How to Seed and Juice a Pomegranate

 

Today my series of blogs for Rosh Hashanah begins. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting some fun and creative recipes for Rosh Hashanah, as well as some helpful how-to blogs that will make your holiday preparation easier.

During Rosh Hashanah, as part of the blessings said over the second night meal, we eat a “new fruit.” New fruit is a fruit that has just come into season, one that we haven’t yet enjoyed during this year. Usually pomegranates are chosen as this “new fruit” because of their layered symbolism and meaning in the Jewish religion. Pomegranates are mentioned several times in the Torah; it is said that each pomegranate contains 613 seeds, corresponding to the 613 mitzvot (or commandments) found in the Torah. The pomegranate also reminds us that in the coming year, our good deeds should be as plentiful as the fertile seeds of this beautiful fruit.

For the first few years that I made our Rosh Hashanah meal, the task I dreaded most was seeding the pomegranate. Extracting the itty bitty juicy red seeds (also known as arils) from a pomegranate can be a daunting task. I used to just peel the fruit and navigate my way through it, staining my clothes and squishing lots of seeds along the way. Since that time, I’ve learned some helpful methods that make seeding pomegranates a snap. I thought I’d share them with you today.

There are many ways to seed a pomegranate. I’ve outlined two of my favorite methods below. The first method is fastest, but you will lose a bit of juice in the process. The second method takes a bit longer and is a little messier, but you’ll retain more of that lovely juice, and you won’t get pruny hands from deseeding underwater. Either method works, so choose what makes the most sense to you.

As an alternative to these methods, some cooks prefer to cut the pomegranate in half and whack the heck out of it with a spoon to dislodge the seeds. This works, but I find it messy– juice gets everywhere, and your wrist can quickly become tired if you have a lot of pomegranates to seed. Use one of the kinder, gentler methods outlined below to save yourself the violent effort of hitting the fruit repeatedly. I mean, really. What did that pomegranate ever do to you? :)

Seeding your own pomegranates sure beats paying a premium for boxed seeds, which can go for as much as $6 for a small box. It’s also really simple.

Once you’ve extracted all your pomegranate seeds, you can eat them whole, use them for the Rosh Hashanah blessing, or juice them. I’ve outlined my favorite simple juicing method below. Pomegranate juice is very healthy (it contains more antioxidants than red wine), but it can be expensive. One pomegranate contains up to a half cup of juice, so you can really save yourself some money by juicing your own pomegranates. And again, it’s really simple. Really!

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How to Seed and Juice a Pomegranate

For Seeding Method 1, you will need

  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 small sharp knife
  • Mesh strainer or slotted spoon
  • 1 colander or strainer with small holes

For Seeding Method 2, you will need

  • 1 pomegranate
  • 1 small sharp knife
  • 2 bowls (1 large, 1 small)
  • 1 dark colored kitchen towel

To juice a pomegranate, you will need

  • Blender
  • Mesh strainer
  • Container for liquid
  • Spoon
Total Time: 10 - 15 Minutes
Servings: 1 pomegranate = about 600 seeds or 1/2 cup of juice
Kosher Key: Pareve

HOW TO SEED A POMEGRANATE: METHOD 1

  • Make a shallow slit at the top of the pomegranate where the knob/stem is (this part is known as the crown). Cut all the way around the top of the rind, creating a shallow circle. Don't push the knife in too deep, or you may burst some seeds.
  • Pull the crown of the pomegranate off to reveal the inner seeds.
  • Cut three shallow slits through the outer rind, following three of the white pith lines, from the top of the fruit to the bottom.
  • Pull the fruit apart to create three large sections.
  • Remove any large pieces of pith that are visible.
  • Submerge the sections in a large bowl of cold water.
  • Break apart the sections underneath the water, separating the seeds from the rind and pith. As you remove the seeds, they will sink to the bottom of the bowl. The pith will rise to the top and float. Discard the large chunks of rind (the peel).
  • When all the seeds have been removed, use a mesh strainer or slotted spoon to remove the floating pieces of pith from the surface of the water. A few seeds may float as well; separate these out and return them to the bowl.
  • Drain the seeds in a colander. Remove any additional pieces of pith that may have mixed into the seeds.

HOW TO SEED A POMEGRANATE: METHOD 2

  • Place the pomegranate in one of the bowls. Place the other bowl nearby.
  • Make a shallow slit at the top of the pomegranate around the crown. Cut all the way around the top of the rind, creating a shallow circle. Don't push the knife in too deep, or you may burst some seeds.
  • Pull the crown of the pomegranate off to reveal the inner seeds.
  • Turn the pomegranate over. Repeat the process of creating a narrow slit in the rind, cutting a circle around the base of the fruit.
  • Pull the bottom off of the fruit.
  • Turn the pomegranate back over. You will see six white strips of pith around the edges of the fruit. Cut slits in the sides of the rind, following the lines of the pith, from the top of the fruit to the bottom.
  • Pull the fruit apart. You will now have 8 sections of fruit (including the top and the bottom), with the seeds fully exposed.
  • Gently loosen the seeds from the pith and place them into the clean bowl. Keep a dark-colored towel handy to clean up any juice that might escape from the seeds. Careful, pomegranate juice can stain.
  • Before long, you will have a bowl full of luscious pomegranate seeds! Discard the rind and the pith.

HOW TO JUICE A POMEGRANATE

  • Place your pomegranate seeds in a blender.
  • Pulse the seeds a few times to break them apart and release their juice. Don't blend them for a long period of time, or the seeds will break apart and create cloudy juice.
  • Use a mesh strainer to strain the pomegranate liquid into a container.
  • Use the back of a spoon to push against the pomegranate pulp and extract as much juice as possible.
  • Chill, if desired, and enjoy.

 

 

Comments (92)Post a Comment

  1. Wow! Thank you so much for showing us this method. I bought a pomegranate a while back and was totally frustrated trying to get the seeds out. I made a big mess on a kitchen towel trying to scrape the seeds… not pretty. Your method looks so much better! I loved all the history of the pomegranate used as the new fruit for Rosh Hashanah too! I wish you a very Happy Rosh Hashanah! ~ Ramona

  2. When I lived on kibbutz eons ago, some of the kibbutzniks would have large jars of pomegranate seeds sitting outside their places in the sun. I never did find out if they were juicing them, turning the into wine or what. If anyone reading this knows, do tell! Also, when I was a kid growing up in NY, we knew pomegranates by the very un-PC moniker of “Chinese Apples”

    1. The best, easiest, and fastest way to juice a pomegranate I came up with and share with you because you are THE Shiksa is this: I collect old kitchen tools/gadgets and so on. So, my old time orange juicer “the Juice-O-Mat by Rival” comes to mind, the one that you put the fruit , halved in the device and then you ratchet down on the crank handle, and the juice flows neatly into the glass beneath it. It’s metal and strong and gets the job done. Google the name and mfg. I put up , to see a picture for clarification if need be. If you or any readers try this, you will surely be surprised at the amount of juice you can remove w/minimal effort & max. results! The pulp, pithy stuff and seeds remain behind. Win win I’d say! Enjoy, comments welcome, of course.
      Janet

  3. Thanks so much. This is such a messy fruit, but you made it so easy to seed it. I’ve never tried juicing it, but you made that look easy too, so I may try this year. This is a tradition for Rosh Hashanah that you made easier to do. Thanks.

  4. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Thanks for reminding me about the under-water method. I remember when I was a kid, my mom and sisters and I would wait for a night when Dad had a meeting, so we could slurp at the pomegranate to our hearts’ content. Dad hating slurping sounds! We’d split the fruit, each take a section, inelegantly lean over a bowl, with paper towels protecting our shirts, and suck in the tasty seeds. Until I was an adult, I didn’t know there was another way to eat a pomegranate! Shana Tovah!

    1. If you make compost you could put it into the compost pile. I don’t know if you would end up with hundreds of baby trees or not. I’ve never tried it. Maybe someone else has tried composting the pulp.

  5. Martha Stewart demonstrated on her show years ago how to remove the seeds of pomegranates. I’ve used it since. I just hold a section of pomegranate in my left hand over a large bowl with the seeds facing down and tap on the peel with the flat side of a large knife or a large spoon. As you tap, the seeds fall into the bowl. I’ve had a bush (now a tree) for about 10 years now and it’s an easy one to grow, does well in California weather (even the dry hot summer days). You’ll never have to pay those high prices again for juice or seeds.

    1. I agree with your method being by far the quickest and best. Why , in the above directions they said whacking it with a spoon makes a mess is a mystery to me! As long as the Pom isn’t literally SLICED in half, which would break many seeds, thus cause splattering, I cut around the belly of the Pom, only enough to break the skin, then gently wedge the Pom open. Then, over a bowl of water in the sink I put 1/2 the Pom face down in my hand and with a wooden spoon I hit the back of the Pom and the seeds come flowing out like rain! No spattered juice, no fighting to get seeds out. I can clean 3 large poms with this method in 5 minutes flat!!

    2. Stephanie, I’ve found the “beating” method to be somewhat messy. I tend to lose some seeds from it as they fly out willy-nilly, and then I have to pick out the random chunks of pith that dislodge. Plus when I’m seeding a lot of poms, my wrist gets tired from the pounding. Sounds like you’ve mastered the technique, though, which is great (you’re likely more coordinated than me!). I much prefer seeding underwater, which takes me less than one minute per pomegranate– fast, easy, no fuss. To each his (or her) own!

  6. I LOVE this post. I always make such a mess when doing mine. I am going to bookmark this to help me out this season. I love the culture and stories behind your food Tori. It’s so interesting and I always learn something I didn’t know before.

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    You are a dear lady.. Pomegranates have been a favorite of this family since I was a little girl back in Easton, Massachusetts in the late forties! My Father used to get all kinds of “new fruit” at some of the great markets in the North End of Boston..
    His method for peeling them was much like what you have taught us.. Thank you..The pith and peel went into compost ..Delightful fruit..G*d Bless you! L’shanah tovah!
    .

  8. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    What a great tutorial! I tend to avoid Pomegranates because I had no idea how to seed them! I look forward to your series and the three weeks leading up to Rosh Hashanah…

  9. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Thank-you so much for this information on pomegranates. I have used pomegranates as a health remedy. While undergoing chemotherapy, I had sores in my mouth, which were extemely painful. My sister-in-law told me to try pomegranates to relieve the blisters and pain. It was difficult to get the seeds out, but using your method this sounds so much easier. I would put the seeds in a plastic baggy and put them in the freezer and use them as needed, sucking the juice out of the seeds and then discarding the seeds. This was a remedy that worked so well, all the sores went away so fast and the relief from the pain was instantanous. By juicing as you described, is a great option. Thank-you again. I recommend this for anyone who has anykind of mouth problems.

    1. Anita, that’s really interesting! I’ve never heard of it being used that way as a health remedy. Thank you for letting us know. Hope all is well!

  10. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you posted this. I love pomegranate juice and think that the fruit is so pretty, but I’ve always been far to intimated to buy one due to the seeding process. I didn’t even know where to begin. So thank you! Now I have an idea where to start and what to do. :)

  11. The best, easiest, and fastest way to juice a pomegranate I came up with and share with you because you are THE Shiksa is this: I collect old kitchen tools/gadgets and so on. So, my old time orange juicer “the Juice-O-Mat by Rival” comes to mind, the one that you put the fruit , halved in the device and then you ratchet down on the crank handle, and the juice flows neatly into the glass beneath it. It’s metal and strong and gets the job done. Google the name and mfg. I put up , to see a picture for clarification if need be. If you or any readers try this, you will surely be surprised at the amount of juice you can remove w/minimal effort & max. results! The pulp, pithy stuff and seeds remain behind. Win win I’d say! Enjoy, comments welcome, of course.
    Janet

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      I have a juicer similar to this. Great for grapefruit and orange juice. How do you prepare the pomogranate? Can you just cut in half to juice, as you would the citrus? Thank you Janet for your help.

  12. I just got a bunch from a friend with a tree and put the seeds in a potatoe ricer to juice it, may want to stir it a few times with a fork, but it was easy and clean up was a breeze.

  13. Hi Maggie,
    Yes, cut pomegranate in half, same as you would to prep citrus for the juicer, peel some of the fleshy creamy colored skin away if you can, and let the “Juice-O-Mat ” do all the work. It will release all the juice you could possibly extract from the fruit, and the strainer catches all skins, seeds, stuff you do not want. Be sure after you crank down on the juicer the 1st time, to let off, turn the fruit a 1/4 or 1/2 turn and crush some more, lol, just in case you missed a drop!
    Put a little “muscle” behind it for maximum results.
    Good luck! Hope you find my method to be as good as I believe it is!

  14. Q: What do you do with the pulp? Is it good to make anything, like pom-preserves jelly?
    Ans: In india it is used (as country medicine) to stop diarrhea.

  15. I was wondering if you can juice the whole pomegranite, rind and pith? I wasn’t sure if the rind/pith were edible or not? I have a lovely tree in the backyard and am trying to think of the many ways I can go about using the fruit this year!
    Thanks for your time and info! =)

    1. Hi Theresa, you can juice the whole pomegranate as you would an orange, but you won’t extract nearly as much juice that way. The method I outlined above works best. The rind and pith are not edible, as far as I’m aware– they’re very tough and cardboard-like. There may be some edible use for them, but if there is I’m not aware of it. They are biodegradable, though, which makes them great for composting!

  16. GROW YOUR OWN!
    Pomegranates are one of the easiest fruits you can grow and they’ll grow most places–Afghanistan, Turkey and other rocky soils, for instance–I grow them here on Galveston Bay and they are so easy–Really do nothing.
    Water if a really bad drought, maybe and that’s it!
    Beautiful, too, kind of like a crape myrtle in shape and leaves–mine are 4 to 8 years old and most are 10 to 14′ tall by about 4 to 7 feet wide–a couple varieties only get 6′ tall by 6’wide,but most are kind of a fountain shape with pretty new growth and pretty (odd) flowers in spring .
    I get about 30 BIG fruits per plant, more on the older ones.
    These were all planted in native clay with no amendments, so apparently they’ll grow in anything.
    I have 5 varieties and they are all interesting and different, (and different shapes and tastes, too).
    Southern Living Garden Book has a lot more detail–(and is far and away the best “Bible” for gardeners there is, at least in the south)–and I have bought many over the years).
    Can’t say enough about it or the pomegranate, both are excellent.
    Have fun!
    Oh, yeah, they grow fast, too,–Mine get a little of my lawn fertilizer in the spring and just grow like crazy!
    NOTE!!—NEVER use weed and feed if you have any trees or bushes in your lawn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    You will see them weaken over several years or more and then they are dead.
    Using just one time will do this! I have done this!

  17. I have found it easier to just cut them in half and juice them with the Cuisinart juice attachment or with my electric citrus juicer. If you don’t apply too much pressure the seeds aren’t bruised, causing bitterness.

  18. I decided to spring for the seeded fruit at Sam’s Club … I opened the pkg the day I brought it home, uggg. It had a definite moldy smell and I threw out those beautiful high-priced seeds. Never again … so thanks for this ‘how-to’, I do love the taste.

  19. i have a beautiful tree that produces so many fruit but hated picking seeds so gave them away. NOW I KNOW!!! thank you!

  20. I have just picked approx 18lbs or pomegranates from my tree and I am splitting them and picking the seeds out. I have pure seeds, no pulp of any kind, and I ended up with about 12 gals of pure seeds. I then use a cone shaped strainer with a wooden pestle mounted in a piece of wood to fit the strainer, positioned over the clean food grade bucket and painstakingly crush the seeds. I then run the juice through multiple layers of cheesecloth a couple of times and put the juice in quart jars, vaccum seal the lids and freeze them. The juice is very good. I am looking for an easier way to juice the arils without breaking the seeds. Any ideas anyone?

    1. Hi Jack. If you’re using two layers of cheesecloth, I wouldn’t worry about breaking the seeds… cheesecloth should strain out any seeds/cloudiness. The easiest way to juice the seeds is the blender method I described above. You may want to try it once in a separate jar to see if it works for you. If any of my readers have other suggestions, I’m sure they’ll contribute. Good luck!

  21. I’m so glad I came to your site after googling about pomegranates! After reading thoroughly, I chose method #2. Your pictures helped immensely and I now have over a cup of lovely juice from one gigantic fruit.
    I have to say the process took me longer than expected, but I think it’s worth it — and it appeals to my pioneering spirit.
    Thank you!
    ~Josie

  22. Another easy way to juice a pomegranate is to slice it in half and use it with one of those citrus juicers (nothing fancy, a cheap plastic non-electric one will suffice) and just squeeze it, making sure to squish the hidden ones as well (usually behind the piff at the edge) and then run it through a sieve just-in-case you missed any granules.

  23. Bought a large amount of pomegranates which turned out to be less than perfect and not appropriate for serving as seeds. After the idea of using the juicer attachment of my food processor failed dismally as the kernels remained whole despite the powerful centrifuge, I found this site and your excellent advice. Made superb juice in no time.
    Thanks a lot! Will use this one again.

  24. After cutting the fruit in half and scooping seeds out, I looked it up on google and found your site. Wish I had done this first. Anyway its a lovely fruit and I will use both your methods the next time i buy. I live in Northern ireland and some of these fruits we are seeing for the first time and I am enjoying trying new foods. Thank you for your clear instructions and I have your site in my favourites list.

  25. Thank you so much. I love pomegranate, but hate the mess–and am kitchen-challenged. I appreciate both the seeding and the juicing information.

  26. there is a trial being held in Australia for dementia/alz that includes Pomegranates, that has had very good results just google I’m sure it will pop up, this site does help getting to the juice

    thanks

  27. I read somewhere that you can juice pomegranates by putting the seeds on warm in the crockpot and they just melt. When my pomegranates are ready I’m going to try it!

  28. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    When we were kids, we used to squeeze the fruit all around, gentle enough not to break the skin, but with enough pressure to burst the seeds inside. After going around the whole fruit and bursting the majority of the seeds inside, we removed a small portion of the skin and drank right from the fruit. Toward the end, you can squeeze to get the every last drop. No mess… and quite delicious… and fun too! Try it with one that has a healthy enough skin to not break while squeezing.

  29. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    This is grand. I live in California and we’ve been making pomegranate jelly since I was a little kid. We usually use the pectin bottle recipe for tart cherry jelly, or something similar, according to taste. It makes a beautiful jewel-red, tart-sweet addition to a PBJ!
    We always used a crank-down juicer of the type described, doing either halves or quarters, depending on the size of the fruit. I would only say look for a large crank-down juicer, with plenty of gears, to lighten the work load on your shoulder muscles. By the time we got done with a “lug” of 40-60 fruits, we all had aching arms and shoulders!
    TY for this wonderful (and, for me, nostalgic) page.

  30. I love pomegranates. I purchased a snall tree from the nursery last year.It is now about 5 feet tall and has had a few flowers which have all fallen off. How long does it take to produce pomegranates? I’m anxious to have some in my garden to enjoy.
    This is the first time I have posted.

    1. Hi Jo! Lucky you… I’d love to have a pomegranate tree. Unfortunately I’m not sure how long it will take, as I’m not a gardener (in fact I kind of have the opposite of a green thumb). Another reader may know, though. :)

    2. I planted a tree 4 years ago, it does drop fruit the lst year, the second year I got 7 pomegranates, and 14 the next and this year looks like 16. I do live in a cold region of Australia and the tree is deciduous here.

  31. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I have a tree with fruit this yr. They are not real red but the fruit is very sweet. Our tree is about 3 yrs.
    At our local supermarket, I had bought pomegranate salsa,& it was very tasty. I am going to try & juice & make salsa. Any suggestions for this? Thanks ,Trudie Bishoff

  32. I have a pomegranate tree that started having split fruits this week and I just picked it clean but the fruits are not all red. When opening them, all the arils are mostly clear with only a tiny spot of red on them. Can these pomegranates still be juiced? The arils taste very sweet like they always do, they just lack the color. I hope I didn’t screw up my harvest this year!

    1. Hi, as far as clear arils go, I have heard of a white pomegranate, that is supposed to be even sweeter than the red. Perhaps you have one of those. I just de-seeded 28 poms yesterday and was looking for a quick way to juice the arils, thanks for the blender idea!

  33. Jv, I would say if they are sweet they are ripe, maybe a different variety, there are quite a few. Google pomegranates and you will probably find the kind you have. There are not sweet at all if not ripe.
    Thanks for the excellent information everyone, blessings.
    Pomegranates are also symbols of friendship. In my book, Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and symbols it says the name means apple of many seeds. It is considered a symbol of fertility and an aphrodisiac. Also the book says was the Tree of Knowledge.Alot of association with sensuality except in Christianity where it is an emblem of compassion

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