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What Is Pekmez?

Pekmez is a luscious, traditional Turkish syrup made from concentrated fruit must, often grapes, figs, or mulberries. This natural sweetener, rich in minerals, offers a healthier alternative to refined sugars, adding depth to both sweet and savory dishes. Intrigued by its culinary versatility and health benefits? Discover how pekmez can transform your cooking and sweeten your life. Keep reading to explore its wonders.
Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Pekmez is a type of sweet molasses from Turkey that also is produced in some other countries under different names. Most commonly, pekmez is made from the reduced and purified juice of grapes, although it also can be made from a variety of other fruits, including sugar beets, mulberries, pears, plums and apples. If the molasses is made from dates, it is known as dibis, and if it is made from carob, it can be called keciboynuzu pekmez. The product has been made for a very long time and was used as a sweetener before the arrival of sugar in Turkey. It is used in making candy and other confections and as a sweetener in place of sugar.

There are different ways that pekmez is made, but the most common is to start with fresh grapes. The grapes are pressed, and the juice is collected. Next, the juice is heated to help begin the process of reducing it into a syrup and to sterilize it. During the cooking period, a special type of soil is added to the juice to help remove impurities. Once the first cooking is done, it is allowed to rest for some time so all of the soil and other sediments sink to the bottom and can be removed.

Mulberries can be used to make "pekmez."
Mulberries can be used to make "pekmez."

The pekmez is then heated a second time so that, while over low heat, it will reduce down to a thick syrup. This thick syrup is then bottled, and the pekmez is complete. The same results can be achieved at home by taking pure grape juice or squeezing the juice from fresh grapes and then heating it for many hours over low heat. The resulting syrup might not have the same subtle flavor elements as true pekmez, but it can be used in the same way.

Pekmez can be made from a variety of fruits, including sugar beets.
Pekmez can be made from a variety of fruits, including sugar beets.

One popular use for pekmez is as a sweetener for a common breakfast dish. The dish involves taking tahini, a type of sesame paste, and mixing it with an equal amount of syrup. The result is a sweet and healthy breakfast dish that resembles a very flavorful version of oatmeal, but with a different, nuttier taste. This can be served with bread or toast.

There also are several homeopathic uses for the molasses. When made from certain fruits, it can be prescribed for people who have an iron deficiency. It also is used for back pains, respiratory problems and to help ease nausea related to pregnancy.

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    • Mulberries can be used to make "pekmez."
      By: fotomaster
      Mulberries can be used to make "pekmez."
    • Pekmez can be made from a variety of fruits, including sugar beets.
      By: Luis Carlos Jiménez
      Pekmez can be made from a variety of fruits, including sugar beets.