For Mother's Day, I made an assortment of jellies. The first I made was pomegranate jelly.
I have an obsession with preserving and canning. I first made marmalade in elementary school for the county fair (in 4-H, natch!) and I was fascinated by being able to take a perishable fruit and turn it into something shelf stable for up to a year! It was more like magic than any other cooking I had done previously. Since then, I have had my fair share of mishaps. From marmalade that refused to jell and stayed a syrup, to making pints and pints of peach pie filling because my mom bought a huge load of amazing peaches at the farmer's market and then went on vacation (stickiest mess ever), I've done it all. Except killed anyone from botulism or food poisoning. /high five
My grandparents on my mother's side took care of me during the day while
my parents worked full time. Up until the time I was in 3rd grade, I
went to their house every day for school (after that, they came to my
parent's house). During the summer, my grandpa would give us homemade
pomegranate popsicles from their pomegranate tree. Now, if you know
anything about pomegranate juice, this is pretty daring to hand over to a
little kid. It stains EVERYTHING! Despite this, I always think of
pomegranate fondly. Now few people knew what a pomegranate was, or
tasted like, when I was a kid, but it seems like recently it has gained
popularity in American cuisine. At least the juice has, but few people I
know have even handled the raw fruit.
Pomegranate Jelly (Rightmost jelly in picture, the dark red one)
4 cups pomegranate juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (filtered with cheesecloth to remove any pulp)
7 cups sugar
1 3 ounce pouch of liquid pectin
Mix the lemon and pomegranate juice over medium heat until warm, so you can stir in the sugar and it will dissolve. Pour in the sugar and stir over heat until it is completely dissolved in the juice. After this, bump up the heat to medium-high and heat until the mixture boils--a boil that cannot be stirred down, aka a full rolling boil. At this point, immediately pour in the whole contents of the pectin pouch and stir thoroughly. Boil for 1 minute stirring constantly. Immediately take off heat and skim off any foam. Then ladle into jars leaving a 1/4" headspace from the jelly to the top of the jar rim. At this point, you have a choice. You could immediately refrigerate, but it will not be okay to put on the shelf. In order to make the jelly shelf stable, you must process in a water bath for 10 minutes for 8 ounce jars, or 15 minutes for pint jars.
This recipe is from Blue Ribbon Preserves by Linda J. Amendt. It is very very very important not to tinker with canning recipes, because the sugar and acids is what keeps bacteria from taking foot in the jelly. The only thing I changed is that I didn't bother making the pomegranate juice from fresh pomegranates, but used bottled POM.
And in writing this post, I've realized I spelled "pomegranate" wrong on all my labels. /face palm Just goes to show that they certainly are homemade gifts from me >.< Stay tuned for habanero gold and white zinfandel jelly!