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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Crafts You Can Make from Your Backyard Garden

Author: Meera, May 12, 2014

Invariably, when fall and winter holidays roll around each year, I find myself wishing that I’d planned ahead and utilized more raw materials from the garden for gift-giving. If you have had a similar experience, here are some ideas for turning what you grow into heart-warming gifts.

 

 

Seeds from your picture postcard-perfect giant sunflowers can be gifted

Seeds from the heads of giant sunflowers make great gifts

 

 

At summer’s end, harvest the seeds of your favorite flowers like cosmos, sunflowers, nasturtiums, zinnias, and even vegetables. Dry and re-package into paper envelopes that you hand-stamp, emboss, or otherwise embellish for gift-giving. Be sure to include information about how to grow the plant.

 

 

 

Rose petals, Spanish lavender, and French perfume lavender can all be used to make a flower essence

Rose petals, Spanish lavender, and French perfume lavender can be used to make a flower essences or potpourri

 

 

Flowers and herbs, picked at their zenith, can be turned into potpourri, fragrant soaps, soothing lotions, and skin moisturizers.

 

 

If you keep bees in your backyard garden, consider using the extra wax for dipping candles. Of course, honey is highly prized for its healthful properties, so be sure to jar up plenty of honey for gift-giving occasions.

 

 

Vines, berries, and pine cones are easily transformed into wreaths and dry arrangements.

 

 

A bottle of vodka, gin, or other spirits can be transformed into a gourmet gift by the addition of sun-ripened berries, herbs, vegetables (such a cucumber), or fruits and then stored in a dark, cool place for at least six weeks.

 

 

Gourds make lovely bird feeders and bird houses.

 

 

California chili turns red when ripe

Dried chilies can be made into wreaths

 

 

Just imagine the delight a dried-pepper wreath, a garlic braid, or jars of dried beans and seeds might evoke.

 

 

Make sheets of homemade paper, incorporating  colorful rose petals, lavender, or pansies. Making paper is easy if you have a blender, some scraps of paper (junk mail works), and water.

 

 

Seed cakes, created from crunchy peanut butter, seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, make great gifts for bird lovers who can place them near feeders during the cold months when the bird must vigorously forage for food.

 

 

A Shropshire Lad adds color to the back yard

Re-potted cuttings of your garden favorites make lovely gifts for other gardeners in your family or circle of friends

 

 

 

Take cuttings in fall or early spring from your roses, dip the cuttings into root hormone, and plant the cuttings into a pot of soil that you keep damp until the roots have formed.  Or dig bulbs (bearded irises, for example) and place in a tin for gift-giving.

 

 

Preserve jars of pie-filling, do up crocks of pickles, or create mouth-watering chutneys and special relishes. Wrap the jar lids in gingham and ribbon. Use hot-water canning of fruit and citrus into jam, jelly, and marmalade. Place jars of these items into a  food basket, made festive with the addition of colorful tea towels or tissue paper and ribbon.

 

Use clean, dry corn husks for tamale-making, or craft them into corn husk dolls.

 

 

With a little forethought and advance planning, you’ll have plenty of backyard bounty to harvest and turn into gifts for almost any holiday or special occasion.

 

 

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