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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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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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