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Pomegranate jelly colors the season

Recipe: Tangy condiment is just the right red

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Dark in the jar, pomegranate jelly is bright red on the plate (or cookie).
(Photo: Debbie Arrington)

Pomegranate jelly looks as cheery as the holiday season -- a brilliant ruby red. It’s just the right color for Valentine’s Day sweets as well as Christmas cookies.

Using fresh juice, pomegranate jelly can be a tangy and pretty filler for thumbprint cookies or petite pastries. Delicious on toast or English muffins, it makes a flavorful glaze on pork or chicken, too.

It takes eight to 10 medium-to-large pomegranates to produce 4 cups juice. This recipe can be scaled down, but not up.

The little dab of butter cuts down on the foam (and hence the waste). This recipe is adapted from Elise Bauer’s excellent Simply Recipes version.

Pomegranate jelly
Makes 6 to 8 half-pints

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients :
4 cups pomegranate juice
¼ cup lemon juice
½ teaspoon butter
6 tablespoons powdered pectin (1 package Sure-Jell)
5 cups sugar
Instructions:

Strain pomegranate and lemon juices to remove any seed or white membranes.
In a large heavy pot, combine pomegranate and lemon juices with powdered pectin and butter. Bring to a full rolling boil.
Add sugar all at once. Return to boil. Boil for 2 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute.
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A food mill can be used to juice the arils.
(Photo: Debbie Arrington)
Skim off any foam. Ladle hot mixture into hot sterilized jars, leaving about 1/4-inch head space. Wipe rims, screw on lids and process filled jars in hot water bath for 5 minutes.

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Garden Checklist for week of July 7

Take care of garden chores early in the morning, concentrating on watering. We’re still in survival mode until this heat wave breaks.

* Keep your vegetable garden watered, mulched and weeded. Water before 8 a.m. to conserve moisture.

* Prevent sunburn; provide temporary shade for tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, melons, squash and other crops with “sensitive” skin.

* Hold off on feeding plants until temperatures cool back down to “normal” range. That means daytime highs in the low to mid 90s.

* Don’t let tomatoes wilt or dry out completely. Give tomatoes a deep watering two to three times a week. Harvest vegetables promptly to encourage plants to produce more.

* Squash especially tends to grow rapidly in hot weather. Keep an eye on zucchini.

* Some weeds thrive in hot weather. Whack them before they go to seed.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushy plants and more flowers in September.

* Harvest tomatoes, squash, peppers and eggplant. Prompt picking will help keep plants producing.

* Remove spent flowers from roses, daylilies and other bloomers as they finish flowering.

* Pinch off blooms from basil so the plant will grow more leaves.

* Cut back lavender after flowering to promote a second bloom.

* One good thing about hot days: Most lawns stop growing when temperatures top 95 degrees. Keep mower blades set on high.

* Once the weather cools down a little, it’s not too late to add a splash of color. Plant petunias, snapdragons, zinnias and marigolds.

* After the heat wave, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, winter squash and sunflowers. Make sure the seeds stay hydrated.

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