How To: Deseed a Pomegranate with Your Bare Hands (& No Mess)

Deseed a Pomegranate with Your Bare Hands (& No Mess)

I love pomegranates. I don't even mind the mind-numbing task of picking out the arils (which is what those ruby-colored seed-like things in the pomegranate are called). However, I'm always on the lookout for new, easy ways to peel it that don't make my kitchen look like a crime scene.

Personally, I don't like the whole peel-it-under-water method because it makes my hands pruney and also because I'm based in a region going through a historically bad drought. The spanking method works for me only if I have an exceptionally ripe pomegranate available. Otherwise, I spend so much time shaking and smacking the fruit that I end up exhausted. And the segmenting method is just too much slicing.

So, what's the best way to get the arils out of this fruit?

Thankfully, I discovered another method, courtesy of the pomegranate council. They discuss the "rolling method" to juice pomegranates:

"On a hard surface, press the palm of your hand against a pomegranate and gently roll to break all of the seeds inside (crackling stops when all seeds have broken open). Pierce the rind and squeeze out juice, or poke in a straw and press to release the juice. NOTE: Rolling can be done inside a plastic bag to contain any juice that may leak through the skin."

In my experience, this method doesn't extract enough juice to make it worthwhile. However, I have discovered that it's excellent for getting all the arils out of your pomegranate pretty easily.

Step 1: Press Down All Around

Place your pomegranate on a hard surface and press down on it firmly to break up the white membrane that holds the seeds together. You'll want to do this all around the circumference of the pomegranate. Don't flinch if you hear that crackling noise (which means a few seeds are getting crushed, too). That saying about you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs applies here, too.

You really want to hear that satisfying "crack" when you press down.

Step 2: Apply Pressure to Stems

Use your thumbs and fingers to dig into the fleshy areas at the stem ends of the pomegranate. This is usually where the membrane is thickest. You really want to hear that crunching noise. That's how you'll know the pith is being broken apart.

It's satisfying when you feel that pith giving way underneath your fingers.

Step 3: Roll the Seeds Loose

Roll the pomegranate gently back and forth across a hard surface. Be gentle but thorough—you want to loosen as many seeds as possible without crushing them. Try to roll the entire circumference of the pomegranate from all angles. Roll around the stem ends, too.

Be firm, yet gentle when rolling your pomegranate.

Step 4: Cut One Stem Off

By now, the pomegranate should feel soft all over, instead of firm. Take a sharp knife and cut an opening into the pomegranate. Do it over a bowl to catch the juice. I like to cut out one of the stem ends because it's the least messy.

Depending on how much you rolled your pomegranate, you could get quite a lot of juice coming out of the fruit when you open it.

If you're really hardcore and want a completely tool-less method, you could always bite that sucker off, but the pith can leave a bitter taste in your mouth. Plus, it could get messy, which I avoid at all costs.

Step 5: Split with Your Hands

Now gently split open the pomegranate and marvel at all those loosened arils. Marvelous!

You can always save the excess juice for vinaigrettes or add it to a smoothie.

Step 6: Shake 'Em All Out

Upend the opened pomegranate and shake out the loosened arils. You'll have to use your fingers to dislodge the stubborn few that insist on clinging to the peel.

Make it rain!

Step 7: Eat & Enjoy

Finally, you can revel in your bowl of pomegranate seeds, now ready for eating.

Full disclosure: I ate a few tablespoonfuls of the results before snapping this photo.

This deseeding technique is most like the segmenting method mentioned previously, but without all of the slicing. The only reason you need a knife here is to take the one stem end off.

Want more fruit hacks? See how to peel thin-skinned fruit painlessly and learn a few lightning-fast tricks for peeling annoying fruits and veggies.

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Photos by Karen Ahn/Food Hacks

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