It's that time of year again. The weather is cooling down and fall is in the air. And in the desert of Southern Nevada, the pomegranates are ripe. Some people find it somewhat easy to grow things in this desert--but I am not one of them. I am surrounded by miles of clay that I can't seem to grow a darn thing in. And my attempts at container gardening have been less than dismal.
When we moved into this house, the property was lined with pomegranate trees. Twenty-one, to be exact. These beauties grow with almost no help from me. The pomegranates at the front of our property line the irrigation ditch that flows with overflow irrigation water from the hay and alfalfa fields that dot the valley. The pomegranates up the side of the driveway capture the overflow water from our neighbors trees, which line the other side of our fence. I don't even have to water them!
Pomegranates sell at a premium in the grocery store, selling for as much as $2.50 each. Many years earlier I had been gifted quite a lot of pomegranates. After calling my grandma on proper jellying procedures (or, in this case, jam), I ended up with cases of gorgeous pink jam which my husband happily handed out at work. The past several years I have been too overwhelmed to pick all the pomegranates and then make them into juice, so I let friends and neighbors harvest my bounty.
Two years ago, my husband chopped down the most sickly looking trees. The next year they came back healthy and strong looking. No fruit, though. This year the trees were dripping with the most gorgeous pomegranates. I was still intimidated by the idea of harvesting all those rosy globes, juicing them, and then processing them into some type of nectar for the Gods.
But fate was on my side.
Several enterprising Boy Scouts stopped by and said they would pick my pomegranates for me, separating the good ones from the bad. I only had to contribute to their National Jamboree Fund. In less than a day, I had mounds of beautiful pomegranates just waiting to be juiced. I called some friends because I just knew there was no way I would be able to use all those pomegranates myself.
I was left with enough pomegranates to collect around three gallons of ruby red juice. Beautiful! Now I just needed to come up with some exciting recipes to start creating my nectars of the gods.
There are many, many recipes out there for basic pomegranate jelly. I have that recipe down, though, so I was looking for something more exotic. Something that would tempt Persephone to do more than just nibble.
Exotic recipes are few and far between. So I made up my own.
I came across several wine jelly recipes that sounded divine. I adapted several for my own use, using a lovely Pinot Grigio and adding some of that luscious ruby red juice. I ended up with an amazing jelly--with hints of both the white grapes and the red pomegranates.
- 2 1/2 cups wine (your choice)
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 (2 ounce) package dry pectin
- 4 1/2 cups white sugar
- Combine wine, pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and pectin in a large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- Skim foam off top, if necessary.
- Ladle hot jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Tighten 2 piece lids.
- Process for 5 minutes in boiling water bath.