Pomegranate Molasses Recipe
I had given myself one year to find the perfect recipe for pomegranate molasses. I didn’t need the year. I barely needed the six weeks it took me to find it either. The recipe, so simple, was sitting right under my nose. I had started my search with my grandmother, who admitted that even though she was supposed to know how to make it, didn’t. I found myself in a pickle. If my grandmother, who was famous for her preserves, did not know the secret to making pomegranate molasses, no one would. Again, I was wrong. I found the recipe in her sister’s kitchen in Damascus. She had jars of dark purple molasses lining the shelves of her pantry.
The recipe according to her was something that I should have known all on my own. “It’s so simple!” she said. And it was.
All I had to do was boil the juice and reduce it to syrup. Don’t be fooled though, this recipe does require a great deal of manual labor. Has anyone ever peeled three kilograms worth of pomegranates? It took me three hours to pry out every last seed from its nook, and I was left with stained fingers.
Stained fingers aside, I made the molasses, and successfully I might add. I compared it to a bottle I had recently purchased from an Arabic specialty store that shall remain unnamed. The store bought molasses was dark brown in comparison to my freshly simmered concoction; it also lacked the tang that the homemade version had. With my molasses bottled, I was ready to put it to use: my salads (especially fattoush) now had the kick they needed, sautéed spinach, fried kibbeh and pureed eggplants now have a new companion that will make them taste… different.
Prep. Time 2 hours (plus peeling time)
Makes 2 cups
- 3kgs sour pomegranates (10 cups pomegranate seeds or 5 cups fresh unsweetened pomegranate juice)
- 1 lemon wedge (a quarter of a lemon)
- 1 – 3 tablespoons caster sugar (optional: depending on how sweet you want your pomegranate molasses to be)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Wooden spoon
- Small-medium cooking pot
- Sterilized bottle or jar
- Peel the pomegranates and make sure that the seeds have none of the bitter white skin attached to them.
- Place the seeds in the blender, and run the blender for about 1 minute or until the seeds have been pureed into juice. Make sure you do not over blend the seeds because the hard pips will become difficult to separate from the juice.
- Run the pomegranate juice through a sieve, stirring it with a spoon to ensure that all the juice drains through. Discard the pulp.
- Rinse and dry the sieve and run the juice through it again to ensure that no bitter pieces of the pips are left in it.
- Pour the juice into a pot and add the lemon wedge. Simmer on very low heat. If you would like to have a sweeter tasting molasses, add the sugar at this point making sure it completely dissolves. I personally prefer my molasses to be tangy and sour, so I do not add any sugar to it.
- Continue to simmer the juice (about one hour), stirring it with the wooden spoon to ensure that none of it caramelizes and sticks to the edges of the pot.
- Once the juice thickens has a more syrupy consistency, it will be ready. The juice should be reduced to about 2 cups.
- Turn off the heat, and pour the molasses through a sieve and into a heatproof container. Let cool for a few minutes.
- Pour the molasses into the sterilized bottle/ jar using a funnel. Leave the bottle/ jar uncovered until the molasses completely cools.
- Once cool, pour the olive oil into the bottle/ jar to seal the molasses and to ensure that no bacteria/ fungus buds on the surface. Seal with the designated cap and store in the fridge. The molasses should keep for about 3 weeks to 1 month.