How to Peel a Pomegranate

Story and photos by Nora Becker

On a recent visit to the Old Oakland Farmers’ Market, Robert Serna of Twin Girls Farms showed me how he peels a pomegranate. It’s a clean and easy process that most anyone can master with just a little practice.

First, I would recommend wearing an apron or clothes that you don’t mind getting splashed with pink pomegranate juice, just in case. I like to do the work over a medium-sized mixing bowl to catch the arils. (That’s the technical term for those little, seedy, juicy jewels packed inside the fruit.)  I keep a compost bucket nearby for discarding the skin and pith.



STEP 1: Hold the pomegranate, crown up, and cut a circle through the leathery skin around the crown. Ideally, you’re cutting only through the outer skin without slicing into and bursting the juicy arils. If you are hearing or feeling some splashes of juice, either go more lightly with your knife or just power through with the awareness that you may be cutting into some of the arils. Pop off the crown and drop it into your compost bucket.



STEP 2:  Make longitudinal cuts through the skin from the top toward the bottom of the pomegranate. Ideally, you’re slicing along the seams of the white membrane that divide the bunches of arils inside, but don’t worry if you’re not seeing these seams. Just slice away.



STEP 3: Stick your thumbs into the top opening and gently pull from the middle outward, slowly easing the sections apart along the longitudinal cuts. You can try pulling on one section at a time if all the sections do not easily crack apart.



STEP 4: Now that the pomegranate is open, gently pull away the leathery outer skin and spongy white pith as you break each section apart. As you loosen the arils from the thin white membrane, drop them into your bowl and discard all the skin, pith, and membrane into the compost bucket.



STEP 5: Enjoy your pomegranate arils right away or store them in a sealed container in the fridge. Try the fruit with yogurt or ice cream or in salads, or just eat the arils piled high in a spoon.

Here are some favorite pomegranate recipes from Edible East Bay and Edible Silicon Valley:

Pomegranate Holiday Spritzer

Pomegranate Jalapeño Jelly

Pomegranate Pear Pavlova

Roasted Kabocha Squash and Pomegranate Tart