Step 0: Start with a pomegranate. (11/11/2008)
I've seen various methods of opening a pomegranate, many of which I find needlessly messy. So here is my mess-free, stress-free way of opening pomegranates. First, you'll need a pomegranate. I buy mine at Costco. POM brand are the best, in my humble opinion.
Step 1: Slice off the top. (11/11/2008)
Step 1: Using a paring knife, slice off the top, or crown. In some of the other methods I've seen, they cut off the crown deeper into the fruit, exposing the arils and making a big juicy mess. Totally unnecessary, I say. I prefer to cut off a thin portion without exposing the interior fruit.
Step 2: Make a center cut and score. (11/11/2008)
Step 2: Stick the knife about a quarter-inch into the core, making a small incision. Then, gently, use your knife to score the outside skin in the same direction of the cut in the core.
Step 3: Repeat in opposite direction. (11/11/2008)
Step 3: Repeat Step 2, but this time go in the opposite direction. If you did this correctly, you'll notice the center core will have a "+" or "x" depending on the angle in which you hold it.
Step 4: After scoring it, gently pry it open. (11/11/2008)
Step 4: After cutting the core and scoring the outside skin, gently begin to pry it open. Be sure not to squeeze the fruit while doing this, or you'll crush the arils inside and again, make a big juicy mess.
Step 5: Open until it splits. (11/11/2008)
Step 5: Keep prying the pomegranate open until it splits in half. Be on the lookout for any arils that fall out. As you've no doubt heard, pomegranate juice causes permanent stains, so be sure to avoid wearing white while doing this.
Step 6: Split again and then eat the tasty arils. (11/11/2008)
Step 6: Take the two halves and split them again along the scoring lines you made. You should end up with four large sections that now make it much easier to pick out the tasty little arils. Some people prefer to do this in a bin of water, since the arils sink while the membrane lining floats. But I find it just as easy to do this dry. Enjoy!