Intense, beautiful and extremely healthy, pomegranate is the Gwyneth Paltrow of juices. Okay, a little faffy to extract, but seriously worth the effort during these time-rich days.
The jelly in the photo was from two fruit I bought before Christmas (as decoration as much as for eating), and which have ripened wonderfully, yielding almost 400ml of juice. Pomegranates have no pectin, so you will need to find it from somewhere more than just lemons. I used jam sugar in my recipe, as I had it to hand, but if you have powdered or liquid pectin (follow the packaging instructions), that’s grand. Otherwise, you can add apples, as does my friend Roz Crowley, publisher and cook extraordinaire, and from whom the inspiration for this recipe comes.
For extracting the seeds, I strongly advise the quartering method, where you remove the cap and score the skin along segment lines, before pulling open the fruit and picking out the seeds. This way, they come out with no white membrane attached – although you will get your hands stained, no matter. Here’s a wonderful video showing this technique. Enjoy, also, the most welcome stroll through a sunny Turkish pomegranate grove.
For one medium pot
45 minutes preparation
10 minutes cooking
The seeds from 2 or 3 ripe pomegranates
Equal weight of extracted juice in half sugar and half jam sugar
Juice and pips of half a lemon
Whiz the seeds in a food processor for a few seconds. You want the juice and pulp to come away from them, but not crush the seeds, as they make the juice bitter.
Push the juicy pulp through a fine sieve to collect the juice. ( I gave the leftover squeezed seed pulp to the birds.)
Weigh the juice, put it in a saucepan and add the same weight in sugar, with the lemon juice and pips. Bring gently to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the jelly thickens. Chill a saucer in the freezer, set a dab of jelly on it to cool. When cooled, push your finger through the little puddle. If small ridges appear, the jelly is ready.
You can up the jam sugar ratio if you prefer a thicker consistency. I like mine quite loose as it is more for drizzling than spreading. With freshly whipped cream in fresh choux pastry, for example, it is just lovely.
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