Pomegranates are chock full of antioxidants, but extracting the arils (seeds) can be a pain. Before you get to that point, you need to know how to select the best pomegranate in the grocery store bin.

I have helpful tips for selecting and opening pomegranates so that you can enjoy the best fruit possible with the least amount of mess.

How to Choose a Pomegranate

You can pick a pomegranate based on visual and tactile cues. Look for the one that has the best red color. Then make sure that it’s round and glossy, but with ridges. You don’t want a pomegranate with a side that is too flat or indented, which is a sign that the seeds in that section have gone bad. Make sure that it’s the heaviest of the ones that meet the color and shape criteria. Heavy equals juicy.

Do you know how to pick a pomegranate?

Pomegranate selection tips include:

  • A larger pomegranate typically has juicier seeds (arils). Select a big one.
  • A heavier pomegranate has more juice. Compare like sizes and select the heavier one.
  • Look at the skin. Dry skin signals the fruit is drying out. The skin should be leathery in appearance but glossy and not dry.
  • Check that there are no blemishes as a damaged exterior may signal a damaged interior.
  • The color should be deep red. Lighter skinned ones typically do not taste as good.
  • Look at the shape. They will never be perfectly round, but any flat spots may signal that the arils in a particular inner membrane have dried out

Now that you have selected a perfect fruit, what do you do with it?

If you have a knife, you can certainly cut the seeds out. However, the below method ensures that most arils stay intact while minimizing the risk of squirting red juice on your clothes.

How to Open a Pomegranate

Opening a pomegranate is more labor-intensive than other fruit, but its health benefits make the effort worthwhile. Get to the valuable seeds easily by following these simple steps.

Hands seeding a pomegranate with the water method.
I find this the easiest method.
  1. Look at the pomegranate’s exterior, and you will see some ridges.
  2. Score the pomegranate skin into sixths or quarters along its ridges.
  3. Start to pry the fruit open.
  4. Place it into a deep bowl of water as soon as you feel like a mess could happen.
  5. Break open the pomegranate underwater to free the arils (seed sacs) using your fingers. The arils will sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the membrane will float to the top.
  6. Sieve the membrane out. Don’t leave the pomegranate to soak for too long otherwise, the membrane will fall to the bottom.

If you accidentally fling some juice on your clothes while opening or eating a pomegranate. Treat it immediately. Here are some suggestions for getting rid of pomegranate stains.

If you prefer to try various gadgets for opening pomegranates, these will help.

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How to Store Pomegranate

A whole fresh, unrefrigerated pomegranate will last about a week while a refrigerated one could last a few months.

Once you’ve taken the seeds out, they will not last more than five days or so in the refrigerator. You’ll want to store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

You can actually freeze them, too. Make sure that the seeds are completely dry before popping them into the freezer to make sure that they don’t stick together.

Pomegranate seeds in a circle bowl on a rustic old wood background, shot from directly above.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  2. I just had these for the first time the other night in a cooking class – we mixed a light dressing with arugula, melted blue cheese over slices of baguette, then sprinkled the pomegranate seeds over the salad. They added such great sweet crunch – thanks for the demo on actually getting to the seeds!

    1. I used to just hack them open with a knife! Juice would fly everywhere and it was a mess. That’s why I thought I’d post this – I finally learned how to do it correctly. 🙂

  3. Thanks for linking to my site about removing pomegranate stains. I love the pomegranate seeds, they are so tasty. I especially love them in salads! Thanks for the great tips.