Until recently, pomegranates were a bit of a mystery to me. I didn’t know how to tell if it was ripe, how to peel it, or even what to do with it once I managed to get it peeled. Pomegranates are fairly common here in California but back home in North Carolina they aren’t as widely available. They only appear around Christmas and at several dollars a pop, they always seemed too pricey to take a chance on. So when I noticed them at the Berkeley Bowl for a dollar, I decided to buy a few and figure out what to do with this mysterious fruit.

My first attempt ended in a pulpy mess. The dark purple juice splattered everywhere (including on my sweetie’s white laptop) and I destroyed a majority of the seeds. Realizing brute force wasn’t the best method for extracting the tasty seeds from the membrane, I did a little research. Turns out there is an easy and much less messy way to peel a pomegranate.

Step one: Slice the pomegranate in half. You may want to place a paper towel on your cutting board to prevent the juice from staining the board.

sliced pomegranate

Step two: Submerge the pomegranate in a bowl of cold water. Keeping the pomegranate under the water reduces the mess and makes it easier to separate the seeds from the membrane. Push on the outer part of the peel to begin separating the seeds from the pith. You may have to push hard to crack the peel and white membrane.

Step three: Gently remove the seeds from the white membrane. The seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl and the membrane will float. Once you have removed all of the seeds, pick out any pith that is floating on the surface of the water. Using  a small mesh strainer is the easiest way to do this, but you can pick it out by hand.

Step four: Strain the pomegranate seeds.

Not too bad, huh? Now that you have the fresh pomegranate at your disposal, there are a number of ways you can enjoy it. It’s great in a fruit salad or on a spinach salad with blue cheese. Of course you can always snack on them straight up. So delicious!