As a young child, my mother often put a pomegranate in my sock that hung at the end of my bed on Christmas Eve. And today, I still associate this autumn colored fruit with Christmas and my dear mother.
Thought to have originated somewhere between Egypt and the Himalayas, the pomegranate is now widely cultivated throughout Southern Europe, Middle East, tropical Africa, Arizona and the Indian Subcontinent, Latin America, central Asia and Caucasus. Also, in Afghanistan, Kandahar is famous for its high quality pomegranate.
The pomegranate got its name from the Medieval Latin pomum ‘apple’ and granatum ‘seeded’. And if you cut the fruit in half, you will indeed see that it is made up of 200 to 1400 seeds, embedded in a spongy, white, astringent membrane.
There are all sorts of remedies found in this ‘Christmas fruit’ including, treating hemorrhoids, gum bleeds and a tonic for the heart and throat. But for me, I prefer to make a jelly from juice and the recipe is as follows:-
3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice, fresh, frozen and thawed, or bottled
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 package (2 ounces) powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups sugar
6 half-pint canning jars.
Combine pomegranate juice, lemon juice, and pectin in a 4 or 5 quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar until well blended. Return to a boil and continue boiling, uncovered, stirring occasionally for 2 minutes. Remove jelly from heat. Let stand a minute to allow foam to form then carefully skim it off. Pour hot jelly quickly into hot jars, filling to within about 1/4 inch of tops.
Cool jars in a dark place.