In this series, we spotlight the boundless potential of a single ingredient.
By Loria Stern
Chef: Loria Stern
Job Description: Chef, baker, and owner of LORIA (a nature-inspired baking company)
Cooking Aesthetic in 3 Words: Bright, botanical, beautiful.
Favorite Savory Ingredient: Salt
Favorite Sweet Ingredient: Honey
Food philosophy: Taste as you go and buy local.
Beauty Mantra: You are a reflection of what you eat. Hydration is key.
I have several pomegranate trees and I have fallen in love with the winter-blooming fruit. The bright orange petals that fall off the pomegranate bud when the fruit gets pollinated led to me discover my Instagram famous flower pressed shortbread cookies. One evening when I baked a batch of cookies and the pomegranate petals maintained their bright color after the bake (whereas other flowers like lavender turned grey), it sparked my interest in baking with botanicals and led me down my flower-lined culinary path of botanical cookery.
I chose to make pomegranate molasses because homemade is so much more delicious than anything you can buy in the store. Furthermore, the bright color and flavor of the pomegranate molasses uplift a variety of dishes—from vegetables to meat, fish, dips, or desserts. Pomegranate molasses is made from reducing fresh pomegranate juice, which intensifies the fruit’s natural flavors.
4 to 8 ripe pomegranates depending on size (should yield about 4 cups of juice, of which you can also substitute with bottled pomegranate juice. Although, squeezed from fresh fruit has much more dynamic flavor)
1/4 to 1/2 cup honey (depending on preference of sweetness)
Gather your fresh pomegranates and cut in half. Fill a tall bowl with lukewarm water and remove the arils from the fruit underwater (this prevents pomegranate juice from splattering everywhere). Strain the arils from the water and pour into a blender or a tall cylindrical vessel and blend completely using an immersion blender. Pour the juice through a fine-mesh sieve. Use a spatula to press down on the purée so that you squeeze out as much juice as possible. Pour the juice into a heavy saucepan with the honey and simmer over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes. When the juice comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid becomes viscous. It is done once the liquid coats the back of a spoon. This takes about 15-20 minutes. Pour into a clean glass jar, let cool, and store in your fridge for up to 1 month.