THE WASHINGTON POST – I begin research for every recipe or advice piece I write assuming I’ll learn something new. That’s one of the best things about my job, and I’m self-aware enough to know that will never stop.
Once in a while, though, I come across something so mind-blowing that I could kick myself for not knowing it sooner. That’s how I feel about my new favorite way to de-seed a pomegranate.
Now is the time of year I especially appreciate pomegranate seeds – or arils, if you’re feeling fancy. With their bright colour and sweet-tart flavour that bursts with every crunchy bite, they shine on top of salads, yogurt, oatmeal and whatever your heart desires.
Nature’s candy, truly.
But I never loved the process of removing the seeds, especially the oft-recommended technique of squeezing them out into a bowl of water so that the arils sink and the rest of the detritus floats to the top. Too messy.
I also refused to buy prepackaged seeds, with their extra plastic waste and frequently slimy texture.
Was there a better way? I decided to find out.
I started my search with a very refined approach best described as “open a bunch of browser tabs at once and see what I find.” In the age of the Internet, it can be hard to know exactly where any one piece of advice originates, but with that caveat in mind, I’ll credit BBC Good Food and the food blog Café Sucre Farine as the sources that introduced me to this method.
Simply put: Cut the pomegranate in half through the equator, hold a half cut side down in your hand over a dish or bowl and whack it – firmly, confidently – with a wooden spoon.
Really, that’s it. Just make sure you’re hitting the fruit with the underside of the bowl of the spoon, rather than the edge, which is more likely to crack it. If you want to be a little extra, you can roll the fruit around on your counter before cutting to help loosen the seeds, though I didn’t bother. If you’re worried about splatters, use the biggest, widest bowl you have. (And don’t do this while wearing white.)
It took me a less than two minutes per half to remove all the seeds, no prying required.
Just periodically turn the halves over to see where you need to focus your efforts to ensure all the seeds come out. Very little of the membrane or white flesh ended up in the bowl, and whatever did was easily picked out. If I shook the bowl like I was tossing a salad, the extra bits rose to the top or spun to the edges, making it even simpler, no water needed.
After that, it was easy to transfer the seeds to an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they should be good for at least five days, though I’ve pushed it longer.
If you want to freeze the seeds for a few months, be sure to place them in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and then pack them in a bag or container once they’re frozen.
This simplicity of this method was in stark contrast to the more photogenic technique that infiltrated my Instagram feed, in which you carve out the top and then try to cut the pomegranates into its naturally occurring segments.