How to Make Homemade Pomegranate Jelly - Easily!Making and canning your own pomegranate jelly is also quite easy. Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This example shows you how to make pomegranate jelly, but you can also use it to make pomegranate jam (if you don't sieve or filter the pomegranate juice).
Pomegranate Jelly-making Directions
Makes 5 to 7 jars, 8 oz each
- Pomegranates - 8 or 9 large fully ripe pomegranates (or 5 cups prepared juice) That also about 5 lbs of fresh pomegranates. If you want to start with pomegranate juice (5 cups bottled, without sugar added or reconstituted from frozen, without sugar), you can skip to step 7. If you have a juicer, that makes life easier; again, you could use it and skip to step 7.
- Pectin - 1 package (box usually) or if you get it in bulk, 8 Tablespoons, see the directions below for specifics - (it's a natural product, made from apples and available at grocery stores (season - spring through late summer) and local "big box" stores. It usually goes for about $2.00 to $2.50 per box. You'll get best results with no-sugar needed pectin, whether you choose to add sugar or not! See here for more information about how to choose the type of pectin to use.
- Lemon juice - The Ball Blue Book recipe does not include lemon juice, but adding 1/4 cup per batch can help improve the set and reduce spoilage.
- Sugar - About 4.5 cups of dry, granulated (table) sugar. For the no-sugar recipe, click here
- Large spoons and ladles
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)- Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to put jars in the canner and
take the hot jars out (without scalding yourself!). The kit sold
below has everything you need, and at a pretty good price:
- At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
- Jelly strainer - see step 6 - or a colander and cheesecloth.
- 1 Canner (a huge pot to sanitize the jars after filling (about $30 to $35 at mall kitchen stores, sometimes at big box stores and grocery stores.). Note: we sell canners and supplies here, too - at excellent prices - and it helps support this web site!
- Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
- Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Foley Food Mill ($25) - not necessary; useful to mush up the fruit or if you want to remove seeds (for example, from blackberries) or make applesauce.
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)
Step 1 - Pick the pomegranates! (or buy them already picked)
It's hard to find places to pick your own pomegranates, so most people will use store-bought . You can use frozen or bottled Pomegranate juice and skip the steps about preparing the pomegranates and making the juice, sieving, etc.
Step 2 - How much fruit?
Pomegranate Jelly can ONLY be made in rather small batches - about 6 cups at a time - like the directions on the pectin say, DO NOT increase the recipes or the pomegranate jelly won't "set" (jell, thicken). As mentioned in the Ingredients section; you may use either 6 to 8 fresh pomegranates or 5 cups of pomegranate juice (either bottled or reconstituted from frozen concentrate) without added sugar. Using pomegranate juice is especially useful if you want to make some pomegranate jelly in December to give away at Christmas!
Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jelly), it’s better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jelly.
Step 3 - Measure out the sugar
Check the directions with the pectin; typically, with regular pectin, it is 7 cups of sugar to 5 cups of pomegranate juice and one box of pectin. I prefer to use the no-sugar-needed pectin and then reduce the sugar to 4.5 cups. That produces the best taste, set and color . I also usually add an additional 1/4 box of pectin because I like a firm set. Mix the dry pectin with about 1/4 cup of sugar and Keep this separate from the rest of the sugar. If you are not using sugar, you'll just have to stir more vigorously to prevent the pectin from clumping. Set both aside until step 8.
Step 4 -Wash the pomegranates!
I'm sure you can figure out how to wash the pomegranates in a large bowl under running plain cold water.
Step 5 - Cut in half and scoop out the insides of the pomegranates
One large pomegranate yields between one-fourth to one-half cup of juice. There are a variety of ways to extract the juice. All involve crushing or pressing the seeds. You cut the pomegranates in half and scoop out the innards to release the juice.
- Heating the innards in a saucepan over load to medium heat will help to free the juice. Once you get the pomegranate glop to almost boiling, you can then run it through a strainer, sieve, Foley Food Mill or colander.
- Juice can also be extracted by whirling seeds, 1 1/2
cups at a time, in a blender or food processor until liquefied,
then straining them. Strain the crushed pulp through a double thickness of cheesecloth or nylon netting to remove seeds.
- Another method of obtaining juice is to cut the fruit in half and use a juice press or juicer. Press, do not twist the fruit. The rind contains tannin, which gives the juice a bitter taste. Place the juicer in the sink to avoid splattering. Strain juice.
Step 6 - Heat the crushed pomegranates on the stove
We just want to bring the pomegranates almost to a boil to help release the juice and break down some of the fruit to help it pass through our jelly strainer. Put the crushed pomegranates in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning) for until it starts to boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Step 7 - Sieve the cooked pomegranates
You can either put the soft cooked pomegranates through a jelly strainer (about $9.00, see ordering at right) which results in the most clear jelly and is easiest to use, or pour them through cheesecloth in a colander; or use a food mill. Or if you don't mind chunky jelly, just let the juice stand for 20 minutes, and Decant (pour off) the clear liquid to use and leave the solids behind.
You may also want to run the crushed cooked pomegranates through a Foley food mill (about $20 - see this page) BEFORE the jelly strainer - it helps to extract more juice and jet out the large skins that will clog the strainer. It's not necessary, but helps you get the most out of the pomegranates.
If you need a stopping point and want to finish up the next day, this is a good place. Sometimes, jelly gets crystals, called tartrate crystals, forming in the jelly. They're not harmful and don't affect the taste, but some people don't like the appearance. I rarely even see them! But if you do, let juice stand in a cool place overnight, then strain through two thicknesses of damp cheesecloth to remove any crystals that have formed.
Step 8 - Add the pectin to the hot strained juice and bring to a full boil
Add the (optional) ¼ cup of lemon juice, stir the pectin into the pomegranate juice and put the mix in a big pot on the stove over medium to high heat (stir often enough to prevent burning). It should take about 5 to 10 minutes to get it to a full boil (the kind that cannot be stirred away).
Notes about pectin: I usually add about 25% - 30% more pectin (just open another pack and add a little) or else the jelly is runnier than I like. With a little practice, you'll find out exactly how much pectin to get the thickness you like.
Another tip: use the low sugar pectin. It cuts the amount of sugar you need from 7 cups per batch to 4 cups! And it tastes even better! On the other hand; I have never had success using no sugar at all; even with the No-sugar-needed pectin. It always turned out runny and bland. You might want to try using the low sugar recipe with a mixture of sugar and Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda); that could work.
jelly too runny? Pectin enables you to turn out
perfectly set jelly every time. Made from natural apples, there are also natural no-sugar pectins that allow you to reduce the sugar you add by half or even eliminate sugar.!
Get them all here at the best prices on the internet!
Step 9 - Get the lids heating
If you didn't do so already, put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 10 - Add the remaining sugar and bring to a boil
When the pomegranate-pectin mix has reached a full boil, add the rest of the sugar (about 6 cups of sugar per 5 cup batch of pomegranate juice; 4 cups of sugar if you are using the low or no-sugar pectin) and then bring it back to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
Step 11 - Testing for "jell" (thickness)
I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jelly is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1/4 to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute.
Step 12 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on
Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jelly off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. Then put them into the boiling water canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
Step 13 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 5 minutes, which is what SureJell (the makers of the pectin) recommend. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them. The directions inside every box of pectin will tell you exactly - and see the Table below for altitude differences. The directions on the pectin tend to be pretty conservative. Note: Some people don't even boil the jars; they just ladle it hot into hot jars, put the lids and rings on and invert them, but putting the jars in the boiling water bath REALLY helps to reduce spoilage! To me, it makes little sense to put all the working into making the jelly and then not to process the jars to be sure they don't spoil!
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Pomegranate Jelly in a boiling water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 14 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!
Lift the jars out of the water with your jar lifter tongs and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Pomegranate Jam - makes 6, possibly 7 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2008||Source||Subtotal|
|Pomegranates||9 whole or 5 cups of juice||$6.00 for 1 quart bottle of juice||Pick your own||$7.50|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||6 jars||$7.50/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$3.75|
|Sweetener - see step 4||4.5 cups||$2.00||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.00|
|Pectin (no-sugar, low sugar or regular, dry)||1 and a third boxes *||$1.60 per box||
or about $2.55 per jar
|* pectin use varies - blackberry
jam needs very little, raspberry a little more, strawberry the most.
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings- some authorities do not recommend these, saying they are more prone to break, and while I have found that is true of mayonnaise jars, I have found the Classico spaghetti jars to be pretty sturdy.
Feedback and Comments
- A visitor writes on October 07, 2013: "I have recently gotten access to pomegranates & wanted to thank you for this web site. I have been an avid canner for years but never knew the secret to testing the jelly before canning it. This will save me an incredible amount of time & energy. Your instructions were clear and very easy to understand. I will use it as a wonderful tool for all my canning needs. Thank you again. Kelly"
- Comments from a visitor on November 09, 2012: "Just wanted to say that I have canned jams for years and finally have access to pomegranates. So I look at the internet and came upon your site for pomegranate jelly. Your directions are spot on and so helpful to me in preparation to making my jelly. I just wanted to say thank you b/c I feel this is becoming a lost art and your information would help someone who would want to try this and had no one to show them what to do. PS.....do you know that all these years I have grabbed those stupid lids out of the small pot with tongs!!! I never thought of a magnet and haven't had to buy equipment in years so I never noticed the magnet idea. LOL!!! Anyway. Thanks from this country at heart but citified California girl."