Fresh Pomegranate seeds or pomegranate arils, are the seed of the pomegranate fruit. These sweet, juicy seeds burst with flavor. The seed is actually surrounded by the sweet flesh but you can eat them, seeds and all.
Pomegranates are in season here in the U.S. from around October to January. When the fruit is properly ripened it will break open when it is time to eat the seeds. All you do is break the fruit apart and the seeds are in little compartments, somewhat like a citrus. You can just pull the seeds out with your fingers, messy but fun, or scrape them into a bowl with a spoon. Beware, pomegranate juice can really stain.
The fruit tends to be messy and lot of work to eat so the pomegranate growers have started making the seeds (arils) available both frozen, and fresh in plastic containers.
The fresh seeds are delightful on salads or even to top soups or sauces. Of course they are delicious just as a snack.
There really is no good substitution for fresh pomegranate seeds. More importantly don't try to substitute dried pomegranate seeds (anardana) for fresh because they are very sour and sticky.
Look for them in the produce section of your local well-stocked grocery store. They are sometimes brought in from Chile when not in season in the U.S. Trade Joe's markets typically stock them when they are in season. Walmart stocks them as well in some stores. Sellers on Amazon.com sell frozen and fresh Pomegranate Seeds