recipes

How-to: Deseed a Pomegranate

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A couple years ago, my boss Kathleen surprised us with a holiday celebration that she had kept a secret for weeks. She stocked a rented stretch Lincoln Navigator with mimosas and bloody marys and the driver drove us into downtown Chicago for a cooking class.

Let me tell you, that is a fantastic way to spend a work day.

The class was hosted by a Chicago food entrepreneur who makes Big Fork Bacon Sausages, and him and his assistant helped us create some delicious and innovative dishes, which we ate for lunch. One of the dishes was to be topped with pomegranate arils, and our instructors spontaneously decided we would have a little competition to see who could deseed a pomegranate the fastest. They asked if anyone knew how to deseed a pomegranate.

Most people didn’t. My friend Vrudi volunteered – she knew the method where you soak the cut pomegranate in water. But you can’t have a competition with one person, so I volunteered. I had never deseeded one myself, but I watched a video on Facebook about a week before. In this video, the guy whacked two pomegranate halves with a wooden spoon.

So there I was, standing in front of my coworkers, whacking two pomegranate halves like a crazy woman while Vrudi soaked her pomegranates in water. But my method was faster, and I won! They gave us each a t-shirt – mine had a pig and the Big Fork logo, while Vrudi’s said something about bacon sausages being magical.

Did I mention Vrudi is vegetarian, and I’m pescetarian? It was pretty funny.

But back to the pomegranates. I have seen a few different methods to deseed a pomegranate, but this one is my favorite. It’s quick and dirty (don’t wear your favorite clothes, a bit of juice will probably fly at you as you’re whacking away). It’s also a great way to get out some aggression. Not that I have any.

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Get yourself a pomegranate, knife, sturdy spoon (I like to use a wooden spoon), and a bowl.

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First, using a little pressure, roll the pomegranate under your hand on your counter or cutting board. This will help separate the arils from the fruit. Then, cut the pomegranate in half.

Hold the pomegranate over the bowl with the cut end facing down into the bowl. Hit the outside of the pomegranate with the spoon. I’m not talking about light taps here, give it a good whack! But watch your fingers.

Whack it all over. If you see a bunch of arils left in one spot, hit that spot to make them come out. It’s normal to have a few arils left in. If you really want to get them out, you can pry them out with your fingers.

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Some of the pith (the white that holds the seeds) may land in your bowl. Just pick it out.

And now you have pomegranate arils perfect for topping a dish, or eating on their own. I like eating mine with greek yogurt for breakfast or a snack. Do you have a favorite way to deseed a pomegranate?

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