14 January 2013

winter jewels

the weekend was devoted yeast breads and pomegranates. saturday i made a crusty dutch-oven loaf and a bunch of mini pizzas for dinner, then sunday i woke up and started seeding pomegranates.

didn't stop until the afternoon. faced with the rare event of pomegranate surplus, i decided to make juice, then pomegranate molasses from the juice. i know of at least one recipe that calls for it-- a lovely roasted red pepper walnut dip i attempted to mimic from monica pope's restaurant in houston. it's one of those pricey, seldom-used ingredients that i knew would be fun to make from scratch.

here are a few things i learned:

1. the best tool for juicing the pomegranate seeds in my kitchen is the food mill, with the finest mesh disc. someone on the internet suggested an old fashioned, press-style citrus juicer, which i have, so i tried it. it didn't work. and i really wanted it to work, because i did not want to separate out all those seeds from all those pomegranates. but that is what i, in fact, ended up doing. i'll be dreaming pomegranate seeds.  then we tried the victorio strainer.

works great for applesauce. not so great on pomegranates. i think i might need a grape spiral insert or something, cuz the seeds ended up jamming the mechanism. then we tried the food mill. bam! worked like a charm. since a little of the pulp does get through, i strained it again through some cheese cloth. of course, if you have a juicer, that might be the best option. i don't.

2. it takes about 6 pomegranates to make 1 quart of juice.

3. once your child lays eyes on a bowl full of those sparkling red jewels, freed from their restrictive membranes, pomegranates will become his absolute favorite fruit, and he will want nothing else in the world but pomegranate seeds. thus, you will most likely need more that 6 pomegranates if you plan on making a quart of juice in the presence of a child. 

4. it takes about 3 hours to cook one quart of juice down to 1 cup of pomegranate molasses. not the measly 70 minutes Alton Brown suggests. but it's worth it. this tangy ruby red reduction is to-die-for. color me very pleased.  color my kitchen bright red and sticky.


Teresa Robeson said...

I love that you made pomegranate molasses! You definitely have secured a place in my list of "very cool friends". ;)

We got a food mill this past fall because we finally got a good crop of persimmons (well, actually it was our neighbors' crop, but there was a ton on their tree so they had plenty to share) and the Victorio didn't work well on it.

I wish we could grow pomegranates here...

the_nerve_bible said...

i notice!

this is a mouth-watering post that makes me wish i live down the block from you, just past the laundrymat.

the_nerve_bible said...

^ "lived," of course, not "live."

cake said...

Teresa, persimmons are the reason we got a food mill, too! but we also love it for soups, and any puree that you want to make sure is absolutely smooth and even.

my friend the_nerve_bible (below) once had a pomegranate tree growing next to his driveway in houston, with one small pomegranate hanging from it's spindly branches. I was thinking of him, and that little fruit fondly while i was processing all those pomegranates.

kali13 said...