23 April 2007

Pomegranate Jelly And Tradition

My mom was a really good cook and she frequently made jam and jelly. She was renowned for her pomegranate jelly. Pomegranate jelly is beautiful. It's a deep ruby red and it tastes just wonderful. It's almost a bit addictive.

She used to make a couple of batches for me every December, in both the little four-ounce jars and the eight-ounce jars (for the real aficionados), to give to my friends and cow orkers. This custom had started out with about three jars and, over the years, grown to about two dozen. Everyone who had ever tasted it wanted more. When my mom came out to Dryden and I was introducing her to people, about half of them would say something like "Oh, I love your pomegranate jelly and I look forward to Christmas and a jar of it all year". My cousin even mentioned it in his eulogy (and the attendees nodded in agreement).

I'm carrying on the tradition; I just made a batch of pomegranate jelly. As usual, it turned out very well. I don't know that her recipe is foolproof, but it seems to be. In the hope that someone else will start this tradition in their family, here's the recipe.

Katheryn's Pomegranate Jelly (makes around 9 one-cup jars)

4 c pomegranate juice (squeezed from six or eight pomegranates or bought)
¼ c lemon juice (squeezed from two lemons or bought)
1 box pectin (check the date on the box)
7½ c sugar, measured into a separate bowl

Put the juices into a large, deep pan and stir in the pectin. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add all the sugar at once and stir until it's dissolved. Skim off the froth with a metal spoon. Stirring, bring the mixture to a boil that you can't stir down and let it boil for exactly one minute. Then take it off the heat, skim it some more, and pour it into prepared one-cup (half-pint) jars.

Jar preparation: wash the jars in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle or wash them by hand and sterilize them in boiling water for a couple of minutes. Put them into warm water (hot jelly in cold jars can result in broken jars) before you start cooking. Boil the flat lids for a couple of minutes and leave them in the water. Wash the rings.

Pour the jelly up to about ¼-½ in. from the top, put on a flat lid, and screw on a ring. Don't screw it down tightly, but do get it on firmly. When you have all the jars filled, put them into a large, deep pan and cover the jars with water. Cover and bring the water to a boil. Boil for five minutes. Turn off the heat and lift the jars out and set them on the counter. As they cool, the lids will pop, showing that the vacuum packing worked. If a jar lid doesn't pop, reprocess it or refrigerate it and use right away.

Be careful, because hot sugar syrup is very dangerous.

Eat the jelly with fresh butter on hot biscuits or toasted English muffins or toast. You can substitute cream cheese for the butter, if you'd like.


Stephanie said...

I love pomegranates! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it is a must try!

Boron Elgar said...

The Hub's Uncle Bob, up near Big Bear, makes pomegranate jelly every year. He has quite a gizmo set up to separate the pulp from the seeds.

Here in the east, the cost of pomegranates is a much to use for jelly making, but I do love to eat them.

I planted a bunch of seeds from one a couple of years ago and am tending the plants, leaving them on the deck all summer and wintering them in my kitchen.

Mary the Digital Knitter said...

Boron, you can do what my mom did in recent years, which is to buy two pint bottles of Pom pomegranate juice at the supermarket. That's what I did, too. There are other brands as well.

The kids in the neighborhood have caused a crop failure from my bush for the last couple years. The unripe fruit is just too good a projectile from them to resist.

Boron Elgar said...

Pom is readily available, so I thin kthat might be the answer.

Thanks, Mary.