To choose a ripe pomegranate, look for a fruit about as big as a large orange and heavy for its size. The skin should be dark red, with a smooth, uniform surface.
The best way to get at the seeds is to put on an apron as a juice defense, cut around the spiky crown section, then score the peel in quarters. Pull those sections loose to expose the seeds, then break membranes apart. With a ripe fruit, the seeds will almost jump out.