- Look for pomegranates that are bright in color and heavy for their size to ensure juicy seeds.
- Score the peel to divide the fruit into quarters before pulling it apart with your hands.
- In a bowl of water, separate the arils (or seeds) from the white, inedible pith.
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Pomegranates are beloved the world over for their beautiful color, sweet-tart flavor, and antioxidant-packed juice. An inedible reddish peel protects the edible, ruby-red, jewel-like kernels, or arils, inside — each of which contain juice surrounding a small crunchy seed.
Jeff Simonian, president of Simonian Fruit Company, likes to enjoy pomegranate arils in champagne, on top of a salad, or in Jell-O. “I don’t know if you can go wrong using pomegranates as an ingredient,” he says. If you’re not already a pom lover, the round, hard fruit can be a bit intimidating. Here are Simonian’s tips and tricks for cutting open the fruit he calls “unique and fun.”
How to pick a pomegranate
Simonian explains that the fruit is in season from September to January in California, where much of America’s commercial crop is grown. Some of the pomegranates that you see in the supermarket are imported, so it’s possible to find the fruit year-round.
Pomegranates don’t ripen after they are picked, so it’s important to choose fruit that’s nice and ripe at the store. Simonian recommends poms that are bright red in color (pale means underripe) and feel heavy for their size. “If it’s heavy it means it is really juicy,” says Simonian.
How to store pomegranate seeds
Pomegranates are a hardy fruit, and last for weeks in the fridge. While you can store whole pomegranates for a few days at room temperature, Simonian recommends storing whole fruit in the crisper drawer of the fridge for four to five weeks. “You can store at room temperature, but the fruit dehydrates and makes it tough to cut in about a week or so,” he says. He does not recommend freezing the whole fruit.
Peeled pomegranate arils will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container in the fridge, or up to a year in the freezer. Simonian says freezing is a great way to preserve pomegranate arils, just “remember to remove them from the rind and membrane before freezing.”
Look for bright, heavy pomegranates at the store and store them in the fridge. Score the peel using a knife before using your hands to gently break the fruit into quarters. Separate the arils from the pith in a bowl of water and store in the fridge for up to two weeks or freeze them.