How To Eat A Pomegranate Without Making A Complete Mess

Pomegranates are somewhat enigmatic. You can't just bite into this unique fruit as you would an apple, although it hides delicious, ruby-colored gems within its peel. At first glance, you're met with a heavy, softball-sized fruit covered in a tough exterior. If you've ever attempted to open a pomegranate without a plan, you probably ended up with a juicy mess and stained fingers.

Of course, there's always the option of convenience. You could just purchase pomegranate juice in a bottle, or buy pre-packaged pomegranate arils — the name for the luscious seeds inside. While these products may be convenient, they come with a corresponding price tag. Luckily, with just a few simple tricks, you can save money by cutting a fresh pomegranate at home without making a complete mess of your kitchen and hands. All you need is a large bowl of water to cleanly remove the seeds. Once that's done, you can enjoy the arils mess-free, or even turn them into pomegranate juice.

The simple hack to open and eat a pomegranate

The arils inside a pomegranate resemble unpopped popcorn kernels. Each aril is tart and juicy, enveloping a small, crunchy seed. You can eat the whole aril, seed and all. And you'd be amazed by the number of arils tucked away in a single pomegranate.

The cleanest and easiest way to extract the arils is to do it underwater. Begin by filling a large bowl with water. Next, quarter the pomegranate. Working with one quarter at a time, submerge the cut piece into the water and use your fingers to gently separate the seeds from the white pith. Some seeds will detach easily, while others might require a bit more coaxing. The best part? Your hands remain underwater throughout the process, staying naturally clean.

The pith is tough and bitter, but it's also light enough to float. The heavier seeds will sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the pith floats on top. Once you've removed all the seeds, simply skim the floating pith off the water's surface and discard it. Then, drain the water through a fine-mesh colander to collect all the beautiful seeds. You'll be left with perfect pomegranate seeds and delightfully clean hands.

How to eat the seeds or even the juice

If you want pomegranate juice in addition to the arils, there's a trick for that too. In fact, from a single pomegranate, you can choose to enjoy some of it for the seeds and some for the juice. Take one of the quarters you've cut, place it seed-side down in a hinged citrus juicer — much like you would with a halved orange or lemon — and simply squeeze. You'll get beautiful pomegranate juice that you can enjoy as a decadent treat on its own or use in a cocktail, such as in a pomegranate and mint margarita.

The pomegranate seeds are also delightful on their own, eaten by the spoonful, or they can be sprinkled into a salad or used to garnish a dessert. For an impressive holiday meal, try this recipe for pomegranate brisket. Ultimately, whether you opt for the arils or the juice, make sure to store your handiwork in an airtight container in the refrigerator and use it within five days.