A Pomegranate Seeding Technique You Have to Try to Believe

February 16, 2018

Yesterday, Bon Appetit shared a method for seeding pomegranates that they claimed was “the only good way” to go about it. The post on their site came accompanied by a story about a woman eating pre-seeded pomegranate on the subway and a pretty spectacular GIF of the method they touted. So what exactly were they claiming is the best way to seed a pomegranate and does it actually work? Obviously, I had to find out.

The trick at hand: Slice a pomegranate in half, around the middle, and hold it over a bowl of water, seed side down. To get those pesky fruits out, they recommend whacking the back of the pomegranate, the side that’s facing you, with a wooden spoon. The kernels should fall into the bowl of water underhand. Hmmm. The GIF seemed appealing, but I was unconvinced. Wouldn’t this just cause a huge mess? Like a bright red and juicy kind of mess? I had always been taught that the key to pomegranates was to be methodical. I usually submerge my halved pomegranate in water and pick out the kernels with my thumbs. Keeping it underwater loosens the fruit and prevents any unwanted spraying. Bon Appetit’s suggestion seemed to adhere to oppositional logic.

Nonetheless, I tried it. Per their instructions, I prepped my water bowl, sliced my fruit, and got to whacking. I opted for a wooden spoon, though I imagine any flat, blunt object would do the trick. And whack I did. I whacked so hard, and so loud, that my roommate came out of her room to see what was up. I whacked so hard that a stray hit left me with a slight sting on the knuckle of my thumb. I whacked so hard that bright pink kernels began to collect at the bottom of my bowl. The trick, it seemed, was working. And pretty well, at that. Every piece of pomegranate fell directly into the bowl and, contrary to my expectations, with very little splash. It didn’t even take that long. I’d estimate that I was only going at it for something like 30 second per side. With a tap here and tap there, I was able to evacuate the rind of its pearly fruits, save a few I had to dig out with my fingers. A bunch of ruby red gems gathered in the bowl and, after a little rinsing and straining, were ready to go.

Behold me trying out the hack above. My roommate, Isa, filmed me in my element (don't mind the lighting, she went to film school). So, there you have it. Bon Appetit, it seems, is onto something. Next time you find yourself with a pomegranate (and I hope it’s soon because they are great) you’ll know what to do. Don’t be daunted, grab your wooden spoon and go for it.

Shop the Story

What's your go-to pomegranate seeding technique? Tell us about it in the comments.

Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

Grab your copy

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • witloof
  • Lost_in_NYC
  • creamtea
  • annieobo
  • siri
Valerio is a freelance food writer, editor, researcher and cook. He grew up in his parent's Italian restaurants covered in pizza flour and drinking a Shirley Temple a day. Since, he's worked as a cheesemonger in New York City and a paella instructor in Barcelona. He now lives in Berlin, Germany where he's most likely to be found eating shawarma.


witloof March 31, 2018
Water isn't necessary, a wooden spoon isn't necessary. I just use a regular soup spoon and whack directly into a bowl. The entire process takes under a minute and is very cathartic.
Lost_in_NYC February 18, 2018
This technique isn't new its been around for years!
creamtea February 17, 2018
I just whack it, cut side down, with a large soup or serving spoon and periodically empty the arils from my hand into whatever I'm using them for. No bowl of water necessary. You don't have to hit the pomegranate half very hard. Just shift the point of contact every so often.
annieobo February 17, 2018
I don’t think you need the bowl of water. I just use a medium sized bowl and it works perfectly. And fast.
siri February 17, 2018
I saw a video on Instagram once, where you use a small paring knife to cut around the pointy bit (I think it's the bottom of the fruit, the bit that sticks out like a small trumpet). Then slice JUST through the skin along each raised section (the fruit has natural ridges). Then use your hands to gently pull the segments apart, before prying the arils from the pith.
I've found this involves a lot less juice splash (unlike cutting straight through the fruit) and is a lot quieter (I have a toddler and like to prep food while he's sleeping!) This is my favourite method so far because it's quick and works well!
Gigi February 16, 2018
Nigella Lawson has been showing this method for years and years.
Faten R. February 16, 2018
My favorite way of getting the arils out undamaged and without much hassle of mess is by cutting off the top and tail of the fruit, then like you would as you segment your oranges, make a cut along the membrane (just the skin). Then gently pry open the fruit open, you can now get the arils out in whole segment, any remaining membrane can be peeled off by hand, and the arils will be intact and not squashed as it would of you were to use the tapping technique.
BerryBaby February 16, 2018
I agree to hand peeling. Something very relaxing about getting the arils out in clusters. I’m in no hurry. I marvel at how nature has made this fruit so intricate with each seed looking like a ruby gem.
Pennie B. February 16, 2018
Yes, you can use water in the bowl, but if you omit it, you won’t lose any of that luscious pomegranate juice. The pith isn’t hard to remove.
AntoniaJames February 16, 2018
Not sure why the buzz now, or how this method differs from this (from 3 years ago): http://www.foodandwine.com/blogs/2015/02/02/the-only-way-you-should-ever-deseed-a-pomegranate I've been doing it as shown in the linked piece since learning of it then. A point worth noting: the pith floats, making it easy to skim off. ;o)
Jennifer February 16, 2018
So simple, and I'm so grateful to have learned this a few years back from Food and Wine...
Nancy February 17, 2018
Yep. peel under water, discard pith, no stains from pomegranate seeds breaking.