Mint Jelly

Cooking apples form the base for this preserve, their natural pectin providing the setting agent for the jelly. The efficiency of the set will however depend on a number of factors, notably the balance between the pectin, acid and sugar.

Ingredients

  • 1.8 kg/ 4 lb cooking apples
  • 60 g/ 2 oz chopped mint, including the stalks, plus 2 tbsp more finely chopped mint leaves, to finish
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 675 g/ lb caster sugar

Method

Chop the apples coarsely, including the cores, and put in a pan with the 60 g/ 2 oz chopped mint, including the stalks, the lemon zest and juice, and vinegar, and barely cover with about 1.1 litres/ 2 pints of cold water. Bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

The proper piece of kit for the next stage is a jelly bag, but if you don’t have one you could improvise. Line a colander with a double thickness of fine muslin and scald with boiling water to sterilize. Put this over a bowl and pour the contents of the pan into it and leave to drip overnight. Don’t try and hurry this process by pushing with a spoon or squeezing the bag, as this will force solids through and make the jelly cloudy.

Measure the juice and put into a pan with 450 g/ 1 lb caster sugar per 600 ml/ 1 pt of apple juice. Bring to the boil slowly, then increase the heat and boil rapidly for about 8 minutes. Continue to boil for another 2 minutes, when the right amount of water will have evaporated and the frothing boil will have changed to a thicker rolling boil, with fat bubbles plopping noisily to the surface. At this stage setting point should have been reached.

Remove from the heat, pour through a sieve into a warmed jug and then stir in the 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves. Test by putting a spoonful of the mix on a cold plate. The surface should set as it cools and will wrinkle when prodded. Pour immediately into warm sterilized jars. Don’t tilt them until set. Put on sterilized lids and keep in a cool cupboard.

Once opened, keep in the fridge. Once you have made a batch successfully, you may like to make a larger amount when cooking apples are cheap, to give as presents. If so, use the same relative amounts. You should get about 4.5 kg/ 10 lb jelly from every 2.7 kg/ 6 lb sugar used.

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