Wednesday, December 19, 2012

diy pomegranate tea

I have fond memories of eating pomegranates as a kid. I would stuff handfuls in my mouth and savor each seed as it popped with juice. As I got older my mom would give me a mug full of Korean Pomegranate tea on cold winter nights. When I say "tea" I mean that in a very loose way because there are no tea leaves. It's basically preserved pomegranate syrup added to hot water. Pomegranate juice as we all know is a good source of antioxidants and in Asian cultures it is said to be very good for women in particular. Usually what the means is that it's good for women's reproductive organs or it makes you pretty haha.

This would be a great thing to have in the fridge during the cold winter months and it would also be a great gift to give.  And it just so happens that I'll be giving one batch to my boss for Christmas. If this sounds good but too much work you can also find commercially made jars of this stuff in Korean markets.  ;P

Korean Pomegranate Tea
- a sterlized and completely dried airtight vessel, I used a Slom jar from Ikea with a rubber gasket (sold separately)
- pomegranate seeds (one whole pomegranate seemed to be enough for one Slom jar)
- white sugar
- honey (optional)
- vodka (optional)

**warning: pomegranate juice will stain your clothes so be careful!
1. Sterilize your container with hot water and dry completely. Wash your rubber gasket too.
2. With clean hands open up the pomegranate and carefully release the seeds with your fingers into a clean bowl. Don't use any seeds that are brown and squishy.
3. Cover the bottom of your vessel with sugar and add a layer or seeds. Drizzle the seeds with honey if using and cover completely with a layer of sugar. Repeat until you reach the top.
4. If using vodka, carefully pour vodka until it covers the top layer. Close and refrigerate.

Essentially we are preserving the pomegranate juice with sugar and the enemy is mold. Should you find mold in your jar it means it's time to toss the batch. With time the seeds with break down and release their juice and mix with the sugar. The tiny pits in each seed will fall to the bottom and that's just fine because they're not for eating.

We want to reach the point of making a syrup with the juice and sugars. At that point we make the tea by adding this syrup to hot water. The amount of syrup is definitely to taste (I usually add about 3-4 Tablespoons) but you always want to use a clean dry spoon to retrieve the syrup so that the rest of the batch isn't contaminated. This tea is meant to be enjoyed as a winter treat (think Asian Hot Toddy) and can also be used medicinally especially if your batch has vodka. I would drink this when I had a sore throat or cough and it would give relief. If a hot drink is not your cup of tea (see what I did there?!) then this syrup would be a great addition to a winter cocktail, sparking water, or even to make your own flavored champagne.

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