Recipe: Punchy pomegranate jam
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For Tunisian Jews, the symbolic fruit of Rosh Hashanah are pomegranate and quince. A pomegranate's many seeds represent the good points we would like Hashem to count when he inscribes our name in the Book of Life. We put them and other symbolic foods on a plate, like a Seder plate. Pomegranate jam symbolises a sweet new year. This is fairly labour intensive but the end result is so beautiful it is worth it.
● 4 pomegranates (total weight 1kg)
● 300g of granulated sugar
● Juice of 1 lemon
● 125ml of fresh orange juice
● Zest of one orange
● Juice three of the pomegranates, by cutting them in half, then holding the cut side over a sieve set on a bowl, squeeze with one hand and press the seeds with the fingers of the other hand. Then press the seeds onto the sieve to extract the rest of their juice. Do not use a juicer or the juice will be bitter.
● Take care when cutting, seeding or juicing pomegranates, as the juice sprays everywhere and stains. It is best done in your kitchen sink, away from white walls! You may want to wear disposable gloves.
● Deseed the fourth pomegranate by quartering it then turning the quarter inside out. Don't forget to remove the white membrane from the fruit.
● Combine pomegranate juice, orange juice, and sugar in a large heavy-based pot over moderate/medium heat stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat to low and continue cooking for approximately 60 to 90 minutes. The heat needs to be low, as the jam could turn brown if cooked at too high a heat. If a pink foam forms, do not skim until the end or you will end up with no jam.
● Place some saucers into the freezer.
● When the jam becomes like thick juice add the pomegranate seeds and lemon juice and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, still at low heat, and start to check the consistency. Take one of the cold saucers and drop a little jam on it. After a few seconds, run your finger through it. If the jam wrinkles on the surface, it is done. The jam thickens as it cools but it will have a loose, sticky set. Add the orange zest at the end.
● Fill your sterilised jars with the jam and store them in a cool place or in your fridge.