Pomegranate molasses is one of those precious ingredients in Turkish cuisine. What makes it so special is that not everyone has it in their kitchen. This tangy molasses is used in several dishes from salads to stuffed vegetables. It definitely completes the dish it is added in. A spicy Ezme Salad, known as Acili Ezme, without pomegranate molasses is no way the same as the one which has a good amount of this unique ingredient. What makes a good Turkish Bulgur Salad Kisir is doubtlessly a good quality homemade tangy molasses made from pomegranates!
Fall is the right season to make pomegranate molasses when they are sour enough. It is mostly made in the South of Turkey; cities like Hatay, Mersin, Adana and Antep are famous for it. People make their own molasses in these places and there are companies here producing and selling pomegranate molasses to the rest of the country. I’m not sure if it is right to call it molasses since it doesn’t contain sugar and it is used in cooking for its tanginess. A special type of pomegranate which is extremely sour and called Cin Nari is grown in that region and it is used to make this tart syrup like sauce, but if you can’t find it in your area, sour pomegranates work fine too. I made it that way and it is as tasty as the genuine one.
Well, the good news is it’s not that hard to make it at home. It is a bit messy to work with pomegranates but I will tell you the easiest way of seeding this lovely fruit. You need just three simple items for this method: A sharp knife, a wooden spoon and a large bowl. Cut pomegranates in halves, grab one half, hold it over the large bowl, turn it upside down and hit on it with the wooden spoon like beating a drum. You will see that its seeds are easily falling into the bowl. You can see how well the pomegranate half is emptied in the picture above. It doesn’t have a single damage. Repeat the same for all pomegranates and squeeze the seeds with your hands. Don’t forget to wear gloves when doing it, otherwise your hands will get brownish. As a final step, sieve it to get a clean juice ready to boil. Check out this method of seeding pomegranate too and choose your favorite!
You can absolutely get its juice with a squeezer, but it takes the bitterness of its thin skin that way. Beating it with a wooden spoon might take more time, but it is worth if you want have a better result.
Pomegranate juice is reduced into a thickened syrup and you don’t need sugar or lemon juice to get the right consistency when making this molasses, the tartness of pomegranates will be enough. Just add in 1/4tsp salt so that the sour flavor stands out more. You should watch it when boiling, first it gets a lovely pinky color but it’s not thick enough. You can leave it that way if consistency doesn’t matter for you, it tastes great at that point. You should boil it more though if you want it to get as thick as honey. I love to drizzle it over salads like honey, so I boiled it longer. It gets darker as it boils but it has a perfect consistency.
You can test if it reaches the right consistency by dropping a little with spoon on a plate, if it doesn’t drop immediately, it’s done. It is very much like making jam. You can keep it in a jar for more than a year and you don’t need to keep it in refrigerator, it doesn’t go bad.
I used 4 kilos of pomegranates and I ended up with 300g molasses, which is as thick as honey. If you boil it less, you will have more. Don’t forget that it keeps thickening as it cools down.
- 4 kilos pomegranates
- ¼ tsp salt
- Wash pomegranates very well. Cut them in halves.
- Grab one of it, hold it upside down over a large bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon so that the seeds fall into the bowl.
- Repeat the same for all pomegranate halves.
- When all seeds are in the bowl, squeeze them with your hands.
- Strain it in a pot. Use the back of a spoon and extract as much juice as possible.
- Boil it over high heat removing the scum occasionally.
- Add in salt and bring it to medium low heat and boil for 1 hour 15 minutes until thickened.
- Let it cool and pour into a clean jar.