Considered “super foods” because of their healthy nutrient content, pomegranates are available mostly between the months of October and January.
Many people don’t know how to eat pomegranates, however, and decide to avoid the fruit because of its seemingly time-consuming cutting process. You can save time and effort by purchasing and eating the seeds directly for a nutritious snack.
Arils Are More Than Seeds
Pomegranate seeds are enclosed in small, red, jewel-like drops called arils. The material inside the arils is tart and juicy, and surrounds the white seeds of the pomegranate fruit.
When a pomegranate is cut, you might assume the arils are the seeds, but this is a misconception. The arils and crunchy white seeds are the only edible portions of the pomegranate.
How to Eat the Seeds
It’s easiest to eat pomegranate seeds in conjunction with the arils. It's completely safe to chew and swallow the seeds along with the juicy arils. In fact, you might enjoy the variations in texture.
Still, you don’t have to eat the seeds if you don’t care for the texture. Instead, you can spit them out as you would when eating seeded watermelons or citrus fruits.
Pomegranate seeds enclosed in juicy arils make up a low-calorie, antioxidant-rich food choice. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a half-cup serving contains 72 calories, along with 8.9 milligrams of the antioxidant vitamin C.
One of the reasons pomegranates are known as a "super food" is this antioxidant content. According to Healthline.com, "pomegranate juice has been found to have three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea."
The same half-cup serving size also has 205 milligrams of potassium, and traces of heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The seeds alone contain fiber, which may help you stay fuller longer than just eating the arils alone; though consuming both will provide 3.5 grams of fiber per half-cup.
If you are watching your sugar intake, note that the same half-cup serving contains 12 grams of natural sugars.
To Seed or Not to Seed
While pomegranate seeds are edible, not everyone appreciates them. In fact, you might seek only the juicy arils wrapped around the seeds. You can still gain some of the nutritional benefits of the pomegranate without eating the seeds. The choice is purely based on preference.
If you want to eliminate the seeds without the hassle of spitting them out, beat the arils gently with a wooden spoon in a bowl. Keep in mind, however, that the juice is likely to break from the arils, so this technique is best saved for making pomegranate juice.
Looking for an easy way to remove the seeds from the pomegranate? Pomegranates.org has an easy, "3 Steps No Mess" method for you to make use of.