To seed a pomegranate, first cut a thin slice off of each end. Notice the ridges that run under the skin of the fruit from pole to pole. These pithy areas protrude a bit from the sphere like fat longitudinal lines. With a paring knife, score the outer skin of the pomegranate along those ridges. Submerge the fruit in a large bowl of lukewarm water and pull it apart along those lines. The water helps to keep any juice from squirting out all over you. Under water, remove the arils (seeds) from the skin by bending the skin backward, separating the seeds with your fingers, and letting them sink to the bottom. Discard the skin and scoop off any white pith that floats to the top. Repeat for each section until all of the seeds are out. Then drain the pomegranate seeds through a strainer and pull out any remaining pieces of pith.
To extract the juice from the arils, put them in a blender or food processor and pulse a few times to free the juice (not too long or the seeds will impart a bitter taste). Strain the juice through a wire mesh strainer, pressing gently on the solids.
Image: Dédé Wilson
Excerpt reprinted with permission from WINTERSWEET: Seasonal Desserts to Warm the Home © 2013 by Tammy Donroe Inman, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.