Pomegranates come into season now, just as summer fades and before the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah. Fresh pomegranate seeds are one of the traditional Rosh HaShanah simanim (symbolic foods) on the holiday table. Downtown juice stands everywhere in the Middle East offer glasses of sweet and sour, dark-red pomegranate juice. And to get pomegranate molasses for drizzling over our eggplant with tahini/labneh sauce or adding to our classic muhamarra recipe, you usually have to trek out to a store and buy it.
Now you can make this versatile Middle-Eastern flavoring at home, with 5 minutes’ active preparation and about an hour of letting it simmer down on the stove while you’re doing other things. There’s no comparison between the fresh flavor of your own pomegranate molasses and that of the commercial stuff, especially if your juice comes from local and organic fruit. And you can adjust the sweetness/tartness to your taste by adding or reducing the sugar and lemon juice. With all of three ingredients to work with, your own pomegranate molasses can only go right.
Homemade Pomegranate Molasses
4 cups pure 100% pomegranate juice (bottled or fresh)
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Pour pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
Heat up over medium until the sauce begins to simmer lightly. Stir to dissolve sugar. Allow the liquid to simmer very lightly for 60-80 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, till the liquid reduces by 75% to about 1 cup of molasses.
The liquid is ready when it has a light syrupy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Don’t let it thicken too much, or it will harden when it cools.
Remove from heat. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools. If you’re unsure about the consistency, measure the reduce liquid– it should be between 1 and 1 1/4 cups of syrup. If it’s a lot more liquid than that, continue reducing.
After the syrup cools completely, store it in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
More joyful pomegranate ideas and recipes:
- Fesenjan, Persian Chicken in Walnut Sauce
- Pomegranate-Nut Salad
- 4 Reasons To Eat Pomegranates on The Jewish New Year