My mother will probably cringe my telling this story; however, it’s been one of those humorous memories my three older sisters and I share from when we were very young. One day our mom decided to buy fresh pomegranates to give us girls a special treat. So, she sat us down at the table, each with our section of pomegranate, and unfortunately for her, she left the room, leaving us alone with this strange new fruit. As my sisters and I began to eat the tiny, juicy seed pods, we were fascinated by their taste and how our fingers turned bright red when you squeezed the seeds between your fingers. I’m not going to say which one of my sisters started it, but someone discovered you could pinch the seed pod at a certain point, and it would shoot the tiny seeds up as high as the ceiling. Well, our kitchen ceiling was white, the juice was bright red, there were four of us all shooting our tiny seeds at the ceiling, and you can guess what happened next. Our mother never bought pomegranates for us again. EVER!
As I’ve gotten older (apologizing for my part in the ceiling massacre, of course), I’ve learned to appreciate pomegranates and use the seeds in salads and the juice anywhere I want to add a bit of natural sugar, like this marmalade. Not only does the pomegranate juice add the right amount of sweetness complement the tart cranberries and oranges, but the dark purply-red juice also deepens the marmalade to a beautiful shade of garnet.
Spread the marmalade on toast or on adding a bright pop of flavor to your leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich.
2 cups fresh cranberries
2 large navel oranges
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup Grand Marnier Liqueur
1) Using a vegetable peeler, carefully cut away the outer peel from the oranges in long strips. Remove any of the bitter white pith from the peels.
2) Cut the orange peels in half horizontally, then vertically into very thin matchstick pieces. Set the cut peels aside.
3) Carefully cut between membranes of the oranges to release the segments, capturing the juices from the oranges as you work. Cut the segments into 1/2-inch pieces. Set the orange pieces aside.
4) Combine the orange juice, pomegranate juice, Grand Marnier, and the brown sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a low boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, about 8 to 10 minutes.
5) Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the cranberries, orange peel, and orange pieces. Simmer and stir until the cranberries have popped and the jam begins to thicken about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool.
6) Transfer the marmalade to jars when cool and refrigerate it until you’re ready to enjoy it!