One of the first fruits that makes me think of fall is the pomegranate. It's vibrant red hue is reminiscent of bright summer colors, but the thick toughness of its outer layer and its slightly earthy flavor are reminders that colder days are coming.
I'm not fortunate enough to have a pomegranate tree in my yard—no blood red beacon signaling the beginning of fall. However, pomegranates do grow very well in the Southern California climate. My neighbor has a pomegranate tree, visible from my window, that drips with garnet spheres beginning in early September and by October many of these spheres have been gashed open by hungry birds (lucky birds!). The birds may have gotten to my neighbor's pomegranates before I could, but another friend did offer up her pomegranate harvest in exchange for some of my rainbow chard, which still, even into fall, has been growing faster than I can eat!
Pomegranate is, of course, lovely to eat by itself, or with its rosy seeds topping salads and hors' d'oeuvres. However, pomegranate syrup is another beautiful and delicious way to enjoy the fall fruit. A common ingredient in middle eastern cooking, pomegranate syrup (or molasses) can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. It can marinate lamb or chicken; it can be drizzled over fall squash; it can be mixed with tequila and orange juice for a refreshing cocktail; and, as shown here, it can be a wonderful breakfast topping for greek yogurt.
Makes 2 cups.
2 cups fresh pomegranate juice (either processed through a juicer or simmered on a stove until the seeds release their juices and strained)
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Mix ingredients in a saucepan over the stove on a low heat. Allow the liquid to come to a simmer. Watch the process closely, being careful not to let the liquid boil, which an cause the sugar to burn, destroying the syrup (not to mention being a nightmare to clean your saucepan!). Let simmer until the liquid has thickened to a runny syrup (it will thicken further when it is left at room temperature or put in the fridge).
Remove from the heat and allow the liquid to reach room temperature before serving. The syrup will keep in the fridge for up to 2 months.
For a tart and wonderful breakfast, top greek yogurt with the syrup, pomegranate seeds, lemon zest and a small amount of honey. Enjoy.