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 (94)Post a Comment

  1. Thanks for the demonstration, I have been juicing pomegranates for 3 years during the season here in Michigan, I pour little plastic pints containers of it and put them in my freezer. I really love the health benefits of this fruit and look forward each year to juicing.

  2. Just a quick thing for those cooks who like to sample the product a bit before it goes out the kitchen: you’re never going to get /all/ the juice out from the pulp when juicing, so take a little break, spoon them into your mouth, and suck out the juice before spitting and discarding :)

  3. Thank you whomever you are who suggested the potato ricer. It works like a charm. It takes a bit of filling (not more than maybe a half cup of arils at a time) and emptying, but with medium pressure I expressed beautiful clear juice. 6 rather large fruit seeded and juiced in about a half hour. Thank you very much!!

  4. I just got through seeding and juicing several hundred pounds of seeds to get a really clear 5gal of pure juice. I have some photos of me posing at the work spot, and of the buckets of seeds and bucket of juice. I freeze the juice in mason jars, vaccum sealing the container. I run the juice twice through several layers of cheese cloth, and I mix the entire batch together so I homogenize the entire batch for uniformity.

  5. Tori, thanks for the ideas! I just received an automatic jam and jelly maker — who knew such a device even existed! — and one of the included recipes is for pomegranate jelly. Of course, it calls for store-bought juice. What?!? Isn’t it bad enough that they’ve automated my pastime and taken away some of the fun that alchemists like me crave? Anyway, I looked for an easier way to seed and juice poms, and of course your lovely blog was at the top of the search results. I should’ve known and just searched here right off the bat! Thanks again!

  6. Have a question, after removing the juice, I think there was still lofts of flesh still remaining with the seeds? How do I reduce the amount of fruit that is wasted after this
    procedure?

    There is still lot of pomegranate ‘flesh” attached to the seeds.. Or it is considered cost of juicing the fruit?

    1. Hi Ajay, did you use the blender method I outlined in this post? If you did you would have wasted no flesh, since the seeds are fully removed from the pomegranate and then blended up and strained to make the juice.

    2. Yes, I used the bleeder pulse mode. Thanks for the reply. May be I just need to get more efficient then. I wanted to know, if what I got was the norm , or if there was scope for improvement . Clearly there is!! :)

  7. I use the same method of extracting the seeds from the skin and pulp, but I put the seeds in a cone strainer with a wooden pestle made to fit the cone and extract the juice into a food grade container. I have a wooden cover over the container with an opening to fit the cone strainer. I juiced nearly 10 gals of seeds and got something like 5gal’s of juice, which I put into mason jars and froze.

  8. Thanks for sharing the experience. In my opinion (I know pomegranate has done nothing wrong to me :) on the contrary it is really beneficial to us) beating with wooden handle of spatula all around the body of pomegranate before engaging in the process mentioned at “The Shiksa in the Kitchen” , seeds become loose in their sockets making itmore easy to take them out. By the way Shiksa in my language means punishment , So punishment in kitchen if beneficial should be Ok :)

  9. I have no problem getting the seeds out, and have blended to extract the juice, but it just tastes bitter, which is not the taste I remember from the Middle East. Yet you say to use a blender, so I’m no closer to making juice.

    1. Sarah, I don’t think the blender is causing the bitterness. When I juice pomegranates here in California using the blender method, they taste the same way they do in the Middle East. You can also juice the pomegranate using a hand juicer (read through the comments for tips), but it won’t extract as much juice as the blender method. Perhaps try another source for pomegranates– maybe the ones you are purchasing have a naturally bitter taste to them?

    2. I have a pomegranate tree and make jelly every year. I use a food mill with the finest disk to juice the arils. I also fashion a towel over the top of the mill around the crank to avoid splashback. The mill strips the pulp off the seeds and extracts a maximum amount of juice leaving the seeds behind in the disk.

  10. I’ve always bought Pom juice by the gallon for jelly making.from a local grower. I’ve been doing this fopr almost 20 years. There is always a warning that the juice is not pasteurized and should not be drunk as is. Is this true? Can you suggest a way to pasteurize this at home? (It does make excellent jelly from the “raw” juice.)

    1. Hi Mary. Fresh pomegranate juice is fine to drink just after juicing. I don’t know how far in advance your local grower makes the juice prior to you purchasing it, so it’s probably wise to heed their warning on unpasteurized juice. Fresh juice will last for a short while when it is refrigerated, but pasteurization dramatically increases the amount of time the juice can be kept and consumed safely. However, you can safely consume pomegranate juice that you have freshly squeezed without worrying. I will try to add a post about pasteurization in the future; I tend to like drinking juice fresh, as it maintains more nutrients, but pasteurization is a good skill to learn for increasing the shelf life of certain liquids.

  11. Placing the seeds in a pot with a 1/4 cup water on low heat will separate the seeds from the pulp. The water is used only so that the seed pulp will not burn. This a great site and I think the method you use to remove the seeds is outstanding. Shalom!

  12. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I dont bother separating the white part(pith). Why bother removing it when it will get filtered by juicer anyway and you may get some more nutrients with it.

    1. If using a juicer it’s probably not a big deal, but if you’re using the blender method to extract juice you will definitely want to remove the pith… and of course if you’re just seeding it for the sake of having clean, whole seeds then removal of the pith is a must.

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