One of the best things about living here in the Central Valley of California are all the pomegranate trees. We put in four a couple years ago but just around the corner is a quarter mile of mature pomegranate trees that the farmer seems to have abandoned.
They are on a quiet road next to an almond orchard and last year we watched as no watering was done or anything. Then in the fall about this time of year all the pomegranates withered on the trees and fell to the ground. It became clear that the farmer did not care one iota about these trees much less the fruit on them.
So this year in broad daylight we went over and harvested a giant basket full of heavy juicy pomegranates. I knew they were ready because many of the poms were already splitting open.
The pomegranate is a very tough tree. It can pretty much survive on what little water it might find as overflow from the nearby almond orchard and the soil doesn’t have to be that great either.
I’m going to make pomegranate jelly. My sister’s husband loves it. It’s going to make great Christmas gifts for a bunch of relatives. I get to eat some, too!
Here’s how I do it. It’s very simple and I don’t even have all the “right” equipment. Only certain items have to be “right”.
I think juicing the actual fruit is best because it makes the best tasting juice. I think the heating process for store bought juice makes it taste well, less pomegranate-y.
True pomegranate juice is very tart. Pucker up for those great antioxidants! Just be warned that pom juice stains so wear an apron and cover your surface with paper towels or washable cloth.
Makes about 8 cups
- Large pan that preferably has pouring spouts on the sides but if you don’t have one and you have a pyrex measuring cup you can use that to pour the juice into the jars.
- Canning bath – which can be a large deep kettle.
- Canner basket – which can be a wire mesh with feet that sits on the bottom of the bath or a polypropylene or wire basket that fits inside the canner bath. It can have handle which is nice.
- A jar lid magnet is nice.
- A lid tightener is nice so you don’t have to grab the hot jars to tighten the screw tops but oven mitts will do in a pinch.
- A jar lifter is nice.
- Four to six 1/2 pint canning jars with lids
- A fine strainer
- 15 large pomegranates or, if you don’t have a tree and don’t want to pop for the actual fruit which can be expensive, some high quality pomegranate juice from the store to make 3-1/2 cups of juice.
- 1 package (1-3/4 oz.) powered fruit pectin.
- 5 cups of sugar
- Start off by juicing the pomegranates. I use an electric juicer that rotates both ways to get all the juice. Put the juicer filter on fine mesh. Pomegranates have a lot of seeds (no kidding! This is what they’re famous for!) and generate a lot of fine pulp, which can be strained later, but why not get rid of as much as possible to begin with?
- After you juice the poms strain the juice to remove remnants of seeds and pith.
- Before you start your juice/pectin/sugar concoction sterilize your supplies and your jars and lids by putting them in a basket and immersing them in water.
- Bring to a boil for a couple minutes.
- Turn off and let sit until you’re ready for them.
- Now let’s make the juice/pectin/sugar concoction. In the large pan combine your juice and pectin.
- Bring to a rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. It can over boil so don’t step away! You might need to reduce the heat.
- Stir in all the sugar and bring to rolling boil again.
- Boil and stir for 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and scrap off the foam with a spoon. Throw it away.
- Then pour the hot liquid into the hot jars leaving 1/4 inch airspace at the top. Wipe off the rim if you need to.
- Then put the lids on and screw on the bands finger tight. Don’t over tighten. Just firm.
- Place the jars into a simmering water bath. Make sure the jars are covered with water.
- Bring to boil and boil for 5 minutes.
- Remove the jars and cool on the counter before putting them in the refrigerator or in your pantry.
See how many uses you can come up with for this delectable jelly!
Photos property of Renee Benoit.