Every pomegranate is composed of hundreds of small seeds, each surrounded by a sac of sweet-tart juice contained by a thin skin. The seeds are compacted around the core in a layer resembling honeycomb. The layers of seeds are separated by paper-thin white membranes which are bitter to the tongue. The inner membranes and rind are not generally eaten due to high tannic acid content, but they are useful as a skin wash.
Many people eat the fresh fruit by chewing on the seeds to release the juice from the sacs and then swallow seeds and all. The seeds are considered good roughage to help cleanse the body. In India, the seeds are dried and ground into a powder to be used in meat dishes.
Others will chew the juice from the seeds and then spit out the seeds. One method to get just the juice is to vigorously roll the fruit on a hard surface to break the juice sacs. When the fruit is soft, puncture the end, insert a straw, and suck out the juice, squeezing as you go. Obviously, there is a fair amount of waste in this process.
The option to eat or discard the seeds is yours.
More about Pomegranates and Pomegranate Recipes: Pomegranate Cooking Tips and Measures
Pomegranate Selection and Storage
Pomegranate Peeling and Juicing
Are pomegranate seeds edible? FAQ
Pomegranate Legend and Lore
Pomegranate Photo © 2006 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.