One of my daughters asked to have her own little garden plot this year, and one of the things she grew in it was peppermint:
I asked her to harvest some mint for me today so I could make some Mint Jelly, and she obligingly brought me a basketful:
I pulled off the leaves, washed them in a colander, chopped up 1 1/2 cups of them and put them in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water:
I brought the leaves and water to a boil, then removed the pot from the heat and let the leaves steep for ten minutes, after which I poured it through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. I then poured 1 3/4 cup of the strained mint juice into a pan, added 3 1/2 cups sugar, 2 drops of green food coloring (optional) and 2 tablespoons lemon juice and brought the mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly.
I added one pouch (3 ounces) of liquid fruit pectin and returned the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly and allowing it to boil hard for one minute.
After one minute, I turned off the heat and skimmed off the foam on the surface.
I poured the liquid into four half-pint canning jars and put on the lids and rings.
I then processed the jars in a water bath canner for five minutes.
The bright green color is so pretty, but I normally don’t add food coloring. If you don’t add the coloring, the jelly will be a nice golden honey color. However, I added the coloring this time because I want to use this jelly to fill thumbprint cookies at Christmas. I’ll also make thumbprints filled with raspberry jam, and the green and red filled cookies will look festive together on plates for the holidays.
I got this recipe from the website of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Frankly, though I’m not a big fan of the federal government, if we must have one then I think researching food preservation techniques and teaching food safety and home canning to people is a very good use of government funds. They have access to food safety laboratories to conduct research that we home canners can use to safely preserve homegrown food for our families.
Here is the recipe:
- 1-¾ cups mint juice (1½ cups firmly packed fresh mint and 2¼ cups water)
- 3-½ cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 pouch liquid pectin (3 oz.)
Yield: About 3 or 4 half-pint jars
- Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer’s directions.
- Wash mint, crush leaves and stems or finely chop. Place in saucepan, add water and bring quickly to a boil. Remove from heat, cover and let stand 10 minutes. (A few drops of green food coloring can be added if desired.) Strain to remove mint. Discard mint.
- Measure 1-¾ cups mint juice into a large saucepot. Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Place on high heat, stir constantly and bring to a full boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat; quickly skim off foam.
- Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids.
- Process in a Boiling Water Canner for five minutes.
So, what can you do with mint jelly? Here are some suggestions:
- Use it as a glaze for rack of lamb or leg of lamb (this is especially nice for Easter)
- Stir a teaspoonful into a cup of hot tea to sweeten it and add a minty flavor
- put a smear of cream cheese on a water cracker and top with a dollop of mint jelly (I’ve never done this, but I’ve heard tell that they do down south)
- spread Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) on a graham cracker and add a thin layer of mint jelly
- fill jam thumbprint cookies
If you have any other suggestions for using mint jelly, I’d love to hear about it!