Spoonful of Christmas


In The Kitchen With Maria Hines-000060-1

I have problems with pomegranates. I love them, the way they look, the way they taste. I just never exactly know what to do with them once I bring them home from the market. There are only so many pomtinis or pomeritas a girl can drink after all! Last year, I was quite pleased with the pomegranate-infused truffles that I made, but making my own chocolates isn’t something I’m likely to do on a regular basis. And, while the little seeds are fantastic sprinkled here and there in salads, there must be more to be done with the jewel-filled fruits sitting in my fruit basket.

Recently, I saw a recipe for a chicken cooked in pomegranate molasses and the little wheels in my hamster cage of a brain started turning. Pomegranate molasses sounded rich and dark, earthy and sweet, and the cravings started kicking in. I could just picture the thick rich syrup dripping onto creamy desserts or gamey meats.

A quick web search turned up Elise’s great recipe for the molasses which is made from the juice. I began with that, and then made a few little twists. First, I used the whole fruits instead of the juice, so that created a bit more messy work. It went quickly enough, and I was happy to have seeds to garnish with, but it’s also fine to skip straight to the juice in a bottle. If you do, make sure you add the sugar slowly so you don’t end up over sweetening your syrup.

Secondly, I decided to infuse the syrup with some sort of spice. A quick look in the pantry and I saw what I was looking for. Juniper berries, purchased on a whim, and rarely used. If I didn’t use them soon, I was going to have to throw them out, so into the juice they went.

The juniper infusion turns the molasses into something else entirely, bringing the scent and essence of evergreens to the sweet ruby liquid, almost as if someone had distilled a Christmas tree decked with fruity garland into syrup. Swirled into plain yogurt and topped with some fresh seeds (for texture), it’s like little spoonfuls of the holidays.


I haven’t tried the molasses as a glaze yet, but I think it would be idea for duck or slow-cooked venison or elk.

In The Kitchen With Maria Hines-000054

Juniper Infused Pomegranate Molasses
Makes about 1/4-1/2 cup molasses

2 pomegranates
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 -10 juniper berries

Start by seeding the pomegranate. I like to cut off the crown first, and then use my fingers to pull apart the fruit… this damages less of the seeds. Once it’s pulled into about 4 pieces, pick out as much of the white pith as you can, and place the seeds in a heavy bottomed pot, saving a few for garnish if you’d like.

Add the sugar and lemon juice, and heat on medium-high until the fruit starts to simmer. Then, reduce the heat to a low simmer. Use a spoon or a masher to squeeze the juice from the seeds. Taste the juice occasionally and adjust the sugar as needed. When you have the basic flavor you want, add the juniper berries. Simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Then remove from the heat, and strain out all the seed leftovers and juniper berries.

Return the liquid to the heat, and bring to a high simmer again. Then reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Continue to stir and cook until you get a nice, thick syrup. This might take as much as an hour to produce.

Transfer the syrup to a jar, and let it cool at room temperature. Then, refrigerate.

Use chilled on yogurt or ice cream, or in place of a glaze for savory game.

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0 thoughts on “Spoonful of Christmas

  1. I’m the same way – as much as I love pomegranates, I just do not know what to do with them sometimes (not to mention, I’m not to keen on the messiness involved with eating them!). You’ve certainly found an innovative, elegant way to serve/eat pomegranates, with this Juniper-Infused-Pomegranate- Molasses recipe – so spectacular-looking!!

  2. That does sound marvelous! While I love pomegranate flavor, I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to get the juice out of the seeds – I had a tree which would fall heavy with fruit every year but as I couldn’t figure out how to use it, I ended up having it pulled up and giving it to a friend 🙁 will have to see if I can get some fruit from her to give this a try!

  3. As a kid I used to sneak into my neighbors yard to nick pomegranate’s off their tree. I’d sit on the back stoop munchies and then spitting out the seeds. I love them to this day. I’m also amazed by your wonderful take on them! Brilliant.

  4. sprinkled over a wintery salad those little jewels of pomegranate seeds are amazing. the molasses you made should be perfect for a roast quail recipe i usually make with tamarind pulp… must try!

  5. Just what I need when I have two big, juicy looking pomegranates sitting in the fruit bowl (I, too, buy them and then don’t know what to do with them) and a jar of juniper berries (also bought on a whim and rarely used) and in-laws coming visiting for Christmas. This is perfect.

  6. I love pomegranate molasses! Try drizzling a couple teaspoons over baked salmon straight from the oven–it melts into a fabulous glaze. It’s awesome that you made your own.

  7. Lara ~ This is one of the best posts I have read. I say this in the most biased of manners because my love of juniper berries is just that…a love of. I think that your inspired turn to incorporate them into the molasses (also, something I ALWAYS have on hand) is genius. Really. I can imagine the combination so well, as a lover of both. I would consider making the pomegranate molasses on my own, pomegranates aren’t in season here in New Zealand, and when they are, they don’t flood the market as they do, say, when I lived in Southern California.

    This is a dream of a post. I love every image and every word.

  8. The addition of juniper berries is a great idea! It reminds me of mastic, which also has that piney scent.
    In the Middle East, where pom. molasses originates, it is only used for savory dishes. When you taste real pomegranate molasses (dibs rumman) it is extremely tart as it has no added sugar, and adds a welcome acidity to savory dishes. One of may favorites is an Iraqi pomegranate and lamb soup that we make.

  9. Your molassas creations sounds delicious and I will have to try it, especially with the juniper berries. I am a bit of a pomegranate professional (I even named my business after the wonderful fruit). I suggest going to a Persian grocery or a middle eastern grocery, and picking up some pomegranate molassas. It is just the reduced down juice (no sugar or fillers added). This ingredient is prevelant in the Persian cusine from sweets such as pomegranate jello to a very popular dish called fesenjun (walnut and pomegranate stew with duck, chicken or game hens). You might want to seek out a wonderful Persian cookbook called “New Food of Life” by Najmigh Batmanglij. Her approach to foods we are familiar with are inspiring. This fruit is truly perfect, sweet, sour, and worth the effort!

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