November 14, 2012

Homemade Pomegranate Syrup...or Grenadine...I Don't Judge

It's fall in SoCal once again & you know what that means:
Sundresses, sunshine, & sandals!
Wait, whaaaa??
I'm still not used to this year-round warm weather but am I really going to complain about wearing shorts in November?
Not likely.

There are however some things that do scream fall despite this crazy 80 degree weather...
Things like pumpkins on my front porch, pulling out my "nighttime" sweater
(because I somehow can't stand the 65 degree nights without long sleeves. Pssh, I'm so LA...),
& these here pomegranates that are growing in my front yard.
Aren't they beautiful?!

As lovely as these pomegranates are...I still have quite the problem:
What in the world do I do with all this fruit!?
I can't very well have a pomegranate-fest with just me & the old man that blows his trash on my yard when he thinks I'm not looking.
Yeah. That's right.
I see you, grandpa...

After racking my brain for like, 2 days, eating like, 10 pomegranates, & a whole mess of googling,
all roads pointed to pomegranate syrup!
What the heck do you do with pomegranate syrup, you ask?? (yeah, I know you asked)

Well, I'm going to make me some delicious vinaigrettes & sauces...
BUT most importantly, I am going to use this syrup to make some DRINK!
Because, you see, pomegranate syrup is the same thing as grenadine...
and in case you didn't know, grenadine is GOOD.

Grenadine is what bartenders used to use to add that pinkish "sunrise" color to tequila sunrises.
However, that's not what they use today.
While traditionally the syrup was made with real 100% pomegranate juice,
"The Man" started making a cheap simple syrup and just adding "pomegranate-colored" red dye to it to save a couple of $$.

MMM...artificial colors...
As if drinking tequila isn't bad enough for me, let's add a bunch of chemicals I can't pronounce.
Um...NO THANKS.
So let me teach you how to make your own so can feel a little less guilty about that cocktail...or vinaigrette...whatevs, I don't judge...

Damn the man!
Make your own!

First of all, if you don't have pomegranates, you can just buy pomegranate juice but that's no fun so go au natural & pick or buy some poms!
 I cut my pom's in half first with a sharp knife to get them open.
Once open, I put them in a bowl of cold water and start separating the seeds from the membrane.
The water prevents the seeds from bursting and squirting all over the place and all over your cabinets, floor, and face, etc, etc.

The cool part about the "underwater" trick is that any leftover white membrane that gets in your seeds will float to the top and you can easily skim it off with a strainer.  Once you get the seeds all by their lonesome, put them in a ziplock with most of the air removed and start squashing the heck out of them using a rolling pin or some other equally heavy, potentially dangerous object.

Pour the resulting juice through a strainer & add sugar & lemon juice. Simmer until it gets to about half of it's original volume and BAM!
There you have your syrup!

Now the important question: Where did I put that tequila???




Pomegranate Syrup (Grenadine)
recipe adapted from Alton Brown
(Makes about 1.5 cups syrup)
Ingredients:

6 medium size pomegranates that will give you about 4 cups juice

1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice


Directions:
1.  Cut pomegranates in half.  Remove seeds by gently pushing them loose from the outer membrane with your fingers while submerged in a cold bowl of water.  This will not only protect from splatter, but also allow the the seeds to sink to the bottom and the extra pieces of white membrane to float to top for easy separation.
2.  After removing seeds from water, place in a ziplock bag and seal TIGHTLY!
3.  Using a rolling pin, begin to roll over the seeds until they are all burst.  Empty out juice into a container, seal ziplock again & repeat if all seeds are not burst.
4.  Discard "juiced" seeds and repeat until all pomegranates have been "juiced".
5.  Run the collected juice through a strainer, discarding any pulp.
7.  Place pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. 
8.  Bring mixture to a low boil over medium heat just until all the sugar has dissolved.
9.  Turn heat down to medium-low and continue to simmer for about 1-2 hours or until it reduces to about 1 1/2 cups.  The juice should now look resemble a thin maple syrup consistency at this point. Don't worry if it looks too thin, it will thicken as it cools. 
10. Place cooled syrup in a clean jar and cover tightly and place in refrigerator for up to 6 months.






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