Mint Jelly

Homemade mint jelly, using natural pectin from tart Granny Smith apples as a base, and fresh mint.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Mmmmm. Mint jelly with lamb. Made the mint jelly; now all I need is the lamb.

Did you know that mint jelly is not really green? It isn’t. It’s golden colored in its natural state. That green stuff you see in the stores is just food coloring.

Mint Jelly

Here’s a straightforward recipe for making your own, using the pectin from fresh tart apples as a jelling base. Because the apples are providing natural pectin, we won’t need to add any commercial pectin to the jelly.


Mint Jelly Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Mash straining time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Makes about 4 8-ounce jars

The tarter the apples, the more pectin they will usually have. If you are using home picked apples, earliest in the season is best, and the smaller apples will have proportionally more pectin as well.


  • 4 lbs of tart apples (e.g. Granny Smith), un-peeled, chopped into big pieces, including the cores (including the cores is important as this is where most of the natural pectin is)
  • 3 cups of fresh spearmint leaves, chopped, packed
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cups for each cup of juice)


1 Cook apple and mint in water: Combine apple pieces with water and mint in a large pan. Bring water to a boil then reduce heat and cook 20 minutes, until apples are soft.

2 Add vinegar and simmer: Add vinegar, return to boil. Simmer covered, 5 more minutes.

3 Mash apple pieces: Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of thin apple sauce. If the mash is too thick (it should be quite runny), add another 1/2 to 1 cup of water to the pot.

4 Strain apple mash in sieve or with cloth: Spoon the apple pulp into a muslin cloth (or a couple layers of cheesecloth) or a large, fine mesh sieve, suspended over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours. Do not squeeze.

After a few hours about 4 cups of juice should have strained out of the mash.

5 Measure juice, add sugar, heat until sugar is dissolved: Measure the juice, then pour into a large pot. Add the sugar (7/8 a cup for each cup of juice). Heat on high, stirring to make sure the sugar gets dissolved and doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn.

6 Simmer until 220°F or jelly wrinkles: Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium or medium high, so that you maintain a strong simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a metal spoon to skim off the surface scum.

Continue to boil until a candy thermometer shows that the temperature has reached 8-10°F above the boiling point at your altitude (boiling point is 212°F at sea level, so at sea level the temperature should read 220-222°F).

Additional time needed for cooking can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer, depending on the amount of water, sugar, and apple pectin in the mix.

Candy thermometers aren't always the most reliable indicators of whether or not a jelly is done. Another way to test is put a half teaspoonful of the jelly on a chilled (in the freezer) plate. Allow the jelly to cool a few seconds, then push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up, it's ready. I usually start testing the jelly this way when the mixture gets to 218°F.

7 Pour into canning jars and seal: Pour into sterilized* canning jars to within 1/4" from the top and seal.

Makes approximately 4 8-ounce jars.

*There are several ways to sterilize jars for canning. You can run the jars through a short cycle in a dishwasher. You can place the jars in a large pot (12 quart) of water on top of a steaming rack (so they don't touch the bottom of the pan), and bring the water to a boil for 10 minutes. Or you can rinse the jars, dry them, and place them, without lids, in a 200°F oven for 10 minutes.

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Showing 4 of 37 Comments

  • Jennifer

    I’d like to reduce the sugar, but I know some is necessary for gelling and to help preserve it…. I’m thinking of reducing to 1/2 cup sugar per cup of juice (though I’d prefer to reduce even further). Do you think it will work?

  • Carol Allen

    I got a vinegary apple jelly, no mint tasty and through. Very sweet and I cut back on the sugar by about 1/2 cup. Can I reheat to add more mint or just start over? Would the recipe work with 3C water and 1 C vinegar?

  • Carolyn

    Can I use my mint jelly right away or is it like other preserves and have to sit a certain amount of time???? Thanks :-)

  • Danielle

    Why NOT squeeze the muslin bag when extracting the juice. I don’t seem to be getting the required amount of juice and the bag has been hanging over the pot all night. What would be the harm in trying to squeeze it out now? ….or…could I run that mash through my single auger juicer?

  • HTuttle

    Made a batch with a variation of this recipe.
    Apple/Mint/Ginger/HotPepper Jelly

    Used Apple juice drink instead of water wherever water is called for.

    Used a large bunch of spearmint, about ten cut off tops, total about the size of a batch of celery.
    One large ginger root, lightly peeled.
    Ten or so green serano chile peppers.
    Ran all that through a food processor until a coarse mush. Added some apple juice and simmered for about ten minutes.

    3 lbs of Granny Smith apples, cut up and cooked with more chopped spearmint (another 4 tops or so) and apple drink as directed (bag of apples was 3 lbs. so I went with that instead of the 4 lbs. called for).

    Strained the apple/mint mush four times through a metal mesh strainer, adding more juice and reheating before each straining.

    Strained the food processor mush once into the same liquid (then added that mush to the apple/mint mush for use in later making a great Apple/Mint/Ginger/HotPepper cake).

    Measured the liquid and had 8 cups so I boiled and simmered until reduced down to just under 5 cups.
    Added the sugar according to directions, 7/8 cup sugar to each cup of liquid.

    Boiled the sugar liquid to 221f degrees. Could fee/l how thick it was. Ladled into sterile Mason jars. Put on lids and left to cool on counter. Next day all was jellied nicely and went into the fridge!

    Bonus cake:
    Mixed the remaining mush with about an equal amount of flour/sugar/baking powder mix and baked at 350 for about 50 minutes. Came out GREAT! The ginger and hot pepper makes it a very peppy cake with the apple and mint flavor behind it.

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