There has been a bottle of pomegranate juice in my cupboard for at least a year. CJ brought it over for cocktail-making either last New Year’s or Thanksgiving 2010. Yes, 2010. I remember packing it when we moved in March. It was something of a joke: each time we gathered at my house, I would put it out with the other beverages, but it was never opened. I would offer it back to her and she would say that I should just put it away until our next get-together, which I would do. This New Year’s Eve, CJ and I decided enough was enough, it was time to open and drink some before it expired– we each had one drink… and 3/4 of a bottle of pomegranate juice went into my fridge. At the end of the night, I jokingly asked if she wanted to take the rest home, and she didn’t, so I made some off-hand, 2 a.m. comment about turning the rest into jelly.
The next day I started thinking that might be a pretty decent idea. I began researching recipes on Punk Domestics and found all sorts of interesting jellies, syrups (grenadine) and sauces, but nothing that used bottled pomegranate juice, even though it is unsweetened 100% juice. So I did a general Google search and found that you can make jelly from bottled, unsweetened juice, but those recipes had two tons of sugar, and I don’t roll like that. And so it happened that I invented a new type of jam I am calling Super Purple!, because it is super-antioxidant, super-tasty, and very purple. I am thrilled with the results and kind of excited about how easy it was to make in January, the Dark Time of fresh berries and non-citrus fruits. I used some frozen blueberries we picked last August; you could absolutely use fresh ones but I know how sweet and good these particular berries are and would use them again (I still have about 8 lbs. in the freezer) for this recipe, which made 6 half-pints and canned like a dream. I don’t often use pectin, but because of the ratio of clear juice to whole fruit, I used a low-sugar pectin I had on hand. (If you use a different kind, like Pomona’s, consult the pectin box for cooking and sugar instructions.) So make some! CJ, there is a jar with your name on it in my cupboard– I will get it out for you next time we get together.
Super Purple! Pomegranate-Blueberry Jam
- 3 c. unsweetened 100% pomegranate juice*
- 2 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 T. lemon juice
- 1 T. lemon zest
- 2 T. pomegranate molasses (optional)
- 3 c. sugar, preferably organic
- 1 box low-sugar pectin, or equivalent
Prepare 6-7 half-pint jars for water bath processing.
In a large, non-reactive pan, mix pomegranate juice, blueberries, lemon juice and pomegranate molasses, if using. Add the cinnamon stick and stir mixture over medium-high heat. Consult your pectin box for sugar-adding instructions; for the low-sugar pectin I used, I took 1/4 c. sugar and mixed with the pectin in a small bowl and then added the pectin mixture to the simmering juice. Bring this to a rolling boil (when stirring will not stop the bubbling), then add the remaining 2 3/4 c. sugar all at once to the juice. Boil hard, maintaining a rolling boil and stirring constantly for one minute. At this point you can test whether it will set by placing a teaspoonful on a cold plate: if it has set, the jam will remain in place without any juice seeping out around the edges. Add lemon zest and remove cinnamon stick.
Ladle into hot, sterilized jars; wipe the rim of each jar carefully and then put on lids and screw tops. Process in a water bath for 10 mins. Remove and set aside for 24 hours. Enjoy!
*I used R.W. Knudsen Just Pomegranate juice in a glass jar. You could absolutely use fresh pomegranate juice if you have access to (and patience for preparing) enough fruit to make 3 c. of juice.