Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Mint Jelly with all natural Pectin for the Food in Jars March Challenge

For the Food in Jars March Challenge, I once again threw my hat into uncharted water and tried this recipe for Mint Jelly. I was nervous about this recipe because it called for using apples to draw out the natural pectin. I intuitively knew this was the natural process but doubted that little ole me could pull it off. Would it work or fail miserably? Would it set? What if I didn't draw off enough liquid? I cursed myself apparently because I only drew off just over half the liquid and almost scrapped the whole project. I felt defeated and ready to throw in the towel, but SP boosted my spirits with some encouragement and then some laughter at my own expense - I looked like a hot mess and he still loved me. Nevertheless, I persisted.


  • 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
This was where I needed to send SP back to town. Not quite enough mint.
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar (7/8 cups for each cup of juice)
Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/mint_jelly/#ixzz4bKKVxMIp


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, for about 5 more minutes.

3.  Use a potato masher to mash up the apple pieces. Continue to the consistency of thin apple sauce. The mash should be quite runny, so feel free add another 1 cup of water to the pot. This is where I probably went wrong because I should have had it runnier because - see step 5.

4.  Spoon the apple mash into a cheesecloth lined fine mesh sieve and suspend it over a large bowl. Leave to strain for several hours. Do not squeeze.

5. After a few hours about 4 cups of juice should have strained out of the mash. This is where I found I only yielded just over two cups of liquid - 20 ounces to be exact.  Measure the juice, then pour into a large pot. Add 7/8 a cup of sugar  for each cup of juice. Heat on high, stirring until the sugar gets dissolved. Be careful that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan or burn.

6. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium or medium high, keeping it at a strong simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, using a metal spoon to skim off the surface scum. The surface scum is white and rather sticky so have a damp paper towel ready to wipe it off onto a plate. 

7. Continue to boil until a candy thermometer shows that the temperature has reached at least 220-222°F.  Additional cooking time may be needed depending on levels of elevation, water, sugar, or the  apple pectin in the mix.

8.  Pour into sterilized* canning jars to within 1/4" from the top and seal. Yields approximately 4 8-ounce jars. I managed to eek out less than that because of having less liquid.
Here is where the leap of faith happened as I waited and waited to see if they set. As the night drew to a close and I headed to bed my jars had still not set. I woke in the morning completely thrown off my plan to check them by the fact that off all things I didn't prepare for work, I had neglected to set my alarm ahead an hour for daylight savings. Ugh. I had to wait until after work to check. 
Low and behold - it worked! My jars set!

We are looking forward to enjoying this with lamb for Easter dinner and have some little jars to give away for Christmas. Natural mint jelly is such a beautiful golden color!

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