How to Open a Pomegranate Without a Knife

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Pomegranate seeds brighten the taste and look of a fruit salad.
Pomegranate seeds brighten the taste and look of a fruit salad. (Image: Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

While you would typically use a knife to score the skin of a pomegranate, you can make the same shallow cuts necessary to open the fruit by other means if you don't have access to a knife. In fact, any instrument with a narrow edge will do in a pinch, from a nail file to a sharp stick to long fingernails if you have them. A large bowl makes opening the pomegranate less messy, but you can make do with a large paper bag or towel spread on your work surface. The sweet-tart and juicy seeds make all your efforts worth the trouble.

Dig out the jagged top of the pomegranate, using your fingernails or another sharp utensil such as the end of an old-fashioned bottle opener or the tip of a fingernail file. Leave the white, pithy top of the fruit intact.

Score the pomegranate into quarters by making very shallow cuts down the sides of the fruit's thin skin. Avoid cutting into the fruit itself -- you only want a deep enough cut to allow the skin to peel back.

Place your thumbs around the edges of the white, pithy top of the pomegranate. Press down firmly and pull the pomegranate apart. Pull off a portion of the skin if the pomegranate doesn't break in half.

Press down and pull apart the fruit again until you have sections with the seeds showing. You may end up with four or five large pieces instead of four equal quarters.

Bend each section back to make it easier to remove the seeds with your fingers. Remove any white pith or membrane remaining on the seeds.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have access to a large bowl, open the pomegranate under water to reduce the risk of splattering your clothes with pomegranate juice. Lukewarm water makes the job more pleasant than icy cold water.
  • Soak pomegranate-stained clothes for about 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of baking soda for each cup of water to help remove the stain. Rinse the clothing and wash as usual.
  • Pomegranates provide dietary fiber, vitamins C and K, minerals such as potassium and folate and healthy antioxidants.
  • Use pomegranate seeds in Middle Eastern rice pilaf with dried apricots and almonds or in Mexican stuffed chiles and guacamole. Pomegranate seeds also are a tasty garnish for meat and poultry, salads and as a topping for ice cream.

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