A few weeks ago we held our last meeting of the Preservation Society for 2013. With the holidays and busy schedules, it just didn’t make sense to meet in November or December. We’ll be picking up again in January. A new year! New things to can!
We wanted to make something “seasonal,” which is sort of hard in the late fall. I thought about canning cranberry sauce, and will still probably try to do this soon. A friend suggested we do something with pomegranates. What a cool idea! I love them, and they really are a special fruit this time of year!
Well, it turns out the recipes we found for pomegranate jam using fresh pomegranates were a little ridiculous for a casual evening with friends. They involved either juicing the fruit or including the seeds in the final mix. What? The seeds are way too big to be spreading on toast. And then, even at a sale price of $2.50 per pomegranate, we’d be paying a lot of money for a little jam, and having to work really hard for it. BUT feel free to do that. I read you can juice a pomegranate just like an orange: cut in half and squeeze. Have you tried that? I’m curious if it works.
So anyway, we decided to go with bottled pomegranate juice, 100% juice of course. We added raspberries, because a recipe we saw online had that combo and it sounded great. Pomegranates are a little bit astringent, but it is easily mellowed by a fruit without any bitterness.
The final product is fan-freakin-tastic. It’s sweet and has a really nice texture, not as chunky as jam but not as smooth as jelly. But, I will say, even though the raspberries are only a small part of the total (less than a quarter by volume) they are the dominant flavor. I have an extra bottle of the pomegranate juice, so I will try making jelly out of it soon, and see how it turns out. But that’s a project for another day (and probably a season that’s a little less busy).
Makes 3.5 pints (we used half-pint jars, and got 7)
4 cups pomegranate juice
2 pints raspberries, cleaned and smushed
¼ cup lemon juice
4.5 cups sugar
1 box (1.75 oz) low sugar pectin
This is made the same way you make any jam or jelly. Mix the fruit juices and fruit in a large, non-reactive pot. Mix the pectin with ¼ cup sugar, and add to the mix.
Stirring constantly (ish), bring to a full rolling boil over medium or medium-high heat. This took us about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining sugar, stirring constantly (for real). Bring back to a full boil, and then continue to boil vigorously for 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Test the gel. I like the cold plate method – put a little on a cold plate and into the freezer for 2 minutes.
Let the pot sit on the counter for up to 5 minutes. This is a great time to skim the foam off the top. I like to let the jam sit so that it sets ever so slightly. Then anything suspended in it (in this case, seeds) will be evenly distributed throughout the jars, rather than rising to the top.
Pour into sterile jars, add sterile lids and bands, and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.