Yesterday, I shared my favorite methods for seeding and juicing pomegranates. Today it’s all about pomegranate molasses, one of my favorite condiments! I hesitate to even call this a recipe, because it’s so simple… all you need are three ingredients and 60-80 minutes to make this gorgeous and flavorful sauce. Once you’ve whipped up a batch of pomegranate molasses, the possibilities are endless!
Pomegranate molasses (also known as pomegranate syrup) is made throughout the Middle East in countries like Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. Traditionally the molasses is made by simply reducing pomegranate juice into a thickened syrup, relying on natural fruit sugars to thicken the sauce. In some areas, sugar is added as a preservative and to counteract the natural tartness of the pomegranate fruit; sugar also helps the syrup to reduce and thicken more quickly. Lemon juice is often added as an acidic preservative to increase shelf life. The amount of sugar varies by region; for example, Iranian (Persian) pomegranate syrup tends to be sweeter than the Lebanese variety.
I add both sugar and lemon to my pomegranate molasses. This is because it is a concentrated, powerful syrup that I only use sparingly, so when I do make it I count on having a bottle in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 weeks. Adding the sugar and lemon juice keeps the molasses fresh longer and gives it a nice sweet/tart balance. I like my molasses on the sweeter side.
For a tarter pomegranate molasses with a shorter shelf life, you can simply reduce pomegranate juice on its own with no added ingredients. It will take longer to reduce, and you’ll need to watch it carefully to make sure it doesn’t start to burn. There’s a thin line between thickened and burned… and if you thicken it too much, you’ll end up with a solid piece of syrup when it cools. Which is not cool. Know what I mean?
You can use pomegranate molasses in a variety of ways. I like to use it as a topping for desserts like ice cream, as a meat marinade, in sauces, and in salad dressings. You can get creative with it, the flavor is really rich and unique. Bonus– it’s vegan, gluten free, dairy free and pareve!
Later this month I’ll be sharing a Rosh Hashanah recipe with pomegranate molasses. Stay tuned!
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- Pour pomegranate juice, sugar, and lemon juice into a small saucepan.
- Heat up over medium until the sauce begins to simmer lightly. Stir to dissolve sugar. Allow the liquid to simmer very lightly for 60-80 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, till the liquid reduces by 75% to about 1 cup of molasses.
- The liquid is ready when it has a light syrupy consistency and coats the back of a spoon. Don't let it thicken too much, or it will harden when it cools.
- Remove from heat. The syrup will continue to thicken as it cools. If you're unsure about the consistency, measure the reduce liquid-- it should be between 1 and 1 1/4 cups of syrup. If it's a lot more liquid than that, continue reducing.
- After the syrup cools completely, store it in an airtight jar or container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.