Diving into canning I wanted to start with something that was easy and wasn’t a large financial burden if I messed up. With that being said, I was growing mint in the garden so what better choice than mint jelly!
Important note: verify your elevation before starting canning. The elevation at which you live will effect your canning time [during a water bath] and or weight needed [during pressure canning]. The process below is a standard 0-1000 ft elevation. See the pined post under “Getting Started” called “Elevation Rules” to see what adjustments you need to make (if any).
[Yield: (4) 8oz Jelly Jars]
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 4 8oz ‘jelly’ jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings)
- 1 water bath
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 stainless steel sauce pan (or dutch oven) with lid
- 1 jelly bag or cheesecloth
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jelly jars to cool on)
- 1 measuring tool
- 1 1/2c firmly packed mint leaves
- 2 1/4c water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice (prefer fresh but bottled is okay)
- 3 1/2c granulated sugar
- 1-1 1/2 pouch (3oz each) liquid pectin
- (optional) 1 tsp butter
- (optional) green food coloring
- Inspect each of your 4 jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Place wire rack into bottom of water bath with ‘arms’ up to allow jars to be placed.
- Fill your water bath with enough water to cover each of the jelly jars with 2-3″ of liquid and place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil).
- Rinse mint leaves thoroughly with cold water and then shake off all excess moisture. Once dried, chop finely.
- In a large stainless steel sauce pan (or dutch oven) combine mint leaves and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heel. Once boiling, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
- Ready the jelly bag (or cheesecloth) over a large glass measuring cup. Pour mint liquid into bag and let drop into you have 1 3/4c of strained liquid.
- In a large stainless steel sauce pan, combine strained liquid, lemon juice and sugar. Over high-heat, stir constantly until the rolling boil can not be stirred down.
- Stir in complete contents of liquid pectin pouch. Boil hard, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- (Optional) Add in 1 tsp of butter and stir until melted. [Hint: Butter will help cut down and even eliminate the foam caused by stirring.]
- (Optional) Add a few drops of green food coloring and stir.
- Remove from heat and skim off any remaining foam.
- Remove empty jelly jars from water bath by lifting the wire rack and setting the arms on the rim of the water bath. Then, using jar lifter empty and remove the jar from the water and immediately fill with mint-jelly using the ladle and funnel ensuring 1/4in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten. [Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel.]
- Once finger tightened, return to warm water bath to avoid thermal shock. [Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.] Lower wire rack once full.
- Place lid on canner, return to high heat and bring water to a full rolling boil.
- Once boiling, set timer for 10 minutes [refer to your elevations processing time for correct info].
- After 10 minutes, turn off heat and remove the lid. Wait an additional 5 minutes.
- Once again, lifting wire rack and placing arms on canner rim, use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- (And now the hard part) wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed. Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.