Pomegranate Seeds–A Sweet Explosion on the Tongue

Author: Meera, September 12, 2016

Strolling through our small orchard today, I cut into a pomegranate to check on the seeds–the edible part of the fruit. To my surprise, they had turned ripe. Inside, the seeds were gorgeous red jewels, plump and juicy. The sweet juice in the seeds carries a powerful antioxidant punch, too; it’s loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fiber, potassium, protein, and folate.

 

 

pomegranate seeds  lg web

 

 

You might wonder about ways of cooking with pomegranate seeds. How about tossing them into citrus or a green salad, pairing them with goat cheese on a crostini, or sprinkling a few on poached pears dipped in chocolate, or incorporate them into a Mediterranean couscous with cashews or pistachios?

 

I think I’ll make some pomegranate jelly–it tastes great on toast, makes an excellent foil for goat cheese, and also creates a moist and delicious glaze for chicken.

 

The hardest part of making the jelly is separating the seeds from the white pith that holds the seeds in place inside the leathery peel.

 

The jelly recipe consists of few ingredients: pomegranate juice, sugar, water, and classic pectin. Here’s how I make the jelly.

 

 

 

POMEGRANATE JELLY RECIPE

 

Ingredients:

 

3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice (well strained to remove all the particles)

 

5 cups granulated sugar

 

6 tablespoons classic pectin

 

 

Directions:

 

Prepare boiling water canner and wash eight to ten half-pint jars in the dishwasher.

 

Place rings and lids in a pan of simmering hot water.

 

Cut one end of the pomegranate off to expose the membranes and seeds.

 

Section the pomegranate and scrape the seeds out into a medium to large bowl.

 

Repeat the process until you had several cups of seeds.

 

Rinse well and then run the seeds through a juice extractor.

 

Strain out the juice through a jelly bag or multiple layers of cheesecloth. Note: The juice stains, so take care to protect kitchen counters and clothing.

 

 

Ripe pomegranate

Ripe pomegranates have a leathery outer skin

 

 

 

Put the juice and pectin into a large pot and bring to a boil, carefully stirring to blend in the pectin.

 

Add sugar and stir until completely dissolved and boil for one minute at a roiling boil that cannot be stirred down. Ladle off foam, if necessary.

 

Ladle jam into clean, hot jars leaving one-quarter inch head space. Attach hot lids and then the rings. Tighten to finger tight.

 

Lower the filled and sealed jars into the canner. Process for 10 minutes at a roiling boil. Remove and let cool.

 

 

 

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If you enjoy reading about farmette topics (including gardening, beekeeping, and delicious recipes), check out my cozy mysteries A BEELINE TO MURDER and also THE MURDER OF A QUEEN BEE in the Henny Penny Farmette series (from Kensington Publishing).

 

 

 

These novels are available through online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo Books, and Walmart as well as from traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

The first novel in the Henny Penny Farmette series

See, http://tinyurl.com/hxy3s8q

Now available in mass market paperback, this debut novel launched the Henny Penny Farmette series of mysteries and sold out its first press run.

 

 

 

 

The second cozy  mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 29, 2016

See, http://tinyurl.com/h4kou4g

The second cozy mystery in the Henny Penny Farmette series, available Sept. 27, 2016, is now available on Net Galley (netgalley.com) for professionals and readers who write reviews. The book may be pre-ordered as well. Click on the link under the image.

 

 

 

 

 

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Making a No-Fail Wild Plum Jam

Author: Meera, June 21, 2016

An amazing wild plum tree sprouted up and grew tall at the back of our property with a full canopy of gorgeous burgundy leaves. This, without any attention or coddling from us. It’s now three-years-old and loaded with red plums.

 

 

I made a test batch of the wild plum jam to make sure it tasted great before canning a lot of jars

Making a test batch of a few jars is advised when you are not sure about a fruit jam

 

 

 

The fruit itself is quite juicy and sweet, but the skins are tart. I made a small test batch of five jars and then waited 24 hours to sample the jam. After I tasted the test jam and realized how exquisitely delicious it was, I vowed to can at least a couple dozen jars.

 

 

I got out cases of unopened jars and lids and ran the jars through a hot water wash cycle in my dishwasher. Then I rinsed the plums under water and pitted them before making the fruit into jam. My plan is to not only enjoy eating the jam throughout the summer and fall but to pack jars of it into food baskets for holiday giving this year.

 

 

 

This jam is perfect for spreading on a slice of toast or a croissant. The sweet-tart taste means it would nicely accompany chicken or pork. The taste is sweet but tangy. The texture is lighter and smoother than strawberry.

 

 

This sweet-tart jam makes the perfect accompaniment to croissants, toasts, muffins, and biscuits

The smallest dab of this fruity jam goes well with a little goat cheese on toasted sourdough

 

 

 

RECIPE: WILD PLUM JAM

 

Ingredients:

 

5 cups wild plums (washed and pitted)

3 cups sugar

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/3 cup water

5 Tablespoons Classic Pectin

 

Directions:

 

Place the pitted plums into a large cooking pot and add all ingredients except pectin.

 

Stir well to combine.

 

Cook on high and bring the plums to gelling point. Stir constantly for 15 minutes as mixture thickens.

 

Sprinkle in the pectin by spoonfuls and stir after each addition to mix well.

 

Ladle jam into hot jars. Leave about 1/4-inch at the top. Attach lids and screw rings and then process in boiling water for 20 minutes according to your canner instructions.

 

 

 

 

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Pomegranate seeds add sweetness and crunch to salads but can also be juiced or eaten fresh

Pomegranate seeds add sweetness and crunch to salads but can eaten fresh, or you can extract the juice to make a lovely sauce.

 

 

Use fresh pomegranate juice if you would like a delicious sauce to use in salad dressing or other culinary creations. Pomegranate sauce made into a warm salad dressing dresses up a plain spinach salad like nothing else.

 

 

The warm pomegranate dressing is made by combining to blend 1/2 cup pomegranate sauce (recipe below), 1 Tablespoon of honey, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger, 1 cup California extra-virgin olive oil, and 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts. Warm the dressing and pour over over a pound of freshly washed spinach leaves, 1/2 cup red onion, and 1 orange (peeled, seeded and with segments quartered).

 

 

Here’s how to make and preserve the pomegranate sauce.

 

 

INGREDIENTS:

 

 

5 cups of pomegranate juice (reamed from about 10 large fruits)

1/2 cup lemon juice

1 cup sugar

 

 

DIRECTIONS:

 

 

Wash thoroughly ten large pomegranates.

Cut in half and use a reamer to extract the juice from the seeds, discarding the membrane.

Strain the juice through cheesecloth several times to obtain 5 cups.

Combine the juice, lemon, and sugar in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer at 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reduce the sauce by half.

 

PROCESS:

 

 

Have ready 4 half-pint jam jars that have been washed on a hot cycle in the dishwasher and dried.

Fill the canner with water, place on heat, and bring to a simmer.

Simmer jar lids and rings.

Fill the jars with the pomegranate sauce, leaving 1/4 inch head space.

Affix hot lids to the jars and screw on the rings.

Lower the jars on the rack into the canner (water must cover the jars by at least an inch) and boil the water for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars of sauce and allow to cool.

Check seals, label, and then store until needed.

 

For more delicious recipes, farming tips, and beekeeping strategies as well as a cozy mystery, check out the first book in the Henny Penny Farmette series from Kensington Books in New York. Available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, and in other online and traditional bookstores everywhere.

 

 

 

The book cover for my debut novel, the first in the Henny Penny Farmette mystery series

 

 

 

 

 

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Easy Orange Marmalade

Author: Meera, December 8, 2013

 

Jars of orange marmalade make lovely holiday gifts

Jars of orange marmalade make lovely holiday gifts

 

 

Who can resist the flavors of homemade jams? Whether it embellishes an appetizer of grilled fig and melted goat cheese or is spread upon a fat slice of fresh-baked bread, jam has power to elevate any meal to another level.

 

Using the seedless oranges growing on our farmette trees, I’m making marmalade. Marmalade made with the oranges ripening this time of year make great additions to holiday gift baskets. I like to add jars of honey, fresh tangerines, nuts, summer jams, and homemade treats.

 

RECIPE FOR ORANGE MARMALADE

 

Ingredients:

 

4 large oranges (preferably a seedless variety)

 

2 medium lemons

 

1/2 teaspoon butter (to reduce foaming)

 

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

 

6 Tablespoons dry classic pectin

 

5 1/2 cups sugar

 

Directions for Preparing the Jars and Canner:

 

Wash pint jars in the dishwasher or wash the jars and screw rings in hot soapy water, rinse, and drain upside down on paper towels.

 

Remove the wire rack from the canner and set aside; then, fill the canner half full of water and bring to a simmer.

 

Directions for Making the Fruit Mixture:

 

Wash the oranges and lemons.

 

Peel the fruit, using a vegetable peeler or a sharp paring knife. Discard any seeds and the pithiest parts of the inner peeling as the pith tastes bitter.

 

Cut the peeled skins into narrow strips.

 

Pour water into a saucepan.

 

Add baking soda and strips of peel.

 

Bring to boil and then reduce the heat, simmering for 20 minutes and stirring as needed.

 

Cut the fruit into thin quarters.

 

Add the fruit and juice to the saucepan of simmering peelings, cover, and allow everything to simmer for 10 minutes.

 

Remove 4 cups of the fruit/peeling/juice mixture  and pour into a large saucepan (6 or 8 quart) or stock pot.

 

Stir in the pectin and add the butter and sugar, mixing well.

 

Bring to a roiling boil, stirring constantly, for a full minute and then remove from heat, skimming off any foam.

 

 

These jars are filled with hot fruit mixture, ready for lids and canning

These jars are filled with hot fruit mixture, ready for lids and canning

 

 

How to Can the Marmalade:

 

Ladle the fruit mixture into the warm, clean jars, leaving between 1/4 and 1/8 inch space from the top.

 

Wipe the jar rims before placing the jars on the wire rack of the canner.

 

Lower the wire rack of jars into the simmering water in the canner.

 

Make sure the jars are covered by 2 inches of water (add boiling water if necessary).

 

Cover with lid and boil for 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Turn off flame, remove the jars of marmalade, and set them onto a towel to cool.

 

Listen for the popping sound that signals the lids have sealed. Check lids for seal once the jars have cooled by pushing against the center of the lid. If it springs, the jar has not sealed and must be refrigerated. The marmalade will still be good to eat.

 

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