My grandmother grew blackberries, red and black raspberries, and strawberries on the farm and that meant home-made jelly. What wasn’t processed into jelly was frozen with sugar to eat later. I loved that too.
One of my aunts recently gave me my grandmother’s jelly recipe. I couldn’t wait to try it.
It’s not berry season, although it will be strawberry season soon here in Florida. That doesn’t really help someone who really wants to try a recipe.
I can’t wait for strawberry season, so I decided to substitute a fruit in season for grandma’s berries. I went to the farmer’s market on Saturday and saw these gigantic pomegranates. They’re in season and priced just right.
The pomegranate has been around since ancient times. In addition to its culinary uses, research indicates that the pomegranate may offer a number of health benefits. I could go on about this, but I won’t.
The best thing about pomegranates is the crunch of the juicy pomegranate seeds.
Today, the pomegranate was a substitute for fresh berries in my grandma’s jelly recipe. She would have loved the flavor.
- 3¾ cups of fresh pomegranate juice (about 5 pounds or 4 large pomegranates)
- 4½ cups sugar
- 1 box of dry fruit pectin
- 4 Ball 12-ounce jars with lids and rings
- Waterbath canner (21½ quart with rack and cover)
- Jar funnel, jar lifter, and magnetic lid lifter
- A sieve
- Cheesecloth or jelly bag
- To prepare jars: Wash jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water. Put jars in the waterbath canner, and cover completely with water. Bring water to a simmer (don't need to boil). In a small saucepan, add lids and bring to a simmer. You don't need to add the rings. It is important to keep jars and lids hot or your jelly might not seal.
- To make the juice: Note: You may want to wear food gloves to keep your hands from staining. Using the palm of your hand, roll pomegranate back and forth on a hard surface. This will breakup some of the seeds and produce juice. Don't push too hard on the fruit as it may bust open. Place sieve over medium size bowl and cut the pomegranate in half. The juice will flow immediately. Using a knife or spoon, scoop out the remaining seeds into the sieve. Use a pestle or the back of a wooden spoon and crush the seeds until all remaining juice is extracted. Empty the seeds and rinse the sieve, then line it with cheesecloth. Strain the juice one or two times, until it is free of debris. Note: If you're short ½ cup or less of juice, add water to make up the difference.
- To make the jelly: In a six or eight quart saucepan, add exact amount of juice. Add the fruit pectin and whisk until dissolved. Bring mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly. Stir sugar in quickly, and return to a full rolling boil and boil for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Remove any foam that has settled on top of the hot mixture.
- To process the jelly: Remove one jar at a time from the canner. Empty the water in the jar back into the pot. Fill jars within ¼ or an eighth of top. Wipe jar lids and threads. Center lid on jar, add ring, and screw tightly. Place all jars in canner. Add enough water to cover by at least one inch and increase heat to high. Once the water reaches a full boil, cover and boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid. Allow jars to rest for 5 minutes, then remove from pot. Let cool completely before storing.