Most of us feel an economical pinch this time of year – whether your child is begging for the newest electronic gadget for Christmas, or your truck needs new winter tires, or your pantry is stocked with more food than necessary for when someone happens to drop by during the holidays. In our own way, I think we all feel the pre-holiday pinch. I, myself, have experienced all of the above this year.
There are some people who are serious budget watchers. You know the type. Those who can walk into the grocery store to buy milk and walk out with only milk. I, however, am NOT one of those people. I come out with cereal (because it’s on sale), sugar (because I decided I need it), mandarin oranges (because they are right there in front of me), and the latest foodie magazine (because the cookie recipe on the cover looks sooooo good!). Then when I’m halfway home I realize that I forgot to get the milk that I went in for in the first place. Yep, that’s me!
In my way of thinking, I’m really the smart one. Twisted, but true. Otherwise, I never would have bought 12 pomegranates the other day because they were on sale. Otherwise, I never would have made so much pomegranate jelly. Otherwise, I never would have made enough jelly for wonderful home-made hostess gifts for all my friends this holiday season. See? Win win.
adapted from Simply Recipes
- 4 cups pomegranate juice (extracted from about 5 to 6 fresh pomegranates)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 package powdered pectin
- 5 cups granulated sugar
Directions to make the pomegranate juice:
Before starting – make sure you check out how to seed a pomegranate.
Once your pomegranate is seeded, process the seeds through a food processor or blender. Pulse several times so that the seeds are completely broken up. Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the seed mixture into the strainer. Use a rubber spatula to push down on the seeds and extract as much juice as possible. You will need to do this in stages, a little at a time.
Measure out 4 cups of fresh pomegranate juice. I left my juice in the fridge overnight and let the teeny tiny bits settle to the bottom. This step is completely optional, but I wanted my jelly to be as clear as possible. Once ready to make the jelly, I strained the juice further by running it through a cheese cloth. This last step caught any of the little bits that didn’t get caught in the mesh strainer the first time around.
Directions to make the pomegranate jelly:
In a large canning pot, sterilize eight 8 oz canning jars in boiling water for 10 minutes. Sterilize the lids in a separate smaller pot. Remove jars from the boiling water and set aside.
In a medium-sized pot, combine the pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and pectin. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Once you reach a full rolling boil, add the sugar and stir to combine. Bring the mixture back up to a boil and continue to boil, without stirring, for 2 full minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to sit for a minute or two before skimming off any foam.
Carefully pour liquid jelly into warm, sterilized canning jars. This amount of liquid should fill six to eight 8 oz jars. Fill to within 1/2″ from the top of the jar. Wipe any jelly off the rims and attach lids and outer rings. To finish the canning procedure, place the completed jelly jars in a pot of boiling water. Use a canning rack if you have one. The water should cover the top of the jars by at least one inch. Boil for 7 to 10 minutes and then carefully remove the jars from the water. Let the jars cool on a wire rack. Check the seals to make sure that the jars are sealed tight. The lids should be sucked down and you’ll hear a popping noise as the jelly cools. If any of the jars do not seal properly, store those jars in the refrigerator and use those first. Let jelly sit at room temperature overnight or put in the refrigerator for several hours to allow jelly to set.
Once set, you can remove the outer ring of the jars and lay a square of decorative fabric between the sealed lid and the outer ring. Attach a gift tag with some twine or ribbon for a thoughtful hostess or teacher gift.
I told you. I’m the smart one. I saved some money, made some gifts, and now that’s one or two fewer trips that I have to make to the store.