Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pomegranate Molasses

Pomegranate molasses is one of those ingredients which can be used in almost any application. It can add a burst of flavour when rubbed over a leg of lamb, it's delicious drizzled over fresh summer strawberries, and can provide a deep, almost mysterious flavour in a stew. In Turkey and parts of the middle east, there are many different varieties of pomegranate molasses, some of which are more sweet and used as cordials, and others with more of a savoury flavour for tagines and salads. One of my favourite ways to enjoy pomegranate molasses is to make it from fresh pomegranates, it has a much more complex fruity flavour, and a gorgeously bright ruby colour.

Making pomegranate molasses is dead simple once you've managed to get the juice out of the fruit, it doesn't really require much more than an ability to boil water, so all you have to do is master the art of seeing a pomegranate. The easiest way to juice a pomegranate is to cut it into quarters and tap the outside of the fruit with a wooden spoon, letting the seeds rain down into your waiting bowl. Make sure to remove all of the white bitter membrane before you push the seeds through a potato ricer into a non reactive saucepan. One pomegranate will make about 1 tablespoon of molasses. Taste the juice for acidity and sweetness, and add lemon juice and/or sugar if necessary. At this point you can add any number of ingredients to make an infused pomegranate syrup. lemon zest, a cardamon pod, saffron threads or even dried rose petals. Cook the mixture over medium high and reduce until the bubbles start to get smaller as the mixture thickens. Pour the mixture into a glass jar or a ramekin, and let it cool completely before covering and storing it in the fridge.

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