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How to Handle a Pomegranate

Don't let the pomegranate intimidate you. With a few tips, you can master this compelling tasty fruit.

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    Image 1 of 6

    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Method two leaves you with beautiful clusters of pomegranate arils.

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    Image 2 of 6

    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Beat the back of the pomegranate half with a spoon to release the seeds, or arils.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/ WFIU

    The back-of-the-spoon method easily removes all of the seeds/arils from the skin and pith.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Make sure you have a large container under your hand for method 1, to contain the bright red juices of the fruit.

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Method 2 involves scoring the outer skin along the sections lines

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    Photo: Eoban Binder/WFIU

    Chef Daniel Orr shows off the festive arrangement of pomegranate after demonstrating the two methods.

Pomegranates start showing up in Midwestern grocery stores in the fall, and you can usually find them through the winter. Which is lucky for us. They’re a beautiful fruit, and seem especially suited for the holidays, with those sparkling scarlet seeds. I use them to liven up a kale salad or garnish a dessert.

If you haven’t worked with a pomegranate, they can be a bit baffling. How are you supposed to get to the good part? The good part, of course, is the shiny red kernals, also known as arils. They’re covered in a leathery, muted red peel, with random sections of white pithy skin on the inside. I can tell you, it’s easier than it looks, if you know a few tricks. Chef Orr walks us through the process on the podcast, but here is a description and a few photos to help you out.

Method 1
Imagine the pomegranate as a globe, with the blossom and stem ends as the North and South poles. Cut the pomegranate in half along what would be the equator. Place the cut side of a pomegranate half over the palm of your hand, over a large bowl. Now whack the back of the pomegranate half with a large spoon. The arils will fall out, onto your hand and into the bowl. Repeat until each half is cleared of its arils.

Method 2
Make a cut just a half inch below the blossom-end of the pomegranate. This will reveal the sections of the fruit, expressed as white lines pointing towards the center of the fruit. Use a paring knife to score down the outside of the pomegranate along those white lines. Then peel off those sections of the outer skin. Now you can break open the fruit into attractive sections.

The second method is a bit more involved, but results in some nice clusters that you can either eat out of hand, or arrange on a plate. The first method is much quicker, and you end up with the singular pomegranate arils, perfect for garnishing desserts.

Kayte Young

Kayte Young discovered her passion for growing, cooking, foraging and preserving fresh food when she moved to Bloomington in 2007. With a background in construction, architecture, nutrition education and writing, she brings curiosity and a love of storytelling to a show about all things edible. Kayte raises bees, a small family and a yard full of food in Bloomington’s McDoel Gardens neighborhood.

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