There were several years where I was getting blessed with a gazillion pomegranates. These were a fruit I didn’t grow myself, but they were a fruit that I thought I needed to have. I’d put it out there to the universe that I wanted pomegranates, and suddenly I’d have people letting me harvest everything off of there 5 trees. As one to never say no to free food, especially when I’ve seen the price of poms at the store, I was always happy to oblige.
After hauling home bags and baskets, I would patiently pick out the seeds and run through my giant heavy war-era Acme juicer. I would freeze the juice in half-pint jars, where they would then go live in the abyss of the chest freezers. The last time I did this was 2014. And I still have pomegranate juice. I’ve slowly been pulling out a jar here or there for a cocktail, but I still have quite a bit. But one can only drink so many pomegranate cocktails (particularly when it’s cold and all I really want is tea). So instead, to use up this juice, I turn to making pomegranate molasses.
Pomegranate molasses is staple condiment in my kitchen. I make a batch once a year or so, then I use it to add all kinds of deliciousness to my meals. The taste of pomegranate molasses is a bit hard to explain: basically, its reduced pomegranate juice, so you get the same flavor, only more concentrated. It is tangy and sweet and you have to taste its amazingness to really understand.
It’s also way easier to move than 12 glass jars of frozen juice. I currently have 2 chest deep freezers that live in my garage, and no garage at my new house, only the freezer that’s below the fridge in the kitchen. So in efforts to have less frozen shit to move to my new house, I’m working on eating and using up the contents of freezers. And while I can’t (or don’t want to) consume that much pomegranate juice at this point in time, it does reduce nicely into something I need. But you don’t need to be moving to make your own! It’s super simple.
How to Make Pomegranate Molasses
In a heavy pot, combine 6 cups pomegranate juice with 3/4 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Cook at a low simmer, stirring regularly, until thickened to a consistency of syrup.
This took around an hour for me. I know it’s ready when my spoon can leave a slight trace when I pull it through the pot. You can also check by pouring the contents into a measuring cup. You want to reduce it to about 2 cups. Pour into a clean glass jar, let cool, and store in the fridge.
It’s easy to scale up or down the recipe, but I use between 1- 2 cups of it a year. According to the interwebs, its good for 6 months, but I’ve used mine that was over a year old and it was perfectly fine. But, as I’m eating things out of my freezer that is over 3 years old, I obviously have little regard for best-use dates! As it gets older, the sugars crystalize a bit and thicken, but that is easily remedied by heating the jar in a pan of warm water and stirring (like how you would warm honey).
How to Use Pomegranate Molasses:
It naturally pairs well with Middle Eastern cuisine and can be easily swapped out for balsamic vinegar. Here are some of the ways I use it in my kitchen:
- Toss or drizzle over roasted veggies, with or without browned butter. I like it with carrots or winter squash.
- Mix with olive oil and lemon to make a vinaigrette.
- Brush on meat as a glaze. It works with beef, chicken, duck, and particularly lamb.
- Add to sauces or relishes for meat or veggies.
- Drizzle over grains and greens. Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem has a great Wheat Berry & Swiss Chard with Pomegranate Molasses recipe.
- Drizzle over vanilla ice cream.
- Add to fish sauce or soy for sweet-and-sour stir fries.
- Use instead of grenadine for cocktails.