Balsamic and Pomegranate Reductions

It’s been some time since I posted. For those of you who have so patiently visited, thank you. During the summer I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, it was small and only required surgery, but it took a little while to recover (typing was difficult). However, now I’m back and feeling great.

Sometimes the thing that elevates a dish is the sauce or dressing. I love using balsamic reduction on everything from salads to roasted vegetables, but face it, the stuff is very expensive to buy so I thought I would try making it myself. As it turns out, it’s really easy. I’m going to start with balsamic reduction first, and then move on to my next favorite and even more expensive pomegranate reduction.

Balsamic Reduction

All you really need is a bottle of balsamic vinegar. Some people add sugar, but I think the balsamic vinegar is sweet enough by itself.

and a pan.     



Pour 2 cups of balsamic vinegar into the pan. Bring it to a boil, and reduce the temperature to a low simmer.  Let it simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally. Don’t let it burn or scorch. Continue to simmer until the vinegar has thickened and reduced by about half. The result should be thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. 


The reduction will continue to thicken as it cools. Pour into a glass jar, and store in the refrigerator.

Try not to eat it with a spoon. It’s wonderful on salad, vegetables like asparagus, roasted beets and, of course, strawberries.

Now that we’ve got that cooling in the fridge, let’s try another and slightly more exotic reduction. You may have run across recipes that include “pomegranate molasses.” It’s the same thing.

Pomegranate Reduction

Don’t bother squeezing your own pomegranates. I’ve done it and believe me it’s a real pain in the neck. A bottle of pomegranate juice from the supermarket will work just fine.

In a sauce pan, add 4 cups of pomegranate juice and, 1/2 cup sugar (I used raw sugar), and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. You can add your favorite spices if desired.

Heat the juice and sugar over a medium heat to boiling. Once the sugar is dissolved, reduce the heat and simmer until it is reduced to 1 3/4 cup (50-60 minutes). Allow to cool and store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.

Pomegranate molasses is used in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes.  It’s also great on ice cream.

Be sure to label the jar because it looks a lot like balsamic reduction.

I’ll be back next week with another post. Give these a try and let me know what you think.

Fruit Soup and Other Dried Treasures

Preserving fruit is a regular activity in the fall kitchen.  I’ve been drying blueberries in the dehydrator and oven drying loads of sweet Roma tomatoes.  So I was thinking about baking recently and took a quick inventory of my supply of dried fruit. They’re a favorite ingredient for holiday baking so I try to make sure I have a wide variety.  The variety was there but most of it was from last year, so it was time to make some room.  I decided to make a versatile favorite, fruit soup.  Years ago I found a great recipe in a church cookbook called Norwegian Fruit Soup.  I was instantly capitvated and have made it many times over the years.  You can eat it hot, you can eat it cold.  It’s great as a topping for ice cream, on hot cereal, mixed with yogurt and granola, or just by the spoonful.  The mix of dried fruit can be different, depending on what you like and what you have on hand.  Here’s my most recent iteration based on what was available in my kitchen.

Fruit Soup

Elaine’s Crockpot Fruit Soup


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup golden and regular raisins
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, cut into quarters
  • 1/2 cup dried plums (aka prunes), cut in half
  • 1/3 cup dried mango
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons candied ginger, cut into small pieces
  • 2 lemon slices (more about this one later)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 4-5 whole allspice
  • 4-5 whole cloves
  • 6 to 8 cups water
  • 3 apples, cored, peeled and cut into cubes


The night before (or several hours) put all of the fruit except the apples into a crockpot along with the sugar, honey and spices and pour in the water.  If you’re cooking overnight, set the crockpot on warm and cover.  That’s essentially it.  The next day, or whenever the fruit is soft, add the chopped apples and simmer on high for about an hour.  The apples should be cooked but not mushy.  The smell alone will have everyone’s mouth watering. If you’re not going to eat it immediately just spoon into jars and store in the refrigerator.  Depending on the size of your family, this recipe could last up to two weeks in the refrigerator.

I mentioned the lemon slices in the above recipe.  I got this great recipe from my sister-in-law, Skye Morgan O’Malley and it’s sensational.

Lemons in Honey

Lemons in Honey

Slice enough lemons to fill a glass jar.  Pour in enough honey to cover the lemons.  Put the lid on and place in the refrigerator for about 4 days (okay, 2 if you just can’t wait).    I used a couple of slices in the Fruit Soup, and it’s a great way to add some pizzazz to a cup of tea or a wine cooler.