Homemade Wild Sour Pomegranate Extract

10

Saturday 08 November, 2014 by Uncle Spike

Regional palettes vary worldwide, with every corner of the earth claiming certain culinary favourites that locals simply take for granted.
One such delight from our part of the world is Nar Ekşisi or Sour Pomegranate Extract, a sort of juicy molasses derived from, guess what… pomegranates.

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The commercial stuff is available in specialist shops worldwide, or the ethnic foods section in some supermarkets, but the real thing is altogether different.

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Normally we buy this here in the village, but it’s quite expensive for us due to the volume of fruit used in its making, and the lengthy process involved. So this year, after a meagre attempt last season, we set to making our own; and this time, enough to last us a full year. This is what happened, in another step-by-step guide from Spike’s Kitchen…

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Step one

With the scars all over my arms and hands still to prove it, I wrestled with a large wild pomegranate tree to harvest some 18 kg (40 lbs) of fruit. The wild fruit is pretty bitter, ‘tart’, or sharp, but that works best. Last year we used cultivated fruit and the result was not authentic, far too sweet we found. By comparison, you can see how different the ‘cultivated’ poms are – I added one to each bucket in the following photograph so you can see.

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The wild fruit is smaller and a much lighter colour too, splitting open high up on the tree when ripe. By the way, these trees are full of thorns and grow to 5-6m (16-20′) tall. 

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Step two

Many hands make light work… or so the theory goes. As it happened, Granny Spike and her bestie, Granny Ann, were over here on jollies, but it still took the four of us the best part of a half day to de-seed that lot. They are nowhere as easy to manage as the cultivated ones either. 

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Step three

And by comparison, here are three of our cultivated poms, which as you can see are much larger, as well as sweeter. But they are also so much easier to work with.

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Step four

Mixed all together, the extracted pips are then washed, drained and then liquidised. There are more traditional local ways of doing all this, involving pulping the entire fruit with sticks in a big hollowed out tree trunk, but this is our slightly refined, modernised and effort-reduced method 🙂

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Step five

The ‘splodge’ that comes out of the liquidiser is then left to drain for a while, as load after load is put through the machine. Again we pay homage to Uncle Baldrick for bringing the hefty machinery over from the UK in his luggage a few years ago!

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Step six

However, that is never enough, and the most effective method I’ve found is to follow that with straining the soggy pulp through cloth. It’s messy, physical work, but works a treat, and is very efficient in terms of percentage juice extracted. 

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BUT, it’s also a hell of a great way to locate every single cut or graze inflicted on one’s hands and wrists by the trees – believe me !!!

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Step seven

After an hour or so flexing my less than ample muscles, we had pots and pots of the juice, all ready for the cooking stage to begin. And yes, that’s our Turkish Coffee pot being used again – rather handy little implement around our kitchen!

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By the way, the resulting ‘pips’ that were left over after straining off the juice (and we had a great bucket load) were not wasted either – the chooks loved them for supper and breakfast the next day 🙂

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Step eight

Into a flat baking tin we measured out 1 litre (33.8 fl oz) of the juice, adding 1/4 of a cup (50 grams, or 1.76 oz) of sugar, and then just stirred it around for a few seconds.

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Step nine

The tray was then carefully placed in a pre-heated fan oven at a temperature of 180C (350F) for 60-90 minutes The idea is that the brew does not boil, but reduces slowly to around one quarter (25%) of the original volume. In this example you should be left with around 250ml (8.5 fl oz). If you cannot judge that easily by sight, take it out and pour into a measuring jug. If it hasn’t reduced enough, shove it back in the oven for a bit longer. We tried thinking 40% volume by reduction was sufficient, but the extract just starts to go mouldy within 5 days – similar to jams made without sufficient sugar.

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Step ten

When it’s done, it should be a nice dark maroon colour. Then it’s just a matter of bottling it and using on your salads, or whatever you like – voilà, your very own homemade Wild Sour Pomegranate Extract  !

For your info, we ended up with 2.2 litres (4.65 US pints, 2.3 US quarts) from those 2 buckets of wild fruit and 5 extra cultivated ones (total: 20 kg, 44 lbs) of fruit.

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10 thoughts on “Homemade Wild Sour Pomegranate Extract

  1. LB says:

    Love that word “splodge” .
    Thanks for sharing all of your tips and tricks!

    Like

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    That Turkish coffee pot is getting lots of action. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ladybuggz says:

    I’ve always loved Pom’s, even as a kid my Father who traveled around the world with the Navy would bring home all sorts of delicacies from his travels, one being a Pomegranate! My love for exotic foods started that way!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Labour-intensive stuff but I’m sure worth the effort. There’s something so different about homegrown produce that no manufactured product can mimic — flavour, texture, and just that feeling of well-being that goes with eating something really nutritious.

    Like

  5. backtobodrum says:

    I was going to make some too but our fruit was so big and juicy this year we have drunk nearly all of them for breakfasts. Last year I didn’t reduce the syrup enough but found the resulting cordial great for tequila sunrises.

    Like

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