Mint Jelly

CanningJellyLambMint

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.

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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 half-pint 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.

Ingredients

  • 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)

Special equipment:

  • Digital thermometer
  • Large, fine mesh sieve
  • 4 half-pint canning jars

Method

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 set point: 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 digital 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.

A thermometer reading isn't always the best way to tell 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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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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53 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Mavrolas

    I tried to make this mint jelly 3 times and failed each time. I followed the instructions carefully. I was excited to find a recipe that didn’t include green food coloring or artificial store bought Pectin. My family is Greek and we eat lamb frequently, of which we commonly use mint jelly. Mint jelly can be hard to find at times and is expensive so I now grow my own mint (organically.) When I picked it from the garden and brought it in the house to wash and prep, the house smelt very “mintie”. I used beautiful Granny Smith apples and to my dismay, after adding the 2 cups of vinegar, I was not able to recapture the smell or flavor of the mint. I tried adding another cup of water when mashing, not adding anymore water, mashing longer, adding more mint; however, the results ended essentially the same each time with no significant changes. In addition, I was not able to obtain the adequate amount of juice the recipe calls for, within the several hours that were expected, as the mash seemed to have too much pectin in it and was actually drying while it was being strained. Each time I tried a different straining method…cheesecloth folded, not folded, 2 different types of strainers…I just couldn’t get it to strain adequately, in a timely manner or taste right. The results were the same. Too vinegary, barely any mint flavor, cloudy jelly base that was inadequate for the volume needed, although it was mashed thin and allowed to strain way beyond the time called for regarding the straining. I can see it failing once, or maybe twice in the event a step was missed, but not 3 times. Maybe the recipe needs to be tested and/or revised. IDK. That being said, I have made several recipes from this site which have turned out perfect, and I’m sure I will continue doing so for many more recipes to come, just not this one I guess. My best to all with congratulations to those that had success with making it.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  2. Yuliya

    Great taste, added extra mint. Only part I don’t like is throwing away all that apple-mint mash. Any idea on how to reuse it is highly appreciated. Thanks!

    xxxxxyyyyy

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  3. Rebecka

    I followed the instructions to a t… However I tasted apples and vinegar. Heated it up before the sugar added another cup and 1/2 of mint I think it is good now but the taste isn’t as pungent as I hoped. It seemed that the jelly was the right consistency was right we will see if it worked.

  4. Margaret

    I’m half way through this and I think I messed it up. I’m straining it right now, and it tastes like vinegar and apples. I don’t taste any mint at all, and there’s no sugar yet. Should I keep going or give up? I plan on finishing it tomorrow.

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  5. Janessa

    Can I can this rather than put it on the refrigerator after making it? I don’t think I’ll go through it quick enough without it being canned

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