When the last of the apples have fallen for the season, our pomegranates finally begin to ripen.
These bright red globes hang from the tree like ornaments, sometimes bursting open to reveal hundreds of juicy crimson seeds.
But what to do with them? You can eat them straight (be careful, the seed juice stains), juice them, or in this case, make pomegranate jelly with them.
The process of canning jelly is specific to what fruit you are canning, the type of pectin you are using - whether natural, liquid, powder - and the ratio of juice to sugar to pectin.
If you plan to store your jelly on a shelf, and not in the refrigerator, you need special canning equipment to ensure against spoilage.
- 4 cups pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 package SureJell powdered pectin*
- 5 cups white cane sugar
- *If using MCP pectin, use 3 cups of pomegranate juice, 4 cups sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice for one package of pectin
Make the juice:
There are two basic ways to make pomegranate juice from fresh pomegranates.
The first way is to cut open a pomegranate and submerge it in a large bowl filled with water. Remove the seeds underwater; they will sink to the bottom while the white membrane holding them together will float. Discard the peel and membranes.
Strain the seeds and put them in a blender. Cover the blender. Pulse the blender only a few times so that the seeds are broken up. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the seed mixture through the strainer. Use a rubber spatula to help press the pulp against the strainer as to extract as much juice as possible.
The second way to juice a pomegranate is to use a juice press. I have an old fashioned press that I use. I wash the pomegranate and cut it into quarters or halves, depending on how big the pomegranate is.
I then crush the sections with a press and strain the juice through a mesh strainer. I have found that this method takes half the time or less of the first method, but the flavor can be a little more bitter because you are squeezing the peel as well.
Prepare canning jars:
Seep the clean, empty canning jars in boiling water for several minutes. Boil a few cups of water in a separate kettle and pour over the lids in a small bowl to sterilize.
Bring pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and pectin to a rolling boil:
Measure pomegranate juice and lemon juice in a 6-quart pan. Add pectin, stir and place over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.
When you reach a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, and add sugar. Return to a boil and boil hard for exactly 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand for a minute and skim off foam.
Fill jars to 1/2" of the top. Wipe rims clean. Screw on 2-piece lids.
It helps to take this step if you plan to keep the jelly unrefrigerated. A water bath will give you a tighter seal.
Place the jelly jars, not touching, on a rack in a tall pot of boiling water. The water should cover the top of the jars by at least an inch. Boil for 5 minutes and then remove from the water.
Let the jars cool. Check seals, the lids should be sucked down (you'll hear a popping noise as the jelly cools).
Once the jars reach room temperature, put them in the refrigerator for a few hours to complete the jellying. Lasts about 3 weeks once opened.
PomWonderful - informative website all about pomegranates - health benefits, rich history, etc.
Canning Tools - very useful tools for canning including a jar lifter for lifting hot slippery jars out of boiling water.