This is our cousin, Diane. We were having coffee with some of our teacher friends recently, when one of us happened to mention that we wanted to make Pomegranate Jelly. It turns out that Diane learned how to make it from her friend Cara, whose grandmother taught her. Diane said she had some pomegranates that would be ripe soon, so we made a date to go shopping for supplies.
This is Diane at the end of our jelly-making afternoon when we decided to toast ourselves with some freshly squeezed juice. There is nothing better for us or better tasting on the planet!! This jar full is for the next day's batch, as the juice needs to sit overnight in the fridge so that the sediment will fall to the bottom.
As you can see, the kitchen survived, and so did we!! Here is the game plan...
And of course you will need a large grocery bag full of ripe pomegranates!! Enough to make 12 pints, shown pictured...the fruit is expensive in the store, anywhere from $1.50 each to $2.00 each, so you'll need to search out friends and even strangers who have trees by the road or in their yard. Ask permission to pick the fruit! A lot of people don't bother picking any or all of them...
I researched the varieties of pomegranates on Google, and we are going to plant a few trees on our farm. They will start producing after about 4 or 5 years. The trees actually look more like large bushes, although they can be pruned to look more like trees. We are going to plant the 'Wonderful' variety. All of the varieties sounded good, tho!
Now for the tricky part...Diane loves to make Pomegranate jelly, so she asked her hubby for an orange juicer and a steam canner as gifts. Those two items are what make it all possible, but they are rather expensive, so I suggest beg, borrow or buy as a last resort. I borrowed the machines and the expert, which turned out to be a really fun thing to do!!
One last word, I don't believe it would be a good idea to make a double batch of the jelly at first. Start on a single batch until you get comfortable with the process. I have made double batches in a larger pot and they turned out equally as well, but it is a lot of boiling hot jelly to contend with at once!!
For a single batch, I use a 4 quart pot
For a double batch, I use a 6 quart pot
Here is the recipe for a single batch:
Makes 6- 8 oz. jars or 3- pint jars
3 1/2 cups fresh pomegranate juice, squeezed the day before and allowed to settle overnight
1 box MCP pectin
5 cups white granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon butter
In a medium size cooking pot, mix the juice and pectin. Stir, dissolving thoroughly by scraping the sides and making sure all the pectin is dissolved.
Bring to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly to prevent scorching. Add sugar and butter and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. The butter will prevent excess foaming.
Boil hard for two minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and IMMEDIATELY pour the jelly into the jars. If you pause to do something, a "skin" will form on the jelly which will not disappear. Even with stirring it will not reabsorb properly!
After jelly is in the jars, get a table teaspoon and quickly skim any foam or bubbles that are at the very top of the jelly. You want the jelly to be completely clear from top to bottom. Then take a damp cloth and carefully wipe the inside of the jar rims and on the top of the rims to make sure there is no residue.
Put on the lids and rings and process the jars in the steam canner for 10 minutes after the water starts to boil. Remove carefully with hotpads- you should hear a 'ping!' for each jar as you remove them to cool on a cloth on the counter. Screw down the lids so that they are just tight.
Stand back and be amazed at yourself. You have just created something beautiful and delicious!!
Make several batches to give for Christmas gifts, because my family fights over the jelly, and I bet yours will as well! Tie the jars with a colorful green and red plaid ribbon, make fancy Christmas labels with your name and date, and tuck a little decorative spreader knife down the side of the jar, and voila!! Homemade gifts given with love...
On the day before you make jelly, you can cut and squeeze the pomegranates. This is a lot easier than I thought it would be, IF you use the orange juicer machine. Cut the fruit in half, and if it is a big pomegranate, cut the pieces in half again. Cut the little pointy ends off as well to eliminate bulk when you squeeze.
Continue squeezing the fruit until you have enough for the next day's batches. Put the lid on and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning you will see some sediment in the bottom of the jar which you will not use, it will just stay down in the bottom while you measure it out into a cup. It's very fine sediment so don't worry if some gets into the pot; it will be O.K.
Here Diane pours the freshly squeezed juice through a strainer into the jar to keep overnight. What we really wanted to do was drink it right then!! :D
Here's when I got into the act. Have everything set up ahead of time because that jelly gets to boiling fast and you have no time to fiddle around with anything. The jars, rings and lids should be pre-steamed in the steamer canner for 10 minutes after the water starts to boil, and they should be sitting by the stove with the funnel in one, ready to receive the jelly.
This is the rolling boil. Be very careful, it is way hot!! Stir a lot.
Juicer~ OrangeX Jupiter Large Commercial Juice Press (www.amazon.com)
Steam Canner~ Back to Basics brand (www.backtobasicsproducts.com)
Dave came home from work and he just had to fix some toast and jelly right away...Enjoy!!
A very special thank-you to Diane and Cynthia for sharing and seeking out pomegranates for me!!
Diane sent this photo of her luscious pomegranates from her backyard tree. Aren't they gorgeous??