I was inspired by Good and Cheap Eats to make pomegranate jelly. Before I share the recipe and process, I’ll first share what this taught me about home preserving.
I tend to be a purist when it comes to home preserving. By that I’m not saying that I don’t use sugar or jar lids that aren’t BPA free, I do—guilty. By that I mean that I tend to only preserve foods that came from our garden, a friend or relative’s garden, or a local farmer. The thought of buying grocery store food with the specific purpose of preserving it always seemed a little silly to me. Sure, there have been plenty of times I’ve frozen or dehydrated extras that I had, but I had never given much thought to going and buying a bunch of anemic strawberries at Kroger to make jam. What always appealed to me about home preserving was the idea of opening a jar and tasting a bit of summer in the winter months, or giving that same pleasure to a sweet friend as a gift.
This take on food preservation is somewhat limiting, though. I haven’t made marmalade in years because oranges and other citrus fruits aren’t local, and it is important to note here that marmalade is my favorite of all fruit spreads. Last year I was lucky enough to have relatives from Texas visit and bring a bunch of kumquats with them. I so delighted in preserving them and looking and the little jewels floating in their crystal liquid, knowing that a bit of sunshine was waiting to be unleashed from the jar. They were from their back yard, and though they traveled over a thousand miles to my doorstep they were local in my mind. I think at that point I realized that I needed to change the way I looked at food preservation. Why not enjoy marmalade made by my own hands, bought from the food co-op and organically grown?
Well, I put most of those thoughts out of my mind until I saw Good and Cheap Eat’s post on pomegranate jelly. Last year I never got around to canning/preserving anything more exotic than cranberry mustard, and I decided when I saw the gorgeous rosy red color in those jars that it was time to change that! I picked up a jar of organic pomegranate juice at Three Rivers Market a few weeks ago and started work. It was probably the easiest canning I’ve ever done because the juice was ready to go—no draining through a cheesecloth overnight, no cloudiness, no major foaming. It was a cinch and a definite make if you still have a few people left on your Christmas list.
The recipe is from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. If you enjoy canning and do not yet have this book, add it to your wish list!!
1. Prepare jars and lids as you normally would with home canning.
2. Place 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice (you can use fresh, but again, I made it easy and used organic 100% juice from the grocery) and 1 package of regular pectin in a deep stainless steel pot. Bring to a rolling boil and then add 5 cups sugar. Bring to a rolling boil again and let boil for 1 minute.
3. Remove from heat and skim any foam off—mine barely had any. Quickly pour into prepared jars and leave 1/4 inch headspace. Add lids and rings and process 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
Viola! That simple. The total out of pocket expense for this project was about $6.50. I had free pectin, sugar I had scored a really good deal on, and the organic juice was on sale. It makes about 6 eight oz jars, and at the grocery 1 of those organic pomegranate jellies would be almost that same amount. I’ll definitely do this again.