Pomegranate jelly is an easy way to enjoy the fresh flavor of pomegranates all year long (without all those pesky seeds).
A while back I came across some really unique canning jars, with a squat shape and wide mouth. I thought they’d be great for my homemade jellies and picking up the box I saw a recipe for pomegranate jelly printed right on the back.
It wasn’t pomegranate season, canning jars aren’t really just casually sitting on store shelves in the winter months, but put the jars in my cart. They’ve been filled with 3 or 3 different homemade jellies in the meantime, including red currant jelly and blueberry jelly this summer.
Now that it’s pomegranate season, the box is long gone and I had to find my own recipe for pomegranate jelly.
Recipes for Pomegranate Jelly
Pomegranates are a low pectin fruit, and while I love making jams and jellies without store-bought pectin, it’s just not an option with pomegranate jelly.
For a standard “full sugar” recipe, Sure-Jell pectin works well and sets beautifully. (I’ll give you low sugar instructions as well below.)
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving has a recipe for Pomegranate jelly that starts with 3 1/2 cups of pomegranate juice (extracted by simmering the seeds of 5 pomegranates, then straining through a jelly bag. They stir in a single box of Sure-Jell pectin (1.75 oz), bring it to a boil, and then add in 5 1/2 cups sugar.
That’s quite a bit of sugar, especially since pomegranates are quite sweet already. I’ve found that Sure-Jell will still set nicely so long as you use at least a 1:1 ratio of sugar to juice.
I made dandelion jelly using 4 cups dandelion tea and 4 cups sugar, set with 1 box of Sure jell. There’s no natural pectin or sugar in dandelion tea, so I know that the sugar to pectin ratio is sufficient and I can squeak by with less sugar even on standard pectin. I’m going with 4 1/2 cups sugar here, just to be safe, but feel free to use as much as 5 1/2 cups.
To bring out the flavor, I also added 1/4 cup of lemon juice which helps cut the sweetness as well. The extra acid isn’t strictly necessary for the pomegranate jelly, but it also helps brighten the color.
How to Make Pomegranate Jelly
Making pomegranate jelly starts by extracting pomegranate juice from fresh pomegranates. (You can also use bottled pomegranate juice instead.)
Open the pomegranates and pull out the seeds, removing as much skin and white membrane as possible. The membranes can be bitter, and will impact the flavor of the finished pomegranate jelly.
Each pomegranate will yield roughly 1/2 cup of juice, so you’ll need 5-6 pomegranates for the 3 1/2 cups of juice in this recipe. Place the seeds in a saucepan with about 1/2 cup of water and bring to a low simmer.
Mash with a potato masher to encourage the fruit to release its juice, and then remove from the heat.
Pour the seeds through a jelly bag or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Collect the juice and measure it, you should have 3 1/2 cups. If you’re short, add another fruit juice (such as apple) or juice a few more pomegranates.
Put the strained pomegranate juice in a saucepan, along with lemon juice and pectin (but don’t add the sugar yet). Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute before adding sugar.
Add the sugar, stirring to ensure it all dissolves. Return the jelly to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
(Be sure to use a deep saucepan, the mixture will foam considerably as the jelly boils.)
After 1 minute at a hard boil, pour the jelly into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Low Sugar Pomegranate Jelly
If you’d like to lower the sugar, I’d suggest using either Sure Jelly Low Sugar or Pomona’s Pectin. Both of those low sugar pectins can be used with minimal sugar or no sugar. If using those, feel free to drop the sugar as low as you like.
If using Sure Jel Low sugar, follow the same instructions as a regular pomegranate jelly, just chop the sugar. Using just one cup of sugar makes a pleasantly tart jam, but you can choose any amount you like (even no sugar).
Pomona’s pectin has its own specific instructions, and I’d suggest following the directions on my recipe for strawberry jelly. Strawberries are also a low pectin fruit and rely on added pectin to set as a jelly. Here’s what I’d suggest…
With Pomona’s pectin, add 1 teaspoon of both pectin powder and calcium water for each cup of pomegranate juice. Along with about 1/4 cup of sugar, this “micro-batch” will yield a single 8oz jar. Adjust to your preference, and add anywhere between 1/4 and 1 full cup of sugar per cup of juice.
Canning Pomegranate Jelly
It’s perfectly fine to make this pomegranate jelly recipe as a refrigerator or freezer recipe. It’ll keep for a few weeks in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Pomegranates have a short season, and I hope to enjoy this tasty jelly year-round. For a shelf-stable jelly, process the jars in a water bath canner.
Prepare the jelly as directed above, and then ladle into prepared canning jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Seal with 2 part canning lids and then process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.
(If you’re new to canning, read this article on water bath canning basics before you start.)
Ways to Preserve Pomegranates
Need more ways to preserve a bumper crop of pomegranates?
Pomegranate jelly is a delicious way to preserve pomegranates and enjoy their flavor year round.
- 3 1/2 cups pomegranate juice (from 5-6 pomegranates)
- 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups sugar (see note)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 box (1.75 oz) Pectin (such as Sure-Jell)
- To extract the pomegranate juice, break apart the pomegranates, removing the peel and white membranes. Place the arils (fruit covered seeds) in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring it to a boil, mashing the fruit to encourage them to release their juices. Strain through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. (Alternately, use bottled pomegranate juice.)
- Pour the pomegranate juice into a deep saucepan. Add the pectin and lemon juice (but don't add the sugar yet). Bring the mixture to a boil for 1 minute.
- Add the sugar, stirring to combine. Return the mixture to a boil and boil hard for 1 minute (it will foam up, be sure to use a deep pot).
- After 1 minute at a hard boil, turn off the heat and ladle the jelly into prepared jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- Seal with 2 part lids.
To can pomegranate jelly, prepare a water bath canner before beginning. Process the jars for 10 minutes before removing them to cool on a towel on the counter. After 24 hours check seals. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use. Properly canned and sealed jars should maintain quality on the pantry shelf for 12-18 months.
(Canning is optional, it's perfectly fine to make this as a refrigerator or freezer jam without canning. It should last several weeks in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer. Allow the jars to cool completely on the counter, and then move to the refrigerator or freezer for storage.)
Standard pectin requires at least 50% sugar by volume to set. Most pomegranate jelly recipes suggest 5 1/2 cups sugar per 2 1/2 cups juice. I've used 4 1/2 cups and it still sets beautifully. If you'd like to lower the sugar further, use a low sugar pectin type.
If using the low sugar or "lite" type of Sure-Jell, follow the same instructions as a regular pomegranate jelly, just chop the sugar. Using just one cup of sugar makes a pleasantly tart jam, but you can choose any amount you like (even no sugar).
Pomona's pectin has its own specific instructions, and I'd suggest following the directions on my recipe for strawberry jelly. Strawberries are also a low pectin fruit and rely on added pectin to set as a jelly. Here's what I'd suggest...
With Pomona's pectin, add 1 teaspoon of both pectin powder and calcium water for each cup of pomegranate juice. Along with about 1/4 cup of sugar, this "micro-batch" will yield a single 8oz jar. Adjust to your preference, and add anywhere between 1/4 and 1 full cup of sugar per cup of juice.
Love silky smooth homemade jellies? I’ve got plenty of recipes for you…
Fall Canning Recipes
Looking for more easy canning recipes this autumn?
- Apple Jam
- Canning Apple Slices
- Pear Jam
- Canning Pears
- Canning Pumpkin
- Cranberry Sauce
- Canning Sweet Potatoes