Perhaps you already know the Greek mythological story of how the goddess Persephone was tricked into staying in the underworld by the god Hades by being tempted with pomegranate. Honestly, I can’t blame her.
The only problem with pomegranates is all the seeds. They are kind of inconvenient. And then there’s that whole trying to get all the arils out in the first place. So it’s not unsurprising that pomegranate juice is quite a popular alternative. Add a little sugar (okay, maybe more than a little) and throw in a little citrus to brighten things up, and you get yourself quite the delightful elixir.
We happen to have our own pomegranate tree, as do my parents, and one thing we have learned is that they are prolific producers of the huge red orbs filled with all those tasty bits (much to my boys’ dismay since they are consigned to help with processing them!). While we enjoy quite a bit of them fresh both whole and as juice, there is only so much that we can consume before they go bad. So I’ve been on a journey to find ways to use them. Since sugar is such a convenient preservative, sweet treats are an obvious option.
Jelly is one of my typical go-to items, but making syrups is an even easier route. They also have more variety of uses. Obviously you have a topping for pancakes or waffles, or drizzling over yogurt or ice cream. But can I tempt you with a Tequila Sunrise or a Singapore Sling? Or perhaps something a little more mild like a Shirly Temple or Roy Rogers? Pomegranate syrup is a key ingredient in all those delightful beverages!
Okay, so I know what you’re thinking, and yes, you could just buy pomegranate syrup (usually sold as Grenadine). Ummm… have you looked at the ingredients lately? There’s no pomegranate at all in most of them. Instead you get high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, and artificial flavor. No thanks. Not when making my own is so easy to do.
Some quick notes before you begin:
If you start with premade pomegranate juice, be sure to look for pure juice. Additives may impact the quality and flavor of the end product. Concentrated juice should be fine if properly reconstituted first.
If you have fresh pomegranate fruits, I have two options for making juice in my recipe for pomegranate jelly. You just want to make sure that you have a juice free of pulp or seed residue for the best results.
Grenadine is a pomegranate syrup that may be flavored with oranges, lemons, or even blackcurrants. Technically, those can be left out but you will get a better flavor if you add some citrus to “brighten” the flavor.
The difference between having molasses or syrup is just in how much you cook down your mixture. The pomegranate molasses will be thicker and more concentrated which means you won’t need as large of a container to store it and you’ll use less in any recipe. You can also just add a little water to bring it back to the syrup consistency. Try using the pomegranate molasses instead of petimezi in the Greek cookie moustokouloura.
The recipe below can be increased as desired, just keep the same proportions. I don’t recommend doing any less, though. Too small of quantities are more likely to burn and won’t yield a useful amount.
Pomegranate Molasses & Syrup (Grenadine) Recipe
- 2 cups pomegranate juice (see my recipe for pomegranate jelly for making juice from fresh pomegranate)
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. lemon juice or 1 Tbsp. orange juice
Put all the ingredients in a sauce pot. Use a larger one than you think you’ll need as the mixture will likely bubble up and you don’t want it spilling over.
Place on the stove on high heat and bring to near boiling. Then turn the heat down to maintain a low boil that doesn’t bubble up too much. Stirring frequently will help prevent scorching on the bottom and will speed up the evaporation of water from the mixture. As the syrup cooks it will thicken and you will need to reduce the heat further to avoid burning it.
Cook the mixture down until it reaches the desired consistency. For syrup it should reduce to about 1 cup (but not more) in volume. When some is placed on a cool plate it will spread a little thin but still leave a narrow trail when you draw your finger through it.
For molasses it should be down to about 1/2 cup. When some is placed on a cool plate it won’t spread too thinly and you will leave a wide trail when you draw your finger through it. It is really important to reduce the heat as the liquid gets more concentrated because the sugars will burn more readily when there is less water present and you won’t be able to fix the burnt flavor.
Both the syrup and molasses should be shelf stable if reduced properly without needing to be heat processed or refrigerated. The syrup is more at risk of spoiling due to its higher water content and so you may prefer to refrigerate it to be on the safe side. It is not uncommon to eventually see sugar crystals forming, especially in the molasses. You can easily fix this by adding just a little water, about a tablespoon, and reheating until the crystals dissolve again.
Use your molasses or syrup in your favorite Grenadine based beverages, or in any manner that you would normally use other types of syrup or traditional molasses. The bright color and unique flavor will work perfectly in so many dishes. Enjoy!