Hailing from the Mediterranean, India, and China, the pomegranate is a delicious fruit that’s often underrated. A completely unique fruit, pomegranates boast delicious seeds that are both crunchy and juicy. These seeds (called arils) can be eaten on their own or added to fruit salad, oatmeal, yogurt, or dozens of other applications. They can also be turned into juice.
Pomegranates boast a number of health benefits, from immunity to brain health, making them more than worth it to add to your diet. Packed with fiber, vitamin C, and folate, they contain a high amount of nutrients (even a little protein). They also contain an antioxidant called punicalagin, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties. Compounds in pomegranate may reduce blood pressure and help fight plaque buildup to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
If you’ve never tried a pomegranate, you might be surprised at how much you enjoy the unique and tasty fruit. Pick it up the next time you see one at your local market. They’re easier than you might think to cut into and enjoy. Here’s how to do it.
How to Tell if a Pomegranate is Ripe
Before you start slicing into your pomegranate, you want to make sure it’s ripe. Checking the weight of the fruit is probably one of the most effective ways to do so. A ripe fruit will contain plenty of delicious juice, which makes it heavier than unripe fruit. You can also check out the shape of the fruit. Ripe pomegranate will be flatter at the top and bottom due to the pressure exerted from plenty of juice in the middle of the fruit. A perfectly round pomegranate is unlikely to be ripe. Another thing to look for is thick, leathery skin. If you see cracks in a pomegranate’s skin, it’s a good sign that there are plenty of ripe seeds and juice within.
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How to Cut a Pomegranate
Cutting a pomegranate is easier than you might imagine when you first take a look at the odd-looking fruit. Plus, since you’re only cutting the fruit open to remove the seeds, your cuts don’t have to look pretty or uniform. Just be careful of the juice, as it can stain both your countertops and your hands (not to mention your clothes). Here’s how to do it with minimal juice, step by step:
- First, use a sharp knife to cut off about a quarter inch of the stem end of the pomegranate.
- Next, flip the pomegranate over so that the blossom end (or crown) faces upwards. remove about a quarter inch off of the top to remove the crown.
- Hold the fruit in your hands and find the ridges along the outside of the pomegranate. Use your knife to cut or “score” along those ridges. You don’t want to cut through the entire fruit. Instead, just cut through the outer part of the pomegranate skin, from the top to the bottom. In total, you should make about six cuts.
- Working over a bowl to catch any seeds or juice that may fall out of the fruit, use your fingers to pry open the pomegranate. Once open, you will find hundreds of small pink seeds.
- Use your fingers to separate the seeds from the peel and membranes. You shouldn’t have much juice as long as none of the arils have been cut open. To make it easier to separate the membranes, you can add water to your bowl. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the membranes will float to the top. Once all of the membranes have been removed, you can drain the water.
Now you can enjoy the delicious seeds!
How to Store Pomegranate After It is Cut
After you cut a pomegranate, the seeds last about five to seven days in the refrigerator. Be sure to keep them in a sealed container or storage bag for the longest shelf life. For even longer storage, freeze the pomegranate seeds for up to six to ten months.
Pomegranates are loaded with health benefits, and they’re super delicious to enjoy. Try the juicy seeds on top of yogurt, toss them into a fruit salad, add them to fresh smoothies or juices, and so much more.