Versace’s Summer Show inspires Pomegranate Molasses

Hardly anything fills me more with wonder than witnessing our pomegranate trees change out of winter’s monastic habit into summer’s flamboyant Versace. The metamorphosis is fast and its dramatic.

I'm not the only one who feasts on the emergence of new pomegranate buds.
I’m not the only one who feasts on the emergence of new pomegranate buds.
Birthing a pomegranate flower.
Birthing a pomegranate flower.
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The preternatural patterns in a pomegranate’s genesis.
The pomegranate flower.
The pomegranate flower.

Watching the growing numbers of pomegranate flowers forming on our trees reassured me that it was okay to use up our three remaining bags of frozen arils we put away earlier in the year. To my mind, pomegranate arils are precious! Maybe it’s because I lived abroad for so long, where pomegranates cost a bomb. Maybe it’s because I’ve become so frugal. I don’t know, but it was a rash move for me today when I decided to turn all three bags into pomegranate molasses.

I started making pomegranate molasses earlier this year, inspired by Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his masterful sensibility surrounding flavors. It’s similar to a balsamic glaze only much more intense and sharp. It’s used in a similar way, too: in a salad dressing, as a marinade or glaze, in slow food, or as a syrup on other fresh fruit or ice cream. I imagine a drop of it would also be tasty in a glass of champagne, or in a cocktail.

The best thing is that you don’t have to be Ottolenghi to make this. It’s a cinch. How sweet you want the molasses, or for how long you are prepared to stand at the stove stirring, will determine whether you want to add sugar or lemon juice to it. I do, because it’s too hot in this climate to be standing over a steaming pot stirring for hours. Sugar and lemon juice help the setting process. On its own I imagine the molasses would be very, very intense. As it is, the way I make it using both sugar and lemon, it’s pretty damned potent!

Remember, you only need to use a little molasses in whatever you are preparing, so it should last in the fridge for quite some time.

Pomegranate Molasses

Yield: One-and-a-half 300ml jars.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups pomegranate juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice


Method:

1. Bring all the ingredients to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, stirring regularly to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Turn down the heat and simmer the juice mixture until it has reduced to a syrup consistency–it should lightly coat your stirring spoon, about 1 hour (the timing is dependent on quantities).

Simmering pomegranate juice.
Simmering pomegranate juice.

3. Remove from the heat, cool slightly, and then transfer into glass jars.

4. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Pomegranate Molasses.
Pomegranate Molasses.

Annabel Hughes is an award-winning chef and blogger, and the creator of “bush gourmet” cuisine.

8 Comments

  • Such beautiful photos Annabel … and makes my mouth water! xxx

    Reply
    • Thank you, Dee! The pomegranate trees are covered in flowers now, so I hope I’ll have a chance to make much more come the new year. xo

      Reply
  • Very Versace! Your recipe makes me long for my tree…

    Reply
    • Thank you, Jacquie. Can you not plant a tree where you are? I wish you were closer because we’ve germinated loads of seeds taken from old or imperfect fruit … and I’d happily pass one on to you!

      Reply
  • Beautiful pics Annabel. We have a pomegranate tree in our garden…your photos have inspired me to take a closer look. We’re a little behind your seasons here in the Cape so the flowers haven’t opened yet. I’ll be watching out for them. We’re lucky enough to have a pomegranate farm just on the other side of the mountain pass and they do the juicing. I’ll be able to make the molasses with that!

    Reply
    • Oh, wow, Hellie! A whole farm of pomegranates nearby … lucky, lucky you. It is amazing how much fruit one tree can produce. Last year we ate fresh arils nearly every day during the season, and we still froze another 45 pounds!

      Reply
  • Quite a parade – love the link with Versace!

    Reply
    • Thank you! Haute couture … and nothing less!

      Reply

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