Mint Jelly

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. Here’s a straightforward recipe for making your own, using the pectin from fresh tart apples as a jelling base.

Mint Jelly Recipe

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.

Yum

Ingredients

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

Method

1 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, return to boil. Simmer covered, 5 more minutes.

3 Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces to the consistency of thin apple sauce.

4 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. Note that if your mash is too thick, you can add 1/2 a cup to a cup more of water to it. You should have 4 to 5 cups of resulting juice.

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

6 Bring to a boil. 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.

7 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 29 Comments

  • Cathy

    I am wondering about how long jelly can be stored. Also if it should be stored in refrigerator or if it can be at room temperature.

    Hi Cathy – if you follow good canning procedures you should be able to store the jelly unopened at room temperature for a year. Though once you open a jar, in to the fridge it must go. Both sugar and vinegar act as preservatives. The biggest risk is of mold. ~Elise

  • ben

    Tonight, I had some really good lamb chops that were cooked just right, and I made a mint “sauce” just by steeping chopped mint in hot, sugary, vinegary water, per Darina Allen. It was good — the lamb was good enough that it didn’t need *anything* — but this homemade mitn jelly is what I really wanted. Next time!

  • ben

    OK, it’s in the jar, and I’ve learned many things about preserve-making and canning (this was my first time). The jars took the seal and the lids turned concave; so I think I did it mostly right.

    The jelly turned out a beautiful deep copper/gold colour. I added some fine-chopped mint in the boil at the end, because I think it should be flecked with bits of mint leaf.

    Still a little bit soupier and sloppier than I’d like, but I think it’ll be just right when refrigerated.

  • ben

    Lamb chops, new potatoes, fresh leaf spinach, good butter and home-made mint jelly. From in the door to on the plate in twenty minutes, and you’d turn up your nose at ambrosia and lobster thermidor for it. The dog gets to crunch on a bone (just one!) afterwards. Nothing better.

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