About 15 years ago, I planted a single mint plant in the ground and I’ve enjoyed the way it’s taken over portion of the backyard. I usually use the fragrant leaves in tea, in savory dishes, such as buttered peas, and, of course, in mint juleps.
I had never thought of using it for mint jelly until recently, and I couldn’t shake the idea. I’m not one of those who likes mint jelly with lamb, so that wasn’t the flavor I was aiming for, though you could certainly do that if you leave out the bourbon. This Kentucky-born boy wanted, instead, to go back to that julep flavor. So, I decided to adapt a recipe I found on recipegoldmine.com.
It was easy, because I had thankfully remembered to get all of my ingredients and all of the cooking equipment, such as a strainer, ready ahead of time. That includes making sure you have your canning process set up before you start making the jam.
Next time, I might make mojito jelly with a few minor alterations. I’ll use lime juice instead of lemon and maybe add a little more to the mix, adjusting the water slightly. And of course, I’d use rum instead of bourbon.
Have fun with it. That’s all that matters.
Mint Julep Jelly
1 1/2 cups mint leaves, packed
3 cups water
1/4 cup bourbon (optional)
4 or 5 drops green food coloring (optional)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (1.75-ounce) box fruit pectin
4 cups sugar
Bruise the mint leaves. (An easy way to do this is to grab a handful and crush it into a fist. Repeat until all of it bruised.) Cover with water and bring to a boil. Let steep for 10 or 12 minutes. The water will be green with a touch of brown.
Strain the mint from the water. Measure 2 3/4 cups if you’re using bourbon or 3 cups if using just water, and pour into a saucepan. (Reserve the remaining mint tea to drink later. Squeeze the mint leaves to extract even more.) Add food coloring, one drop at a time, and lemon juice. Add pectin and stir until it dissolves. Bring to a boil.
Add sugar slowly with one hand, stirring it in with the other. Cook fast, stirring occasionally until it comes to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down, then cook 1 minute more.
Pour into sterilized jelly glasses and seal, using your preferred canning method.
Makes 4 to 4 1/2 half-pint jars.
Adapted from recipegoldmine.com.