* When choosing pomegranates, reject any with a brownish area on the blossom end; such discoloration indicates the beginning of spoilage and off-flavor.
Cut pomegranates open crosswise and pry out the fleshy crimson seeds (the red part is actually the pulpy envelope around a seed), using the tip of a blunt knife. Be careful not to include any fragments of the cottony white pulp in which the seeds are embedded, as it is bitter. You should have about two cups of seeds.
Using a food processor or blender, chop the seeds with the sugar and water just long enough to make a rough puree. Don't attempt to make a smooth mixture; it's necessary only to break open the pulpy membranes.
Pour the puree into an earthenware or glass bowl; cover it with a cloth. Let stand at room temperature for 3 days, stirring it daily. If the weather is extremely hot, refrigerate the puree after 24 hours.
Line a sieve with dampened, very fine nylon net or two layers of dampened fine cheesecloth and set it over a saucepan of stainless-steel or other nonreactive material. Filter the pomegranate syrup into the pot, allowing it to drip without pressing on the pulp. This will take a few hours; you can speed matters up by tying the cheesecloth lining of the sieve into a bag and suspending it above the pot after the initial flow of juice has slowed down. When all the juice has dripped through, discard the seedy pulp.
Bring the syrup to a bare simmer (180 F) over medium-low heat, then reduce the heat to very low and scald the syrup, using a candy/jelly thermometer and watching to be sure you keep the temperature below 200 F, for 3 minutes.
Skim off any foam, then funnel the syrup into a sterilized, dry bottle. Let the syrup cool, then cap or cork the bottle (use a new cork only) and store it in the refrigerator.
To seal the syrup for pantry storage, funnel it into hot, clean half-pint canning jars. Seal with new two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions. Following the method for a boiling-water bath, but keeping the water at simmering temperature (190 F), process the jars for 15 minutes. Cool, label, and store.
Makes About 2 cups. Keeps in either the refrigerator or, after canning, in the pantry for at least a year.
The author writes: "Delicate in flavor and ruby-red in color, pomegranate syrup is a supporting player rather than a star. As such, it is much used as a flavor-smoother and sweetener in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks; and it's also a pleasant topping for tart pineapple, peach or nectarine ice cream or sherbet...You might like to taste the real thing: a lot of the 'grenadine' offered nowadays is compounded of sweetening plus anonymous 'fruit' flavors rather than pomegranate juice."
From "Fancy Pantry" by Helen Witty. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc., 1986. Pp. 280-281. ISBN 0-89480-037-X. Posted by Cathy Harned. From: Cathy Harned