Pomegranate Jelly or ?

Pomegranate Jelly is what I set out to make! This the recipe for pomegranate jelly. My jelly did not set, and I now have 8 jars of pomegranate syrup in my refrigerator which I plan to use for glaze and dessert toppings!  Because I believe our kitchen stories help each other most when we share both successes and “detours” I will post the process here.  Since I have figured out what went wrong, I thought you might benefit from my mistake!

The harvest from our two pomegranate trees was enough this year to create my desire to make jelly from our crop.  With Joe’s help I spent a good part of the day last Monday cutting and collecting seeds from a big mound of pomegranates.  In case you don’t know, there is a trick to this.  Soak the pomegranates in water first to soften the leathery skins, then cut the whole fruit into two or three pieces.  In a large bowl of water, submerge each portion of pomegranate while you work on loosening the arils (seeds) from the white membrane that holds them.  This keeps pomegranate juice from squirting all over you and the kitchen, and actually makes the separation a little easier.  In small batches, pulse a few times in a blender to release juice and strain through a sieve.  Use a wooden spoon to mash the pulp and get as much juice as possible.  Then use the juice obtained to make jelly, molasses, syrup, or freeze it.  I chose jelly.  Because I didn’t have quite enough juice,  I supplemented with purchased pure pomegranate juice.

When I shopped for the packaged fruit pectin, I could not find the powdered pectin I have formerly used (Sure Jell).  Instead, the supermarket canning supplies offered Ball Low Sugar pectin in a bulk jar.  Since it had instructions on the label for how much powder to substitute for one package, I brought it home and proceeded to substitute.  THAT was my mistake!  I now know a sad fact – that not all pectin brands are equal. They have very different processing requirements. You can’t substitute one brand for another and use the same instructions. I found out the hard way. That is in no way an indictment of one brand, just a fact.  Since this recipe calls for “1 package of powdered pectin”, that is what I needed to use, simple!  Another need is to watch carefully when instructions say to add the pectin, and when to add the sugar.  You can’t just plop everything into your pot and proceed.  Now that I have gotten that settled, I will say that this is a good thing to learn now, instead of after you have filled your jars.

Pomegranate Jelly

4 cups pomegranate juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 package powdered pectin

5 cups white sugar

You will need 6 – 7 eight ounce jars and lids

Juice pomegranates as recommended above or use purchased pomegranate juice.  Prepare jars.  I ran mine on the sanitize cycle of my dishwasher.

Measure pomegranate juice and lemon juice into a 6 quart pan.  Add pectin, stir and place over high heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.  When the juice has reached a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, add sugar.  Boil hard for exactly 2 minutes.  Remove from heat, let stand for a minute and skim off any foam.

Fill jars to 1/2 ” of rim of jar.  Wipe rims clean.  Screw on 2 piece lids

If you are storing in the refrigerator, allow jars to cool before placing in refrigerator.  If you are canning the jelly for unrefrigerated storage, place jelly jars, not touching, on a rack in a tall pot of boiling water which covers the top of the jars by at least an inch.  boil for 5 minutes and remove from water.  This is best done with canning pot and rack and equipment for lifting the jars.  Let the jars cool, then check seals.  The lids should be sucked down.  You will hear a popping noise as this happens while the jelly cools. Once the jars reach room temperature, put them in the refrigerator for a few hours to assist setting.