FALL, halloween, cool weather and the second week of November! To me this signals, among other things, it's pomegranate jelly time! I have a very prolific pomegranate tree that usually gives me tons of fruit, which can be processed into juice and or jelly. There are other uses, of course, but I stick to these two primarily.
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Step 1: Gather Supplies
1. Canning jars for jelly with new lids
4. Large pan to cook jelly in
5. One lemon (for a little juice)
6. Pomegranate juice
Step 2: Collect and Process Fruit
Pomegranates can be purchased in the stores or you might find them at roadside stands this time of year. I am able to pick them off my tree, of course, but if I run low for a batch, I can always go buy a few at the store. I know mine are purely organic, however.
Step 3: Separating the Seeds (the Fruit)
It is best to work underwater for this step, so I either fill a sink with water, or use a large bowl as pictured. Cut the pomegranate into about 6 or 8 pieces by scoring the rind with a sharp knife. Break apart (under water). If you have time, let soak for 30minutes or so, or even longer. This softens up the rind and makes it easier to separate the seeds. Proceed to remove seeds gently so as not to rupture them and lose the juice they contain.
Step 4: Use Blender to Rupture Seeds and Release Juice
I think there are presses for this, but I have never bothered to get one. The blender works well for this task, but the main thing is to not overdo it. Starting at the lowest speed possible, turn blender on for about 12-20 seconds, ending up at a slightly higher rate of speed than when starting. This insures separation, but doesn't allow the seed itself to be ground up. This would cause bitterness in the finished product.
Step 5: Separate Juice With Cheese Cloth
A jelly bag can be used also but the cheese cloth works well. Try to make a bag with at least two layers of cloth for the juice/seed mixture to pass through.
Step 6: Allow This Juice to Settle Overnight in the Refrigerator
A final separation stage is necessary to totally separate solids from the juice. The goal: Juice of very high clarity which results from removing as much particulate matter as possible.
Step 7: Pour Off the Final Product
Carefully decant the top clear juice. It's hard to decide exactly when to stop pouring, but I keep an eye on the juice as it leaves the bottle, and as soon as I see the sediment, I stop pouring. What is left can be refrigerated and left for several days to reclaim enough for a small glass of juice, perhaps.
Step 8: Prepare to Make Jelly
Have jars cleaned, dried and ready to go. Get hot pads and/or gloves to handle hot jars. Once started, you want to proceed deliberately thru the end. Disclaimer: I follow the instructions of one manufacturer of pectin, which is as follows: "New! The makers of CERTO liquid fruit pectin have found a way to eliminate the step of boiling jars in preparation for making jams and jellies. Because of the high sugar and acid contents of jams and jellies, jar preparation can be handled in the easy way described below. IMPORTANT, this method applies only to jam and jelly recipes. Always use clean jars. Wash thoroughly (add a little bleach to wash water) before you begin so they will be ready when the jam or jelly is ready to pour. Contaminants which may cause spoilage are destroyed when hot fruit mixtures are immediately poured, covered and inverted for 5 minutes to seal after the jam or jelly is cooked. OR you may still use the traditional method of boiling jars in water to sterilize. I have used this method for 20-25 years and have never found any spoilage, even after a year or so of storage!
Step 9: Recipe for Jelly
Pomegranate juice: 3.5 cups
Sugar: 5 cups
Lemon Juice: 1 tblspoon
Pectin: 1 package
Step 10: Make Jelly
1. Measure prepared juice and lemon juice into 6-8quart saucepan. Measure sugar into separate bowl. Set aside. Add 1 package of pectin to the fruit juice,mixing thoroughly.
2. Place pan on stove over high heat. Bring to a full rolling boil (a boil that does not stop when stirred), stirring constantly to prevent scorching. (If mixture starts to scorch, reduce heat to medium.)
3. Stir in sugar, mixing well. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue to boil for 2 MINUTES. Add 1/4 teaspoon of margarine or butter to mixture to prevent foaming.
4. Remove from heat, skim off any foam.
5. Fill hot jars quickly to within 1/8 in. of tops. Cover quickly with hot lids. Screw bands tightly, invert jars for 5-10 minutes, then turn upright. Let cool, and remove to a cool, undisturbed location and let sit at least overnight.
6. Store unopened jams and jellies in cool, dry, dark place up to 1 year. Store opened jelly in refrigerator up to 3 weeks.
Step 11: Ninzerbeans Solution
Ever the curious one, I had to check out Ninzerbeans method of seed removal....Bottom line is: It works! Thanks to the lady NB, check out pictures.