A number of years ago I shared a technique for opening pomegranate, but since then I've discovered an even better way. Let me show you how it's done.
Naturally there are a couple of mandatory things needed - a fresh pomegranate and a small sharp knife (I have two of these trimming knives - they're the perfect tool for the job).
Not mandatory, but highly recommended - disposable gloves will keep your hands free from stains. You may not need them if you're only tackling one pomegranate, but I often purchase them by the case so yeah.
Ok, the very first thing we need to do is score around the top of the pomegranate right about where I drew that blue line in the photo. Don't cut into the pomegranate deep enough to poke any of the juicy arils inside (arils are the seeds).
See how my knife is barely cutting into the husk or rind of the fruit?
When you've made your way around the whole thing, put the knife down and use your fingers to pull most of that "cap" away. It will probably break into several pieces - no worries.
The very center part of that cap is anchored in there good so just leave it alone for now. If you look carefully, you'll be able to see a thick, white fleshy substance directly under the husk and between the sections of arils. That thick layer is called the albedo. The number of aril-filled sections varies between 4 and 6 and once you remove the cap, you'll be able to see how many pockets of arils your pomegranate has. My pomegranate has 6, which you can see the blue arrows pointing to in the photo above. Using shallow cuts again, score the husk all the way down the fruit, right where those divisions are.
Once you do that, you can very gently pry the divisions apart. The whole thing will open up like a flower. How cool is that?
Ok, now we can take care of the center of that cap.
Reach in and gently pry that cap out - it's attached to a thin white membrane that separates the arils in the individual sections.
I'm always amazed how easily it pulls out once the individual sections are opened.
Ta-Da!! Alrighty now, there's still a bit of work left to be done - just break off the individual sections and gently nudge the arils away from the membrane. I do this over a very large bowl to catch the arils and container the occasional squirt of juice.
I forgot to mention this earlier, but I suggest wearing an old shirt that you don't mind getting stained. As careful as you may try to be, you'll occasionally squish an aril and the juice will squirt you.
The labors of my hands ;)
Did I mention that this can be a messy job?
Once you've freed the arils, you might find a few stay bits of membrane mixed in here and there. You can drive yourself mad trying to pick them all out, or you can do it the easy way and cover the arils with water. The bits of membrane will float and you can skim them away.
Arils can be refrigerated for up to a week. They can also be frozen - place in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze for 2 hours, then transfer to an airtight container for up to a year.
You can press the juice from the arils if you like, but the entire aril is edible so feel free to sprinkle them over salads, float them in Pomegranate Fizz Mocktails, make Pomegranate Syrup to drizzle over vanilla ice cream, or bake delicious Pomegranate Ginger Muffins.
Other recipes using pomegranates: