I recently discovered pomegranate molasses and there’s been no looking back since. It’s a condiment that is really just a concentrated form of pomegranate juice, and it’s been used in Persian and Arabic cuisines for centuries. It has no relationship to molasses as we know it except that it has a similar consistency. Actually, its like no other food or condiment I can think of. The flavor is intensely sweet tart, and it can be used in everything from meat glazes to salad dressings to desserts.
It’s truly a wonder condiment because it intensifies the flavor of so many foods without adding fat or salt. It works really well with the slightly bitter flavor of cabbages and greens. I’ve drizzled it on Seared Red Cabbage Wedges, Brussels sprouts, and spinach, and I’m just getting started.
Pomegranate molasses can be a little hard to find, and so I was excited when I saw a recipe for a homemade version over at A Feast for the Eyes. I was thrilled at how simple the process is—a little sugar, a touch of fresh lemon juice, and a quart of pomegranate juice (now available in all supermarkets since it’s become known as a ‘power food’) gets slowly reduced down on the stove into a thick syrup. That’s it. I like to put it in a bottle with a pour spout so I can control the drizzle factor. But you can bottle or jar it any way you like.
It’s interesting because for me, fresh pomegranates are gorgeous, but don’t have that much flavor. In fact, biting down on the seeds can be a disappointing experience, the inner pith is bitter, and they only contain a tantalizingly miniscule burst of juice. But in this reduced syrup form, you can really taste the unique flavor of the fruit. You’ll love this, and you won’t be able to stop drizzling it on anything and everything.
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 qt pomegranate juice (I used Pom)
- Put the sugar, lemon juice and pomegranate juice in a heavy pot, I used a large enameled cast iron stew pot. Set the heat to medium and stir until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat down to somewhere between medium and medium low and continue heating the mixture until it has reduced to a thick syrup. This will take anywhere from 70 to 120 minutes, depending on the size of your pot and the level of heat. The liquid should be just simmering if you want to make the quickest work of it.
- When the liquid is thick and syrupy, and has reduced to one cup, take it off the heat. Let it cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then transfer to a bottle or jar. Cool it completely before putting on a lid and then refrigerate.
- If you’re unsure about whether the molasses has reduced enough, pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup to check. I reduced mine to one cup and it is quite thick. Debby marked the starting level on a wooden spoon, and then used that to check her progress, which I thought was a great idea. You can also use a long toothpick or wooden skewer. It’s very much like jam making; the liquid will visibly change its appearance when it’s close to being done. it becomes very thick and glossy, and viscous bubbles will cover the entire surface.