canning | cranberry | fruit | orange | pomegranate | preserved foods | recipe | sauce | seasonal | thanksgiving | traditional with a twist

Chinese Apple-sauce.

November 15, 2011

Is it still appropriate (or P.C.) to call pomegranates Chinese Apples? Probably not. I’m not very “P.C.” anyway. I was politically incorrect before Bill Maher (well not really, actually, since he’s older than I, but you catch my drift). At any rate, it’s a pretty cute name for pomegranate sauce, which is what this is. Specifically a pomegranate sauce with cranberries & orange zest.

I haven’t canned anything in months, but I happened upon a few really interesting recipes that were fall/winter-y & so I knew I had to get back in the game. And seeing how my mother is a pomegranate fiend, this was one of the first on the list. She really loves pomegranate, seriously; she drinks P♥M Wonderful like it’s going out of business, has pomegranate apple cider in the fridge, pomegranate-mango body wash in the shower, pomegranate tea in the pantry, pomegranate candies in her purse, etc. I’m not kidding. She’s seriously into it. I am not, but Thanksgiving is coming & I figured pomegranate sauce would work well with a Thanksgiving menu. It’s a super quick, extremely easy recipe that could be adapted in any way you like. I added about 6-7 ounces fresh cranberries & about 1 ½-2 teaspoons orange zest to make it really special, but using just the juice works too. Speaking of using the juice- using bottle pomegranate juice will indeed work in this recipe, as long as it’s unsweetened 100% pomegranate juice, with no additives, i.e. P♥M Wonderful. I know this because that’s what I used. But if you want to use fresh pomegranates, here are a few tips to juicing them:

Roll room temperature pomegranates on a counter-top. Holding the pomegranates over a fine sieve set over a bowl, use a sharp knife to cut out the crown. Squeeze juice & seeds into sieve using hands. Open the fruit and, using a small spoon, scrape remaining seeds into sieve. Use the back of a large spoon to press out any remaining juice from seeds. Wear gloves to prevent staining.

And there you have it.

Be sure to skim the foam & bubbles off before putting the lids & bands on.

CHINESE APPLE-SAUCE (A.K.A. POMEGRANATE SAUCE) WITH CRANBERRIES & ORANGE ZEST

Makes about 4 8-oz. (half-pint) jars

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups pomegranate juice (about 10 pomegranates)
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Certo liquid pectin
  • 6 – 7 ounces fresh cranberries (or frozen cranberries, but they’ve gotta be completely defrosted)
  • 1-2 teaspoons orange zest (depending on taste)

Directions:

  1. Sterilize your jars & put the lids in a small bowl filled with hot (not boiling) water.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a large saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Stir in pectin, return to a rolling boil, allowing to boil for 5 minutes. Reduce heat & simmer until reduced in volume & slightly thickened. Check for set using whatever method you like (I wanted a quite loose jelly texture, not thin or watery yet not quite as thick as fully-set jelly, cook longer for a firmer set). If not set to your satisfaction, repeat boil; continue at a rolling boil for 5-10 minutes, then try for set again.
  3. Pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving ¼” headspace. Adjust band until fingertip tight, then process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude). Remove jars & do not disturb for 24 hours, then check lid for seal by pressing. If the center pops or moves, put jar in the fridge & use immediately. If the lid doesn’t move, the seal is good & you can store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months.

Like I mentioned above, if you prefer, you can use just the pomegranate juice & omit the cranberries/orange zest, thats fine too. I made it this way with my fingers crossed, the idea (hopefully) being its (supposedly) great with poultry; i.e. turkey, chicken, duck, Cornish hens, pheasant, goose, blah blah & etc. Basically whatever fowl you prefer. I made mine a few weeks ago, with the intention it wouldn’t be cracked open until Thanksgiving (hence the crossed fingers). That did not happen. As you can see below, it was eaten alongside a roast chicken & a carrot/potato/onion side dish with much gusto. And it was quite a success! Highly enjoyed. So of course I felt much better about its turkey companionship potential. And with all the leftovers everyone will have, you could make it now, use it for turkey day & then have a fantastic turkey sandwich with pomegranate-cranberry-orange sauce the next day, instead of the traditional boring old regular cranberry. This site also says the sauce (albeit another version of a pomegranate sauce) is great on salmon, so I’m guessing it’d be great with other fish too. My sauce turned out quite loose, and thickened over the course of a week or two to a thin jelly-like consistency, which was fine for my purposes. If you prefer a much thicker sauce, for example more “jam-like”, you can add more pectin or let the cranberries cook down further. I found this way to be perfect, however.

That’s it right thurr, people…

……

And if you use fancy little jars, like these, or label them & decorate them in a cute or unique way, an extra jar makes a great hostess gift. Previously, whenever I used these little jars, I got a lot of questions via e-mail or Facebook about where I got them & if I was positive they were Ball® jars. Well yes they are, and I got them over the summer at Walmart for about $3.97 a 4-pack, but you can order them online too, directly from Ball® (for about a buck more). They’re a little pricier than the regular old jars, & you get less than you would the regular 8-oz. ones for the price. But they’re unique & look really nice, so for gift-giving they’re worth it. I’m partial to wide-mouth jars anyway, for some strange reason, especially for pickles, but these are so cute I can’t help myself but buy them, even if they are more costly & come in a smaller quantity. Sometimes you just have to splurge, you know? Besides, jars come in handy for all kinds of things, not just canning. I’d much prefer to store leftover sauces or marinades or what have you in a glass jar than plastic bowl. Just sayin.’ Not to mention larger jars can be used for lots of other things, too…

I’d also like to say that I’ve been asked many times why I bother canning (or baking, etc). Why make your own when you can buy a box of Entenmann’s cupcakes? Why jar your own pickles when buying a jar is so much easier? And to those people (who I’ve addressed before), I’d like to say, or rather I’d like to direct them to this wonderful post that answers the “why’s” beautifully.

Are you all ready for the big eating day? Got your menu all planned & alcohol purchased (and hidden for when the family becomes too much for you to handle)? This little chick below definitely has it all under control. Just throw corn at ’em, that’ll do it. And in the meantime… don’t forget to enter to win The Cookiepedia! You’ve got until midnight EST on the 18th do get to it…

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