The pomegranate is a fruit with a multitude of nutritional benefits. Technically classified as berries, pomegranates are high in fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, potassium, folate, and protein.
Scientific studies have shown that pomegranate contains punicalagins and punicic acid, both of which have antioxidant properties. Punicalagin actually has thrice the antioxidant content of green tea.
This makes the pomegranate an excellent anti-inflammatory fruit, and it’s even been linked to a reduction in the risk of certain cancers, including breast and prostate cancer.
Pomegranate may also help to lower blood pressure, reduce joint pain, combat infections, and protect against heart disease.
But in order to access and benefit from the amazing properties of the pomegranate, you first need to know how to cut it properly.
The thick, leathery skin of the pomegranate and its complex inner structure, consisting of pith and arils (seeds), make cutting this fruit quite tricky.
Luckily, we have plenty of experience with handling these delicious berries, so we’re here to tell you all about the easiest way to cut a pomegranate, as well as how best to store the fruit after cutting.
Table of Contents
The Best Way to Cut a Pomegranate
To quickly, easily, and effectively slice up a pomegranate, you will need:
- A cutting board
- A sharp knife
- A bowl
- A wooden spoon/spatula
As you can see, you don’t need anything fancy, expensive, or specialist to cut and de-seed a pomegranate, contrary to what beginners working in this fruit might believe.
Now, once you’ve got your utensils together on a clean surface, it’s time to begin the process of cutting and de-seeding the berry.
Step 1: Cut Around the ‘Equator’
Positioning your pomegranate over your chopping board, make a smooth, continuous incision around the ‘equator’ of the fruit.
The cut should be roughly 1.27 cm (half an inch) deep. This will allow you to get enough purchase to pry the two halves of the fruit apart without damaging the seeds inside.
Step 2: Split the Pomegranate
When you’ve finished making your incision, you can now go ahead and split the pomegranate into two halves.
You can do this using a combination of your knife and your fingers for leverage. Be as gentle as you can to ensure that you don’t damage the arils in the process.
Step 3: Stretch Out the Skin
Before you turn to the de-seeding part of the process, it’s a good idea to stretch out the skin around the sides of the pomegranate halves.
This will make it easier for you to get the arils out, which is definitely the trickiest part of cutting and preparing a pomegranate.
To stretch the skin of the pomegranate, simply take each half of the pomegranate and gently pull at the skin around the edges.
Some juice and seeds may come out during this process, so make sure you’re holding the pomegranate over your bowl as you do this.
Step 4: Upturn and Agitate
Now it’s time to get the arils out of the pithy flesh of the pomegranate.
It might be tempting to just start digging out the seeds with a spoon, but this is likely to damage the seeds and probably won’t be effective, anyway.
Instead, take the first half of your pomegranate and upturn it over your bowl. Then, using your spoon or spatula, deliver a series of firm hits to the back of the shell.
You don’t need to be too aggressive with this, but the hits will need to be hard enough to agitate and dislodge the seeds.
Step 5: Squeeze
Even after agitating the seeds inside the pomegranate, you most likely won’t have gotten all of the arils out.
To free as many seeds as possible, squeeze the pomegranate over the bowl. Then stretch the skin again and repeat until all of the seeds are dislodged.
Step 6: Repeat
Now do the whole process again with the other half of your pomegranate!
How to Store Pomegranate Arils After Cutting
Once you’ve cut open and de-seeded your pomegranate, you should be left with a bowl of arils and two empty pomegranate shells.
Throw out the leftover skin and flesh since you probably won’t need these. Some people like to make pomegranate extract out of the skin, but there are some associated health risks with this. For more on the potential toxicity of parts of the pomegranate, see below.
Store your pomegranate seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
If you want to store your seeds for longer than this, you will need to freeze them. In this case, you’ll want to dry them out first by patting them down with some kitchen towel before putting them in the freezer in a sealable food bag.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are any parts of the pomegranate poisonous?
While it’s unlikely that consuming any part of the pomegranate on a one-off basis will result in serious poisoning, there are some parts of the fruit that you should be wary of.
Although the skin is technically edible, it does contain some toxic substances, so ideally, you should avoid eating the skin in its raw form.
Extracts and powders can be made from the skin, however, and these can be used to fight infections through antioxidants or improve dermatological health.
With that being said, some people have reported adverse effects after using pomegranate extract, so we’d recommend avoiding this altogether, especially if you’ve never been exposed to pomegranate extract before and don’t know how your body will react.
The root and stem of the pomegranate, however, are not safe to consume in any form.
How many seeds will I get from a pomegranate?
A single pomegranate usually contains approximately 2 cups (roughly 260 grams) of avils or seeds. Of course, the exact quantities will depend on the size of the pomegranate.
How can you tell when pomegranate seeds are bad?
When your pomegranate seeds start to lose their vibrant red color and go brown, this is a clear sign that your seeds have started to go bad. Additionally, a change in texture from firm to soft indicates that the seeds have reached the end of their shelf life.