All That Mint!

If you grow mint, you probably know it will take over your garden in short order.  I have an herb garden right outside my kitchen door.  I grow mint and herbs in pots to keep them from getting out of control.  In our area, temperatures frequently drop below freezing in the winter months.  The potted herbs grow dormant in the winter but will come back in the spring.
Apple Mint (also known as wooly mint), Spearmint, and 
Peppermint.
We enjoy having lots of fresh mint during the summer months for cooking and adding to brewed iced tea and other refreshing summer drinks.  But what do you do with all that mint in the garden at the end of summer?  Before the first frost hits, harvest all your mint and herbs and preserve them to enjoy those subtle flavors all winter.

(Tip: to easily remove leaves from stems, pinch the top of a
single stem and slide your thumb and index finger down the
stem from top to bottom.  Leaves will pop right off.)
I've tried drying mints and herbs to preserve them, and I've heard of chopping them up, putting them in ice cube trays and filling them with water to freeze them.

My favorite way to preserve them is to spread the leaves on trays and freeze them, periodically loosening  the leaves.  Place the frozen leaves in gallon-size freezer bags in a thin layer and lay flat in the freezer.  When ready to use, break off the amount of mint or herbs you want to use in teas, soups or sauces.

Mint Jelly, Apple Mint Jelly, Mojito Mint Jelly, Jalapeno Mint Jelly.
Another way to preserve your harvest of mint is to use some to make and preserve mint jelly.
Serve mint jellies with toast, meats, ice cream, in sauces, or on top of cream cheese as a spread for crackers.

Mint Jelly

1 1/2 cups fresh chopped mint leaves
3 1/4 cups water\
2-3 drops green food coloring
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 (1.75 oz) box Sure-Jell pectin
4 cups granulated sugar

  1. Place chopped mint leaves in a large saucepan.  Add water and bring to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain and measure 3 cups of mint infusion.
  3. Add food coloring and lemon juice. Add pectin, dissolve and bring to a rapid boil.
  4. Add sugar.  Cook fast stirring occasionally until it comes to a rapid boil that cannot be stirred down, then cook 1 minute more.
  5. Pour into hot sterilized jelly glasses leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in hot-water canner.

Apple Mint Jelly

1/2 cups fresh chopped mint leaves
3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 quart apple juice
2-3 drops green food coloring
1 (1.75 oz.) box Sure-Jell pectin

  1. Place chopped mint leaves in a large saucepan. Add 2 tablespoons sugar and water. Let stand for several hours or overnight.
  2. Bring to a boil. Strain mint infusion.
  3. Combine remaining sugar and apple juice and pectin.
  4. Cook for 20 minutes or until mixture reaches 220F on a candy thermometer.
  5. Add food coloring and mint infusion.
  6. Pour into hot sterilized jelly jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in hot-water canner.

Mojito Jelly (Lime and Mint)

1 cup fresh chopped mint
3 1/2 cups water
5 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest finely grated
2 cups lime juice
1 (1.75 oz.) box Sure-Jell pectin
green food coloring

  1. Combine mint and water in a large saucepot. Simmer covered for about 20 minutes.  Strain.
  2. Return mint infusion to saucepan, boil until reduced to 3 cups.
  3. Add sugar stirring to dissolve.  Stir in lemon zest and lime juice. Bring to a boil.
  4. Stir in pectin. Bring to a rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Stir in a 1-2 drops green food coloring.
  6. Pour into hot sterilized jelly jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in hot-water canner.

Jalapeno Mint Jelly

1 3/4 cups fresh chopped mint
1 1/2 cups water
3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons juice from jarred pepper rings

  1. Combine mint and water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 30 mintues.  Strain.
  2. Combine mint infusion, sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and juice from pepper rings in a large saucepan.  Bring to a full boil and boil hard for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. 
  3. Remove from heat, stir in pectin.
  4. Pour into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal and process for 10 minutes in a hot-water canner.
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4 comments:

  1. Great post! I am going to try this. I've never frozen mint before but we have tons of it too - I did make some mint jelly this year. And I actually grow a variety of mint called Mojito Mint so I really should try your recipe! Beautiful gardens too.

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  2. Thanks Lisa. If you make these jellies, follow the cooking directions exactly. If it says bring to a boil and then boil hard for 1 minute, do exactly that. I should have stressed that in the recipes. If you over or under cook the mixture, the jelly will be sloshy. Freezing the mint is great. They won't be like fresh leaves, but you can still use them in teas and other recipes you cook with. Have fun!

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  3. Great ideas--I haven't made mint jelly in a long time. I've dried some of my mint, but we had a hard frost last week, so I don't think there's much left, except the crazy lemon balm. It's in the mint family, though--do you think it would work for jelly?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Meredith. I've never grown it or used it, but I don't see why it wouldn't. It would be worth a try. If you make it, please let me know how it turned out. Thanks for your comment! ~ Katie

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