If you or a neighbor is lucky enough to have a pomegranate tree, this is a wonderful way to use the juice. Purchased pomegranate juice can be used as well. It contains less pectin than fresh pomegranate juice, so it must be reduced further. You will need to make a batch of apple pectin for this recipe (instructions follow).
- 8 lb. underripe apples, such as Granny Smith or Pink Lady, stems removed
- 4 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice, fresh or purchased
- 4 cups sugar
To make the apple pectin, cut the apples lengthwise into slices about 1/2 inch thick, retaining the seeds and cores. Place the apple slices in a pot and add 4 quarts water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 15 minutes.
Suspend a jelly bag over a deep nonreactive bowl and pour the apple mixture into the bag. Let the bag stand overnight. Do not squeeze the bag or the pectin will be cloudy. The pectin should be slightly thick and slimy to the touch. Transfer the pectin to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months. You will need 4 cups pectin for this recipe.
Have ready 5 hot, sterilized half-pint jars and their lids. Place 2 or 3 small plates in the freezer.
In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the pomegranate juice to a boil. Add the apple pectin and return to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring frequently, until the liquid is reduced by one-third (to about 5 cups) if using fresh pomegranate juice, and by half (to about 4 cups) if using purchased pomegranate juice. Stir in the sugar, bring to a boil and cook, stirring frequently, until the jelly is thick enough to sheet off the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. To test if the jelly is ready, put 1 tsp. of the jelly on a chilled plate and place in the freezer for 2 minutes. The jelly is ready if it wrinkles when nudged gently with a finger. If it doesn’t, continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, remove from the heat and test again on a clean chilled plate.
Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.
Process the jars in a boiling-water bath for 10 minutes. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. Makes 5 half-pint jars.
Adapted from The Art of Preserving, by Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne & Rick Field (Weldon Owen, 2010).