Pomegranate Champagne Jelly

A few weeks ago, a very nice man from POM Wonderful contacted me and asked whether he could send me a free case of pomegranate juice. That made me laugh. Then it made me think. If you’d spent most of your life feeling that you were an irredeemable screw-up in the kitchen, then you discovered that not only did you love to make jam but that you were pretty good at it, that would be surprising enough. But to find yourself saying to a corporate outreach guy, “Yes, I would be delighted to have a free case of pomegranate juice . . . ” Well, you never do know what life is going to deliver to your doorstep, do you?

This is the first corporate offer I’ve accepted in conjunction with this blog. I said yes because I like the juice. It’s good juice: 100% pomegranate juice from 100% California grown pomegranates. It’s not diluted or sneaky sugary juice. Plus — Did you notice? — it’s pomegranate season!

Perhaps because of the holidays, I knew immediately that I wanted to make pomegranate champagne jelly. Right now I want to put champagne in everything. And somehow the very idea of this jelly put me in mind of twinkly lights and favorite holiday music that sometimes, secretly, still makes me a little teary.

I tried this recipe three different ways. The one I liked best uses an old-school method; it contains boxed pectin. But at least it’s Sure Jell Low-Sugar pectin, so the jelly won’t make your teeth hurt with an excess of sugar. I love the flavor — for me, it’s just the right mix of sweet and fruit. (The other two attempts were not so good. One had an overcooked flavor and the other wasn’t sweet enough.) The big (and pleasant) surprise was that the champagne in this version still tastes exactly like champagne.

The downside of this method is that, to me, the texture of jelly made with commercial pectin is a bit jell-o-esque, a lot like commercial jelly itself. I’d like it to be softer. The extra-firmness is not just a fault of Sure Jell. I’ve had the same experience with my usual favorite, Pomona’s Pectin. So I will happily snarf and share this jelly, but next year I may get brave and attempt the method described by Kate at Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking that uses finely sliced apples to get jellies to set. I need to do more research to get a sense of whether or not that will work, though, because pomegranates are on the the very low end of the pectin scale.

Finally, while it’s incredibly easy to make jelly using bottled juice, you can of course use real pomegranates, instead. If you have whole fruit, this brief post at eHow lists five different ways to juice a pomegranate.

Here we go, with many thanks to POM Wonderful for juicing me up!

Pomegranate Champagne Jelly

3 cups pomegranate juice
1 1/2 cups champagne
strained juice of 1 small lemon
3 cups sugar
1 package Sure Jell Low-Sugar pectin

1. Sterilize your jars.

2. Measure out the sugar. Place 1/4 cup of sugar in a separate bowl and thoroughly mix in the pectin powder, then set aside. (“Thoroughly” is the key. If you don’t mix it well, you’ll be chasing little lumps of pectin all around your pot. Also, make sure to keep both the sugar and pectin very dry. Moisture, too, will lead to lumps.)

3. Combine the pomegranate juice, champagne, and lemon juice in a large, nonreactive pot. Bring to a gentle boil over medium-low heat, then turn up the heat until the mixture reaches a hard boil. Add the sugar (that is, the portion without the pectin) and bring the mixture back to a hard rolling boil, stirring constantly.

4. Stir in the pectin sugar and bring the mixture back to a hard roiling boil for exactly one minute, continuing to stir slowly and gently. (The jelly will foam up at this point, but it will settle right down when it comes off the heat.)

5. Remove the jelly from the heat. If you notice any pectin lumps, very quickly pour the piping hot jelly through a fine mesh strainer. (Can you tell I had a few little lumps? I’m not sure why they were there, but I knew I didn’t want them in my jars.) Ladle or pour the jelly into your sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.

6. Process in a water-bath canner, using the correct time for your altitude: 5 minutes for 0-1,000 feet above sea level, plus 1 minute for every additional 1,000 feet.

Yields 6 half-pint jars.*

*Don’t double up! As you’ll see from the comments below, a very kind reader had some trouble when she attempted to increase the batch size of this jelly. This note is to remind you that if you want more jelly than a recipe yields, plan to make multiple small batches. As with most jelly recipes, doubling the batch size will mess with your set.

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45 comments to Pomegranate Champagne Jelly

  • meg

    Shae- That sounds fantastic! I considered making some form of pomegranate jelly since I wouldn't have to first make juice…but went for straight up booziness.
    Anyway- looks very festive!

  • Wendy

    This sounds soooooo good, Shae! And the color is *amazing*. I think I might have to give this one a go!

  • Julia

    Beautiful, festive and luxurious! I love it! What a gorgeous color, and I sort of like that jello-o-esque texture, I must admit.

    I'm pretty sure that grape varieties like concords and muscadines are high in pectin. But I do believe the rest of them are low. I've got to look that up again to back myself up; right now it's 5 a.m. and I'm a bit blurry!

  • KibitzKnitz

    Pssst… Champagne is in the ingredients list but not in the directions. I assume you add it with the lemon juice to the pom juice, but wanted to make sure it wasn't added later to keep the flavor. LOVE pomegranates and can't wait to make this!

  • Shae @ H2H

    Meg: I almost accidentally did the same as you, because the trick here is trying not to drink the pomegranate, champagne, and lemon juice mixture before you make the jelly. :-)

    Wendy: This one's definitely worth making. One of the best things: It's super fast! As I noted in my comment on Facebook, the entire process takes about an hour, including canning.

    Jules: Thank you and what would I do without you? I just linked to the pectin chart I used for the pomegranates. I hunted around a bit more and it seems that grapes are all over the pectin map. Looks like you're absolutely right about wild, Eastern Concords. I'm seeing that other varieties are medium or low, and that Western Concords, along with pomegranates, are very low. Blanket statement retracted!

    KibitzKnitz: Sometimes the lack of an editor or proofreader can really be a problem on a blog! Thank you for pointing this out. Yes, you combine the pom juice, champagne, and lemon juice in the beginning. The challenge, as I said to Meg, is not drinking it at that point. It would make a lovely cocktail, if the champagne were cold!

  • Jane

    Fabulous. I've done it with white wine….also good as a drink. Which to me means it will be a great jelly also.

  • Shae @ H2H

    Thanks, Jane! White wine sounds great, as does the idea of continuing to turn good drinks into jelly or jam. I did put two jars of this one in my "fair cabinet." It could be a contender. :-)

  • kaela

    Oh my, does this look gorgeous. Pom juice was a staple at my house, back before I went loco, er, I mean local. :)

    Maybe I'll have to bend my 'rules' just a tad and make this jelly. But I'm with you on the jello-esque-ness: maybe I'll test it out w/ apple pectin and see what gives.

  • Jane

    Shae,

    It does sound wonderful and heck you need to put it in the fair. I know I'm aleady thinking about it….only 2 next year, 3 way too many.

  • Denise | Chez Danisse

    It's such a pretty color and I like the idea of using champagne in the jelly. My dad has ripe pomegranates right now. They are beautiful. I toyed with juicing while I was visiting him and it's no small challenge. Thanks to POM for supplying you with your juice. I understand I have a package waiting… Can't wait to tear it open. I might have to wait until tomorrow. Grrr.

  • Anonymous

    just picked up a jar of your marmalade at beach house style…mmm! so glad to find this blog and recipes!

  • Deb

    Made this today using farmer's market poms. You rock!

    It is so dang tasty that I'm not sure it's going to make it as part of this year's holiday gifts – my original intention. :-D

    Ah, well, wouldn't be the first time that happened.

  • Shae @ H2H

    Kaela: I know I shouldn't encourage rule breaking, but I'm kinda delighted that you want to. I would love to know what happens if you attempt an apple pectin version.

    Jane: Two sounds more reasonable. What would that be . . . 20 preserves instead of 45? Or?

    Denise: Sometime I'll get curious enough to juice a pom. I see them growing in my neighborhood. You know how happy I am that you received and are enjoying your package!

    Anon: I love knowing you found me here through BHS. Thanks for saying so.

    Deb: There's nothing better than knowing someone made and loves a recipe that I published. Isn't it nice how you can really taste the champagne? I'm thinking of making more before Christmas, too.

  • Deb

    I love a glass of champagne but wasn't sure how it would translate to jelly. I needn't have worried. The champagne isn't overpowering at all. It's a perfect amount. Great taste!

    Now I'm thinking about other flavor combinations to add it to.

    Thanks again for the recipe and inspiration. :-D

  • Anonymous

    Hey is there a way to suspend pom seeds in the jelly- I love those
    little jewely seeds- wonder if it's possible to add one to the mix?
    Is this for a sweetened or unsweetened pom juice? I have some that's unsweetened and would like to use it today to make some jam,
    but I'm not sure of the sugar ratio- it's pretty sour without any sugar.
    Maybe a half cup?
    Thanks for any help! I have an idea for nectarine jam
    that I am toying with too!

  • Shae @ H2H

    Deb: If you come up with new flavor mixes that you like, you know I'd love to hear about it!

    Anon: You're an experimenter! Awesome. I have conducted some experiments with suspending things in jelly, with mixed results. (Check out this post to see what happened when I tried — unsuccessfully — to suspend flowers: http://www.hitchhikingtoheaven.com/2010/04/apple-mint-nasturtium-jelly.html.)

    The trouble is that things tend to float to the top, especially if you can the jelly when it's very hot, which you really should. (That's especially true with an added pectin recipe like this one, because the jelly starts to set right away and if you wait to for it to cool a little bit, it can get lumpy.) So you might just get a layer of pom seeds at the top of the jar. Let me know how it goes if you try!

    This recipe is for unsweetened pom juice. I find that the jelly is plenty sweet with the three cups of sugar called for in this recipe, but that's based on my own taste. If you want more sugar, you could certainly make it using regular (not low-sugar) pectin, following the directions in the box. Have fun!

  • Kate

    Ooh, I'd love to taste this one. Maybe you'll smuggle a jar in your checked bags in March?!

    Can't wait to have you around these parts for a visit.

  • Amanda

    Hi there! I was so excited to make this jelly for Christmas gifts..but now I'm getting worried. I think my jelly hasn't set. (It's been about 7 hours). Thing is I made 4 batches, and I did them in pint jars instead of half-pints. I water boiled them for a little over 10 minutes instead of the 5 written above. Do you think I could have over boiled the pectin by doing this? Any suggestions on how to fix my gifts?

  • Shae @ H2H

    Hi Amanda: Sometimes it takes many days for a jelly to set, but each time I've done this one, it has achieved a good set in 24-48 hours — so you have some time left to go. That said, you're right that doubling the processing time could break down the pectin.

    Also, I want to be sure you're saying that you made four separate batches — and not that you quadrupled the recipe. If you quadrupled the recipe, that would almost surely be the culprit. But if you cooked them all separately, I can only guess it's the processing time that did it.

    Unfortunately, I don't know how to save a jelly made with added pectin that fails to set. Jelly making is such a tender science. When I make a jelly for the first time, I usually consider the first batch a test and try to stick very closely to the recipe.

    If it doesn't set, I'm sorry. I know you weren't intending to make pomegranate champagne syrup. :-(

  • Amanda

    Thanks for responding! Well this was my first time making jelly. Unfortunately I didn't know that I shouldn't make a big batch, which I did. Definitely learned from my mistake for the next attempt at your lovely recipes. I will keep you posted if I find a solution to my gifts turned liquid.

  • Amanda

    Oops…I forgot to ask one question, in which I couldn't find out through my research on the internet. How long should I water boil my jelly if I am doing pints vs. half-pints? Thanks!

  • Shae @ H2H

    Amanda: I'm so sorry that you got your first jelly-making hard knock with this recipe. I don't know the exact science behind it, only that most jelly and jam recipes will suffer — sometimes to the point of failure — if you increase the batch size.

    What I'd recommend is that you read through the insert in the Sure Jell low-sugar pectin package. It describes a method for redeeming a jam or jelly that doesn't set. I've never tried it, but it may work. It also looks like they've got an 800 number: 1-800-43PECTIN. (That's kind of cute.)

    Oh, and the processing-time chart is in there, too. Five minutes is fine for pints, unless you're at high altitude. The time goes up as the altitude goes up. (The rule I usually use for jellies is 5 minutes for 1,000 feet or less of altitude, plus 1 minute for every additional 1,000 feet.)

    Feel free to email me if you want to commiserate some more: hitchhikingtoheaven (at) gmail (dot) com.

  • Hi there Shae! This recipe looks amazing!

    You may have addressed this already but I just glazed over the comments and didn’t see it: Can I add back some of the seeds to this recipe if I opt to juice the pomegranate’s myself? Also, if I use pomona’s instead of other types of pectin, does this alter the recipe?

    Thanks very much! I made your double myer marmalade, blackberry mojito and rhubarb pear jam’s for xmas presents and received great reviews from my fam and friends! Thanks again!

  • Shae

    Hi Courtney!

    I’m thrilled to know that you made all those recipes from the blog and that they were so well enjoyed. Thank you for telling me!

    I did answer your question about including pomegranate seeds, above, on December 8 in a reply to “Anon.” Short answer: I don’t think you’d be happy with the results because those seeds are gonna float.

    That said, your timing is amazing because just yesterday I got inspired to add pomegranate arils to a marmalade and I’m going to post that recipe tomorrow. So you might want to save a cup of seeds and check back. :-)

    About making the recipe with Pomona. I love Pomona, but when I tried it with this jelly I didn’t like the result. It seemed to set perfectly, but then when a jar got jostled (I’d had it in my bag to give to someone as a gift) the set really deteriorated. It just kind of came apart. When I used the Pomona, I included only 2 cups of sugar in the recipe. It may work better (it will certainly taste better) if you use 3 cups of sugar, but I haven’t done it so I can’t promise. Will you let me know what happens if you do?

  • Brooke - in Oregon

    Having a Jam weekend here at my house, this is one for the list and your double meyer is totally going into the mix :)

  • Rebecca

    i have this processing in the water bath right now :) Used the POM Blueberry Pomegranate juice instead. Going to make another batch later with reg. POM juice to compare ;) If I could find some Meyer Lemons here where I live (Near Toronto, ON Canada) I would be making up batches and batches of your yummy looking marms!

  • Shae

    Brooke and Rebecca: Thanks for letting me know you were including this jelly in your weekend plans. I hope it went well for both of you!

  • Heather

    Hi Shae. I’ve been dying to try this recipe for a while, but I’m wondering if there’s a specific type of champagne you used; brut/rose? Thanks in advance!

    • Shae

      Hi Heather: I’ve used many different kinds — Prosecco, Brut, Sweet Rosé — and I’ve liked them all. You can pick what you like best or use what you have on hand. Go for it!

  • I’m indulging…reading your past year’s jam & jelly articles for ideas of what I might like in our up-coming trade off.

    Tried my hand at jelly-making for the first time last autumn (though I haven’t written all my articles yet). LOVE making jellies! Wanted to let you and your readers know apples make a terrific pectin-rich jelly base…since all my preserves are made w/o commercial pectin.

    Be forewarned: it’s super easy to over cook apple jelly…turning your efforts into a tasty gelatinous rubber-cement-like mass. Happened to me with my first attempt: Lemony, Fuchsia Berry Apple Jelly. Happened again this spring when I made my Rose Geranium Apple Jelly (article not posted, yet) though it wasn’t as overdone. Fortunately, jellies can be rescued. Seized apple jellies dilute beautifully with pure apple juice (I used Trader Joe’s organic unfiltered apple juice). Reheated and reprocessed.

    BTW, discovered Gravensteins give the jelly a rosy hue while Granny Smith jelly is a muted gold, so factor that in to your fruit combining jelly-making goals. Have fun!

    • Shae

      That’s a great tip about how to save over-set apple jellies, Cynthe. Thank you! I also like the idea of rosy Gravensteins. I make both kinds of jellies — some with packaged pectin and some with an apple- or quince-base. (I love the quince!) Whether or not I use pectin kinda depends on the mood I’m in. :-)

    • Valerie

      Hi Cynthe,

      I too try to avoid using commercial pectin and have used Christine Ferber’s Green Apple Jelly (“pectin stock”) recipe to much success. However, I’m not sure how many ounces of apple jelly to use in a recipe that calls for commercial pectin. Do you have any tips?

      You mentioned that overdone apple jellies can be rescued using apple juice. How about overdone jams? I have a slow juicer, so I could make my own juice as needed.

      Thanks!

      • Valerie

        Update: 8oz of green apple jelly substituted for the pectin in this recipe was not enough to set the jelly. Next time, I’ll try to make it with 16oz.

  • Peg

    Hi Shae, Thanks for being the website that helped my FIRST Jam / Jelly making experience tonight. A couple yrs ago I went to a farmers market and a Jelly lady was selling a Cherry Champagne Jelly which I bought & loved. Well I kept having the bug to try it myself and did the google searches and was discouraged with results til I found your website. I used about 3 lbs fresh cherries, 1 1/2 C J. Roget Pink Champagne, 3 1/2 C. Sugar, 1 pkg pectin, 2 T lemon juice and followed your instructions & positivity and it tastes ssooooo good. It made 14- 4oz & 1- 12 oz jars. Now it’s wait and see if it sets up after it cools but I did a cold spoon test and it seemed to set up. I just loved everyones comments and appreciate your efforts. The creative juices are flowing on what to do for my 2nd batch:)

  • [...] recipe is from Shae at Hitchhiking to Heaven. Please take a peek at her fantastic blog for many other tremendously yummy jam and jelly recipes [...]

  • Melissa Chinchilla

    Do you have any recipe ideas for Lychee?

  • [...] juice went right into my freezer, but yesterday I put together my first batch of jelly. I used this Pomegranate Champagne Jelly recipe from the blog “Hitchhiking to Heaven” and it turned out soooooooo delicious! The [...]

  • [...] We started with Jam, then went to Roasted Marinated Peppers, then Fruit Butters, then Pickles, then Chutneys, then Tomatoes, then Apples, and finally a few odds and ends like Pomegranate Champagne Jelly. [...]

  • Pastrychic

    This looks amazing! Have some great Newton Pippins to experiment with and think this recipe would be perfect. Am currently taking Master Food Preserver classes and am curious about the method for adding the pectin after the majority of sugar has already been heated–this is opposite the package instructions for using low sugar pectin. Please share why the order is flipped…thanks!
    ps Sorry for commenting on an old post but just found your delicious blog!

  • Pastrychic

    Ooops. The Newton Pippins are destined for the Caramel Apple Jam. However, the bushel of pomegranates currently being taken to bits will be used to make this lovely jelly, pectin instructions notwithstanding : )

    • Shae

      Pastrychic, that’s such a good question about why I flipped the order of the package instructions. It’s unusual for me to do something like that and not document it. I want to say I had a good reason but the honest answer is that, after four years, I don’t remember. (It could be that I did it that way because it’s closer to how I use Pomona’s pectin, and it just worked out.) What I do know is that I made this recipe multiple times before and after I published it (though I haven’t for several years now) and lots of other people have done it — including a few MFPs :-) — and it’s worked fine. I hope it turns out well for you, too!

  • Linda

    Hi,

    I bought classic pectin instead of low or no sugar, would this recipe still work? thanks

    • Shae

      Sorry, Linda, this recipe is written specifically for low-sugar pectin. To use classic pectin, you’ll have to adjust quantities to meet the requirements described in your box insert. It will be much sweeter and therefore a different jelly altogether.

  • Linda

    Thanks, I thought so, but wanted to check.

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