canning | herbs | jelly | lemon | mint | preserved foods | quick & easy | recipe

I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

August 19, 2011

I made this mint jelly when I couldn’t sleep one morning at 2:30 a.m. No joke. It was the easiest fucking thing I have ever made in my life, bar none. It was done in less than 30 minutes, and jarred up and cooling, and I was back in bed. The hardest part was going outside & cutting my fresh mint… in the dark.

I actually forgot that I made this. I made it, took some pictures the next day and then promptly forgot about it once it was labeled & on the shelf with my other jams, probably because not only were the jars small, but mint jelly isn’t something often eaten. It’s usually eaten with lamb, but some people like it with pork chops. I like neither, so now that it was all ready to go, I gave it to my parents. I read that real mint jelly is not only rare & hard to find most times, but sorta expensive. I wasn’t aware of this fact at all, but then I remembered when I was a little girl, whenever we’d go meet our family at a restaurant for Easter dinner & they’d order lamb, the mint jelly came in a teeny tiny little cup. And most times, if you asked for more, it seemed like a big deal. Maybe that’s because it was real mint jelly. Apparently, mint-flavored apple jelly is more common than real mint jelly, and it’s cheaper. Which to me is so bizarre, considering mint plants are so cheap & this recipe was so easy. You can have a mint plant in your kitchen year round, or you can even use dried mint! But nowadays you can even buy fresh mint in little bunches at the supermarket, so there’s really no excuse.

Just goes to show you how stupid society has become. It cost me a total of $4.00 for the jars (a 4-pack of 8 oz. wide mouth Ball® ‘Collection Elite™’ jars costs actually a few cents less than that at Walmart), the mint was already growing in my garden from previous years, the pectin was about $3.50 for a double pack (also Walmart), the water is straight from my faucet and the lemon juice was already in my fridge (although I had organic lemons here too I could have used, but it only required such a small amount). So for $7.00 I made 4 little jars (32 ounces) of 100% pure, homemade, homegrown mint jelly. Just for one example, Polaner Real Mint jelly costs roughly anywhere from $2.79 – $3.90 per 10 oz. Either price, I still win.

Good jelly is clear and sparkling and has a fresh flavor of the fruit from which it is made. It is tender enough to quiver when moved, but holds angles when cut.” – R. Berolzheimer, 1959

I opted to not use apple juice, because I didn’t want a brown-tinted “mint-flavored” apple jelly, I wanted a bright, crystal clear, pure mint, sparkling Kelly-green one (which I think I achieved, don’t you?). But there are tons of apple-based recipes too, so take your pick. I’m not a purist. I’d personally rather use some pectin if it gives me a nice colored, aesthetically pleasing jelly. I don’t want to eat something that looks like aspic, even if it smells like mint. But even if you’re one of those people who’d prefer to make it without the green food coloring, the color of this jelly is a nice, pleasant, not-brown pale green. I am not one of those people. I like fake colors, my hair used to be a variety of them. I used Sure-Jell for this particular batch, it was my first time using it (I usually use Ball® RealFruit) and it was great. I have no complaints with either brand.

This is a true mint jelly with a delicious, mild yet definitely mint flavor, no apple to be found. Increase the mint if you want it really powerful. If you like pieces of mint leaves left in it, then by all means, do leave some. Just make sure they’re small & easily chewed or they’ll ruin the texture (which is lovely).



  • 1 cup fresh mint, washed thoroughly or ½ cup dried mint leaves
  • 3 ¼ cups water
  • green food coloring (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.75 ounces (3 ½ tablespoons) pectin
  • 4 cups granulated white sugar, sifted


  1. Chop and crush mint leaves in a saucepan, then add the water. Bring to a rapid boil.
  2. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. Strain the leaves out & discard.
  3. Add food coloring (if desired) and lemon juice, stir well. Add pectin, dissolve and bring to a rapid boil. Add sugar. Cook fast, stirring occasionally until it comes to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down, then cook 1 minute more.
  4. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool in water until you can safely remove it. Then set in a cool, dark place until ready to open. Refrigerate after opening, of course.

This recipe makes 2 pints, or four 8 oz. jars, or eight 4 oz. jars. I’d recommend using the either the 8 oz. or those cute little 4 oz. jelly jars as people don’t really use that much of this, and they make adorable gifts. In theory, I should’ve waited until St. Patrick’s Day & made a bunch to give away, tied with little shamrock ribbon! Ah, hindsight is 20/20. As with most things, this will last on the shelf for 6-8 months, maybe a year. I’d use it before that, though.

I’m here talking about mint jelly while Jay is in Muotathal, Switzerland playing the Mountains of Death festival with his band. Oh the glamorous life of a rockstar wife girlfriend; mint jelly & death metal music. Yes, you all read that correctly, I wrote Switzerland. He is actually in Switzerland, playing bass in his death metal band at an open air festival. Clearly, someone is having a not-quite-midlife crisis, no? Haha. Kidding. I do miss him, though. He went to Illinois last month on tour, but it seemed like it wasn’t really so far. Switzerland is, like, totally far away from NY! *sad face* Good luck, Jay! I love you, get home safe & bring me back some Swiss chocolate.

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