The mint bush continues to thrive, even with some killing frosts in the past two weeks, which just amazes me. Supposedly the plants grow best in wet soil with partial sunlight, though this bush has grown in a south-facing garden with full sun and has far exceeded my expectations. I have to trim it frequently to keep it in check, but we've had so many uses for it that trimming is not a hardship. Because we want to keep some mint on hand during the winter, I'm rooting some stems in soil and some in water to see which ones root faster, then will transplant in a pot for our indoor garden. Most varieties of mint propagate easily with either method.
Today I sipped fresh mint tea with honey while canning the mint apple jelly. Though I like jelly made from fresh apples, I was short on time and chose a recipe that starts with apple juice. I chose a natural type that hasn't strained all the flavor out and was rewarded with a golden amber jelly with an aroma that made me think of making apple mint tea. The mint infused the apple juice quickly and permeated the air in the kitchen. I couldn't resist the urge to stand over the pot and take in the wonderful aroma.
This is my contribution to the third anniversary edition of Weekend Herb Blogging, a weekly event founded by the talented Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen. She has some celebration giveaways going on, so don't forget to check those out, then visit her blog again next week for the round-up!
Mint Apple Jelly
- 4 to 6-quart pot with lid
- 3 quart pot
- 10-quart canning pot with lid or similar
- 6 half-pint jelly jars (When canning jelly, I always add one 4 ounce jar + lid + band as back up for any extra. It's just a thing I do, but I almost always need the extra.)
- 6 lids
- 6 bands
- lid wand
- jar lifter
- plastic spatula
- 1 quart apple cider (or juice)
- 1 cup mint leaves (lightly packed, rinsed well and drained)
- 1¾ ounce package powdered pectin (not the low sugar kind)
- 4½ cups granulated sugar
Prepare the Jars
- Sterilize jars, rings, and lids according to the instructions in Home Canning (Boiling Water Method). Keep the jars in the canning pot and the lids and bands in the 3-quart pot with hot, not boiling, water.
Cook the Jelly
- Pour the apple cider into the 6-quart pot and add the mint. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and allow to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain out the mint leaves.
- Stir the pectin into the hot apple cider. Bring to a boil, then add the sugar.
- Bring back to a hard boil and continue for 1 minute, uncovered, stirring constantly.
- Skim the foam off the top of the mixture.
Process the Jelly
- Pour into hot jars, leaving about 1/4-inch head space, and run the plastic spatula around the inside of the jar to remove any bubbles. Add the hot lids and bands, twisting the bands just until finger tight.
- Process for 10 minutes covered, then remove lid and process for 5 more minute, uncovered. Remove jars from canning pot and sit on a cutting board or other heat resistant surface. Leave until you hear the pops, indicating the jars sealed. Store in a dark, cool place for up to one year. If any jars don't seal, store in the refrigerator and use within a week.