’t choose a ripe fruit that’s ready to go. Pomegranates are shipped to the store and may be in transit for a long time. While not prone to overripening once picked, an underripe pomegranate won’t get better simply by sitting. An improperly stored pomegranate will be dried out, might lack juice, or may peel improperly. The first step of how to peel pomegranate is to choose ripe fruit.
A ripe pomegranate will be the size of a larger orange or grapefruit (remember, juice takes up space). The shape of a ripe pomegranate will be squarish or somewhat angular. If the fruit looks like an apple, it isn’t ripe. The skin of a ripe pomegranate is typically a bright or dark red. Lighter pink colors are usually unripe, but it’s important to note there are different varieties of this fruit that can vary in color. More correctly, a ripe red pomegranate should be red.
In addition, the skin of ripe pomegranate changes texture. The pomegranate skin should be smooth and tight. Avoid fruits that are rippled, wrinkled, or have blemishes that may indicate water loss.
Another test of the skin is to try and scratch it. If it scratches easily, the fruit is ripe and ready for use. While this method is effective, it’s not reasonable to go around a grocery store scratching a bunch of fruit, so use this technique with care!
A ripe pomegranate should also have inward-pointing petals on the crown and feel heavier compared to lesser ripe fruits. Once you select your fruit, it’s time to learn how to peel a pomegranate.
How to Peel a Pomegranate
One method can be described as “How To Peel Pomegranate In a Hurry.” For this method you can simply cut down the center. Flip each half pomegranate over and use a wooden spoon or mallet to “bang” on the back of the skin and try to dislodge the seeds.
Effective? Yes, but this method leaves a lot to be desired. You’ll probably make a mess with pomegranate seeds, you’ll lose some juice, and you may damage the seeds as well. If you’re making a smoothie, this is probably okay, but if you plan to use the pomegranate seeds or arils for anything else, this is not the best way to extract pomegranate arils.
Instead, Simply Recipes offers a more refined technique for how to peel a pomegranate.
Remove a quarter-inch slice of pomegranate from the end using a knife. Don’t cut from the “blossom” side. Set the pomegranate flat and move to the blossom or the crown (the pomegranate should now sit flat from your first cut). Cut in a circular pattern to remove the crown from the fruit. Look inside the pomegranate from the top and find the natural ridges of the white interior. Gently slice along the ridge along the though skin in what will usually amount to about 6 slices.
Set down the knife and grab the pomegranate now. Firmly but gently pull the fruit apart according to the slices you just made and pry the fruit open. You should end up with seed-filled wedges slightly reminiscent of an orange. Take each section and pry the seeds out with your fingers to avoid damage and place them into a bowl. To remove the additional membrane, you can add water to the bowl. The membrane pieces will float, the fruit won’t.
Another method for how to peel a pomegranate from Pomegranate experts online involves opening these sections inside a bowl of water itself for less mess.
If this method still doesn’t feel right you can try the “Fan Method” which involves first slicing the pomegranate in half vertically. Place each half seed side up and make four new cuts per half. The cuts should be one inch long and one inch deep. Take the sliced half and hold over a bowl. Apply gentle pressure to watch the cuts fan out and the seeds fall away from the peel.
Now that your pomegranate is successfully peeled and opened, you’ll need to know how to eat it.
How to Eat a Pomegranate
Technically, you can eat the pomegranate juice, the seeds, and the membrane. In reality, the Pomegranate official page recommends avoiding the white membrane as it’s rather unpleasant and bitter, even though some believe in its medicinal properties. I
f you’re truly against waste, instead of eating the pomegranate membrane and peel, try drying or roasting the peel and then placing the cooled peels in a grinder. Take this ground peel powder and make it into a paste that you apply to your skin. The healing properties of pomegranate are said to help with acne and skin conditions.
But back to eating. The juice of the pomegranate is what provides flavor. To get the juice you can use a juicer or eat the juice-filled area around the seed. Yes, you can also eat the pomegranate seed itself, which is considered a good source of fiber. However, you like to enjoy the juice — it’s all ok.
If you do want “just the juice” and not the seeds too, though there are some tested methods. Fruit lovers can place the pomegranate seeds in a juicer to strain the juice from the seed fiber. If you don’t own a juicer, you can lay the seeds on a plate and use a rolling pin to manually “juice” the arils as well. The manual method may be difficult if you want a significant amount of juice, so use it sparingly.
If you don’t mind the seeds but simply don’t want to chew, you can also just put the entire set of seeds in a blender and puree. This is a common method of adding pomegranate juice to a smoothie while preserving health benefits, yet avoiding any risks of sucking a seed through a straw.
So now you know how to peel a pomegranate and how to eat this mythical fruit. Pomegranate seeds are tasty fruits you can use in all kinds of recipes. Peeling a pomegranate will be easiest with a ripe fruit, which will also yield the juiciest and tastiest pomegranate seeds. Avoid the bitter-tasting peel and get the most benefit of the juicy arils inside by using the right deseeding technique.
Whether peeling fast and simply, using a bowl of water to assist, or fanning out the arils for easy removal, you’ll be enjoying the taste of fresh pomegranate in no time. Just remember, it take practice to perfect how to peel pomegranate, but after a few fruits, we’re sure you’ll get the hang of it.
Have a tip to share about peeling pomegranates? Leave it in the comments section below!
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!
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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.