How to Deseed a Pomegranate

How to Deseed a Pomegranate

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Deseeding a pomegranate can be a tricky and very messy task. I used to do it on the counter top, and juice would splatter everywhere as I pried the seeds away from the pith and membrane. After experimenting with different methods, I have found the underwater method to work the best. The underwater method is when you open a pomegranate that is submerged underwater. Genius! This method completely eliminates any splattering juice, and the water naturally separates the pith from the seeds as you pry them out. The pith floats on top of the water which can be easily removed by skimming the surface with a strainer, while the seeds sink to the bottom. Easy peasy! If you’ve never had pomegranate seeds before, they taste great on their own, or great as a topping on a salad or a yogurt.

How to tell if a pomegranate is ripe?


The two ways to tell if a pomegranate is ripe is by its shape and by its weight. Shapewise, it shouldn’t be a perfect sphere. If a pomegranate is ripe, the sides will be angular and flattened. As for its weight, it should feel heavy for its size. This means that the seeds are loaded with juice. Exactly what you want! As for its color, the color of a pomegranate is not an indicator of ripeness.

Do pomegranates ripen on the counter?


Pomegranates are non-climacteric, meaning that they do not continue to ripen after they are harvested. When you buy them, they are ready for immediate consumption. If it’s not going to be consumed immediately, it’s best to store the pomegranate whole in the refrigerator.

How to tell if a pomegranate has gone bad?


A pomegranate has gone bad if the seeds are brown and soft and mushy. Seeds should be a vibrant red and firm to the touch. Like little rubies!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Step-by-step instructions in a video format for this recipe are available on my YouTube channel and above the recipe card below.

Step 1. Cut an X, about a half-inch deep, in the top of the pomegranate with a serrated knife. This will allow you to break open the pomegranate into quarters.

Cutting an X into the top of a pomegranate with a serrated knife so that it can be broken apart into quarters.

Step 2. Fill a 4-quart bowl or pot about 75% full with tap water. Completely submerge the pomegranate and pull it apart into quarters. If this is difficult, try making the ‘X’ a little deeper, or extend the cuts down the sides of the pomegranate. Once opened, begin to pull out the seeds. Not only does the water eliminate any juice splatters, but it also allows for the natural separation of the seeds from the pith and membrane (the white parts). As you remove the seeds, you will see that they sink to the bottom while the pith floats to the top. Pretty cool huh?!

Removing pomegranate seeds in a large bowl of water after breaking it apart into quarters.

Step 3. Once you’ve removed the large pith parts from the surface, examine the seeds sitting at the bottom of the bowl. You might see some chunks of pith attached to the seeds, so go ahead and remove as much of that as you can.

Manually removing large parts of pith and membrane from pomegranate seeds in a large bowl of water.

Step 4. Using a strainer, skim off the remaining pith bits from the surface (it’s like cleaning a swimming pool!).

Using a strainer to strain floating pith and membrane from a bowl of water that also contains the pomegranate seeds.

Step 5. The last cleaning step I like to do is to take handfuls of seeds and rub them between my two palms to remove any stubborn pith parts attached to the seeds. You’ll probably still have bits and pieces leftover, but that’s fine. You can just pick them off when you go to eat the seeds.

Rubbing pomegranate seeds between my two hands in a bowl of water to remove any remaining pith and membrane fragments.

Step 6. Separate the seeds from the water by dumping the contents of the large bowl or pot through a strainer in the sink. I like to let the seeds sit in the strainer over the bowl for a little while (an hour or two), to let the rest of the water drain off, and let them dry a little bit before refrigerating.

Pomegranate seeds draining and drying in a strainer set over a large bowl.

Step 7. While the seeds are draining and drying in the strainer, I like to remove the bad seeds. Bad seeds will either appear rotten or soft and mushy like the seed on the right in the photo below. You want to keep seeds that look like the ones on the left. Once the seeds are finished drying and the bad ones are removed, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

NOTE: You can also skip this sorting process step, and just sort when you go to eat them.

A close-up of two seeds. On the right-hand side is a good seed, which is a vibrant red and firm to the touch. On the right is a bad seed which is brown in color and soft and mushy to the touch.

How-To Video

Pomegranate seeds sit in a small bowl, with seeds scattered around.

How to Deseed a Pomegranate

Deseeding a pomegranate doesn't have to be a chore! Deseeding underwater eliminates the mess, and makes the separation process go MUCH faster.
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Print Rate
Course: Basics
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to, pomegranates, tips and tricks
Prep Time: 2 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 7 mins
Servings: 2 cups of pomegranate seeds

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe pomegranate

Instructions

  • Cut an X, about a half-inch deep, in the top of the pomegranate with a serrated knife.
  • Fill a 4-quart bowl or pot about 75% full with tap water. Completely submerge the pomegranate and pull it apart into quarters. If this is difficult, try making the 'X' a little deeper, or extend the cuts down the sides of the pomegranate. Once opened, begin to pull out the seeds. The pith will float to the top while the seeds will sink to the bottom.
  • Remove large pith parts from the water. Discard. Examine seeds and remove any remaining large parts of pith.
  • Use a strainer to skim off pith and membrane from water surface. Discard.
  • Take handfuls of seeds and rub them between your two palms to remove any stubborn pith parts. There will likely be some still leftover, but these can be removed once you go to eat the seeds.
  • Separate the seeds from the water by dumping the contents of the large bowl or pot through a strainer in the sink. Let seeds sit in the strainer set over the bowl for an hour or two to finish draining and drying.
  • While seeds are draining and drying in the strainer, remove the bad seeds. Bad seeds will be brown in color and soft and mushy to the touch. Discard. You can also skip this sorting process step, and just sort when you go to eat them.
  • Store pomegranate seeds in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.


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