Seeds of change

Step-by-step instructions for removing a pomegranate's precious interior

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Nothing is new under the sun, but sometimes the word is slow to circulate. For years, to avoid stains and spatters when peeling a pomegranate, I've scored the thick skin, then held the fruit underwater in a bowl to break it apart and rub the edible seeds free. But a Persian friend showed me an old trick that speeds up the process. It's surprisingly neat, but working in a deep bowl is still a wise precaution.

Cut the pomegranate in half with a sharp knife. Along the cut edge of each half, make 4 equally spaced vertical cuts 3/4 to 1 inch long and deep. Hold a pomegranate half, seeds down, over a deep bowl and pull the fruit open but not apart, using equal pressure from both hands. Holding the pomegranate half, seeds down, in the palm of one hand, whack the top of the fruit with the back of a large spoon. The seeds will just fall out.

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