This technique is perfect for opening a pomegranate to eat out of hand, to create a centerpiece for a fruit or cheese plate, or as prep for super-easy de-seeding (see step 4). I learned this trick from a pomegranate-grower at our local farmers market, and have been amazed by its ease and utility. It's a trick everyone should know!
Thanks to culturespy for the awesome photography.
Step 1: Pop the Top
Check out the pictures to be sure what I mean.
Step 2: Score Sides
We're going to score along these wider rib portions of the pomegranate.
Take your paring knife, start at your previous cut at the flower-end of the pomegranate, and score the skin along the ridge down toward the bottom (stem) end of the fruit. You should cut through the red rind, and most of the way through the white pith. Avoid cutting into the seeds, as that will just create a big juicy mess, exactly what we're trying to avoid.
Step 3: Crack It Open
Place your thumbs inside the cut flower end, with the pads of your thumbs pressing against opposing segments of the pomegranate. Pull apart gently but firmly, and the pomegranate will crack open along the lines you've scored in the skin, and the internal segments will separate along their natural boundaries.
Adjust your grip to separate each segment along the scored lines. The end result is shown below - you'll have as many side segments as you did ribs/flats, plus a central cone-shaped chunk associated with the stem end.
Notice the almost complete lack of messy pomegranate juice! Just one drop on the plate, the result of squeezing a bit too roughly and popping one seed.
Step 4: EAT!
You can tear off each segment along its natural boundary to create a nice hand-sized snack treat, or put the opened pomegranate out whole as the gorgeous centerpiece of a fruit or cheese plate. Everyone will be properly impressed.
Opening a pomegranate this way also makes it easier to remove the seeds for other purposes. Just take one of the segments, turn it seed-side down down, and whack the rind with a spoon to knock the seeds out - they'll just drop right out.