This apple mint jelly is perfect with lamb. You have to plan ahead to make it as the apple needs straining through a jelly bag for around 8 hours or overnight.
It's important to let it drip freely as that way, you'll get a lovely clear jelly - if you squeeze the bag to extract more juice, then you'll get a cloudy jelly.
It won't affect the way it tastes, just the way it looks.
You will need:-
Take a handful of fresh mint and give it a good rinse to get any bugs off it.
If you don't have fresh, you can use dried - about 1 tablespoon.
Take 2 lbs (1kg) of apples.
I have used Bramleys here, but any apple will do - windfalls, crab apples or a mixture. You're only interested in the juice for its pectin. Chop them into chunks.
No need to peel or core them.
Cut out any bruised bits and then chop them up into pieces.
Don't worry about the apple going a bit brown - it happens as it oxidises and won't affect the end result.
Zest and juice 1 lemon.
I use a little hand lemon zester but you could use the fine side of a grater or simply peel with a knife or veg peeler - get it as fine as you can though.
Put the apple, lemon, water and mint into a large pan (for this quantity, I use the base of my pressure cooker which is quite big enough.
Whilst the apple and mint are boiling, assemble your jelly strainer.
You can use a sieve lined with muslin to strain the apple jelly if you don't have one.
Here's the contents of the jelly strainer box,
It's quite easy to assemble.
I normally stitch the muslin onto the ring as I think it's firmer.
Set the jelly strainer over a bowl or like here, a measuring jug.
You will need to know how much juice you have to calculate the sugar quantity when you make this mint jelly.
After 20 to 30 minutes,the apples and mint should have have stewed down to a pulp.
Carefully pour the mint mixture into the jelly bag.I use a soup ladle until the pan is light enough to lift safely.
For this recipe, you need to allow the juice to drip through.If you squeeze the pulp, the juice will be cloudy, so allow at least 6 hours - I left this overnight.
It won't affect the taste, just the looks of the finished recipe.
Here's the strained mint juice - I got about 3/4 pint out of the pulp.
Add 2/3 of that quantity of vinegar - so that is half a pint - take the original quantity, divide by 3 and multiply by 2. You didn't know you'd get a math lesson, did you :)
The final step in the mint jelly tutorial.
It's not complicated up to this point, just boil up apples and mint, strain overnight and then make the jelly, which is what we're going to do next.
You need an equal ratio of sugar to apple juice to make the jelly - that's the quantity of vinegar and apple juice combined.
So - 1 pint to 1lb - 1 cup, 1 cup, 400 ml, 400 g etc.
You don't need special jam sugar as the apple has plenty of pectin in it.
You will need another bunch of fresh mint.
It's times like these, that I appreciate the rampant nature of mint as it's plentiful in the garden!
Put the sugar and mint apple juice into a pan and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Whilst the juice is getting hot, finely chop the mint,
This will be in the final jelly - you don't have to have chopped mint in it if you don't want to - you can have it clear without the chopped herb in it.
Add the mint to the pan and bring the mixture up to a boil.
I use a thermometer - it is the most efficient way of making jam or jelly.
It needs to come to 220F/102C.
This takes around 10 minutes or so.
You can add a few drops of green food color if you like.
I have here as it makes it easier for you to see the foaming of the mint juice and this is what the mixture will look like when it is ready for you to test. It looks a bit bright here, but it wasn't as you can see the jars below, it looked fine.
You can test for set by dipping in a spoon and allowing the mixture to cool a little. Keep your spoon(s) in the fridge or freezer so that they will be extra cold and the testing will only take a few seconds as the jelly will reach its cooling point quickly.
Push the jelly with your finger and if it wrinkles, then it is probably ready to set.
You can use a jelly funnel if you like or pour the mint mixture straight into a sterilised jar.
Here is the finished product, sealed and labelled with the date it was made.
You will need to sterile the glass jar before you use it. Even if it's brand new, it's best to sterilise it. It only takes 10 minutes and it's critical in helping to prevent mould forming on your preserves.
You simply take a pan of water big enough to fit your jar(s) in. Pop the jar and lid into the water and bring it to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and then remove the jars using either tongs or a clean cloth.
Leave upside down to drain - job done!