Tuesday, May 24, 2011

In The Kitchen: Classic Grenadine

If you find yourself enjoying a Shirley Temple or Roy Rodgers and wonder what the special ingredient is that makes them what they are the quick answer is grenadine. But today's manufactured grenadine, usually associated with Rose's in particular, are made of mostly modern science and not the same goodness of yesteryear. The main villain in this tale is high fructose corn syrup, that go to bad guy in healthy living diets. Oh, and that shockingly red color? It's food coloring, not that it should bother you, right?

General consensus on "true" grenadine suggests it is made with pomegranates. You know this fruit. You probably like this fruit. What you probably don't like is having to eat this fruit. Let's face it, eating pomegranates is not typically something one relishes. The seeds are messy and the color stains the second it touches fabric. Luckily you just need the juice and don't necessarily have to deal with those damn seeds. The easiest way to acquire pomegranate juice is to go to the market and purchase something like POM Wonderful. If you have a natural foods market you can probably pick up some organic pomegranate juice for fairly cheap.

Now grenadine is pretty much a flavored simple syrup. Simple syrups are easy to make and involve using a liquid, getting it to boiling temperature, and throwing in a ton of sugar. Then you just wait and it boils down to a sludgy, sweet goodness. Naturally the other main ingredient in grenadine is sugar.

Alright, so you've got pomegranate juice and sugar. You could stop there if you want plain ol' grenadine, but we were inspired by something we heard on Martha Stewart's radio channel and chose to add cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of cayenne pepper.

There are a ton of home-made grenadine recipes. A search in Google will provide you pages enough to make your head explode. Some, like this one, call for actually acquiring pomegranates, but we did not want to deal with the mess. We decided to go more along the lines of this recipe in making our own.

  • 8 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 8 oz. sugar (we used Sugar In the Raw, a turbinado sugar)
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  1. Gather your ingredients. It's always a wise step to get all the ingredients measured and ready before you actually begin cooking. During this step you realize what you forgot to get from the market.
  2. Pour 8 oz. of pomegranate juice into a medium sauce pan.
  3. Bring the juice to a boil.
  4. Pour in the sugar.
  5. Reduce the heat to a high simmer and leave it this way for 20 to 30 minutes. You're looking to reduce the mixture back to 8 oz.
  6. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add the other ingredients and stir.
  7. Remove the finished product from the heat and add to a bottle or other container.
  8. Leave the container to chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or until cool and syrupy.
Enjoy your home-made grenadine with soda or on top of ice cream. Experiment by adding other spices or flavors.

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