Not only are pomegranates a beautiful crimson addition to any kitchen counter, but they're really good for you too. Cut open a pomegranate and inside you'll find red jewel-like seeds, called arils, that are rich in vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. If you eat the seeds whole, including the crunchy white centers, you'll also gain a fair amount of fiber.
So how do you find the ideal pomegranate amongst a mound of its kind? You'll want one that is heavy, which signals the weight of its juice. It should be firm without soft spots, and it will probably have a slightly square shape to it because the sides tend to flatten as it ripens. Although pomegranate rinds range from pink to brown, one that is deeply red in color is ideal.
Sometimes, though, the biggest obstacle to gaining the benefits of fresh pomegranate is figuring out how to cut and eat the fruit in the first place. Pomegranates aren't exactly known for being easy to eat, so here are a few helpful steps to get you started.
With a paring knife, remove the stem, known as the flower, at the top of the pomegranate. As you slice, move the fruit in a circular motion instead of moving the knife. You'll have a more even cut and will reduce the odds that the knife will slip and cause injury.
Once the stem is removed, score the skin of the pomegranate by cutting vertically from the top to near the bottom of the fruit. Note the thick white pith that separates the pomegranate seeds internally and use the pith as your guide for cutting. Keep in mind that you don't want to cut too deeply and lose excess juice.
Grip the scored fruit by placing both thumbs at the top, where the stem was removed, and gently pull apart the pomegranate to separate the sections. They won't all separate perfectly or evenly, and that's OK. The idea here is to give yourself easy access to the seeds, while keeping as many of them intact as possible. Note: It helps to do this step over a bowl full of water to catch loose seeds that fall during the process. The white pith will float while the seeds will fall to the bottom of the bowl, making it easier to separate the two.
Two things happen in this step, and both will seem fairly obvious. First, pull the skin of each section back, inverting it as much as possible, to release the seeds. Second, use your fingers to manually separate any remaining seeds from the pith. The riper the fruit, the easier the seeds will release.
Et voilà! Eat those beautiful seeds as a snack, sprinkle them on a salad, add them to oatmeal or rice, or let them inspire a pomegranate martini.