One of my earliest memories is that of using money my grandmother had given me to buy candy to buy a pomegranate instead. Oh, I loved them. I loved the fact that we kids had to dress up special in our worst clothes in order to eat them. We had to eat them outside, too (it’s still pretty warm in November in Los Angeles where we lived when I was a kid), and spit the seeds out into the shrubbery. Messy, juicy, sweet food that involves sanctioned spitting? We were in heaven.

pomegranate-tree.jpgNow we have our own pomegranate tree and we get to hang out in pom heaven come every November. (No more seed spitting, we grown-ups eat them whole.) Here’s the thing to know about pomegranates (other than the juice stains) – just because the fruit is red doesn’t mean that the seeds inside are ripe. We don’t pick our pomegranates until they begin to burst at the seams. This usually happens a few days after a rain. The seeds absorb the moisture and the skin cannot contain them anymore. Once the skin has cracked to reveal the seeds the pomegranates must be picked immediately, and used up quickly, or they will get moldy.

The best way to get to the seeds is to carefully cut out the crown. Score the pomegranate with a sharp knife from crown to stem end in several (5 to 8) lines, following the soft ridges of the side of the pomegranate if you can see them. Then place your thumbs in the hole left by the crown and pull the pomegranate apart. Tear away the connecting membranes and remove the seeds over a large bowl. You can do this over a bowl half filled with water if you want. The seeds will sink to the bottom and the membrane will float on the top. Skim off the membrane and strain the seeds of water. To juice them, put the seeds in a blender and pulse a few times, just enough to break up all the seeds. Let the mixture sit for a minute for the hard seed bits to settle and pour through a strainer. Add sugar to taste. (See step-by-step photos in How to Cut and De-Seed a Pomegranate.)

Here are a few pomegranate recipes you’ll find here on Simply Recipes:

Here are some terrific food blogs with recipes, tips, and discussions regarding pomegranates:

Showing 4 of 15 Comments

  • Alanna

    “Santa” always left pomegranates in the toes of our stockings. I learned later that my Mum had to special-order them from the one little grocery in our tiny town. Such a treat! AK

  • shuna fish lydon

    As much as I love them myself I cannot believe that you bought a pomegranate when you had money for candy!

    I like the trick and have used it myself but I prefer to pick out the white bits so that I can savor all the juice…

    thanks for the mention!

  • denise

    Does anyone know where I can buy a pomegranate tree to plant in our backyard? I live in So Cal where you think it would be easy to find. We have been looking everywhere!

  • bna

    My mom had the same rule — pomegranates were eaten in the side yard only. And I seem to remember we had to put on old t-shirts first.

    So if you’re eating the seeds one by one, is it okay to swallow the hard seed bit? I’ve always been a bit afraid.

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