Tuesday, July 2, 2013

To Mint or Not to Mint?

So we got back from a two week vacation
and the garden had overgrown
as had the weeds!!! - eek.

My herb bed was really needing attention,
especially the mint (seemingly on steroids)!
I began pulling and cutting ruthlessly
but just couldn't bring myself to
throw the cuttings over the fence.
So - instead of getting some
real work done I took the mint
in and decided what to do with it. 

First I dried some of the leaves:

Wash and spin dry plucked
mint leaves. I used my lettuce spinner.
Heat oven to 170F - turn off.
Single layer leaves on parchment paper
and place into warm oven for approx. 1 hour
or until completely dried and crunchy.

This was a good time to get my
laundry done and "almost" get 
the luggage unpacked!

Store uncrushed dried mint in an 
airtight jar.

Some uses:
Steep in boiling water for Mint Tea
Crush and use in soups and stews
Sprinkle on steamed vegetables

Next - I decided to make Mint Jelly....

2 Cups firmly packed mint leaves
Chop Mint finely to release the oils
Place in sauce pan and add:
2 Cups Water
Heat to boiling - remove from heat
and allow to steep for 20 minutes.

Pour prepared "tea" into a dampened
cheese cloth lined sieve.
Allow to drip undisturbed for at least
2 hours or overnight.
(I let mine drip while I went into town
to finally get some much needed 
groceries and also to pick up some
liquid pectin)
Prepare jars and lids 
(This made approx. 8 small 125 ml jars)

Measure 1 3/4 Cup of Mint infusion
Stir in 3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 3/4 Cups Sugar
5-7 drops green good colouring (optional)
I chose not to add the colouring
but after filling 3 jars without I 
decided to add just a wee bit (3 drops).
Over high heat bring mixture
to full rolling boil that can't be stirred down.
Add 1 pouch (85 ml) liquid pectin
Boil hard for 1 minute - stirring constantly
Remove from heat and quickly seal
in prepared jars.

This is how it turned out.
I like the one with a bit of food colouring
and I even added some of the mint leaf pulp into
the last jar - just to experiment.
(not recommended as it's too chewy but it did look nice).

Mint Jelly uses - A traditional condiment to serve with
pork and lamb or as a delicious glaze
brushed on roasted meat and turkey.
Decorate the jars and use as hostess gifts???

Well - there you have it.
I "saved" the mint but didn't get much of anything else done - sigh!
But I had fun .....

Till next time ......... mustering up some ambition to weed the rest of the garden!


  1. That took me back, Rosella. My mother always dried mint - it was one of her favourite flavourings when I was growing up. She used a lot of mint to season things like Tabouleh. Just the scent takes me back. You were certainly industrious!

  2. You are one industrious woman! What a pretty result to your labor and lots of mint to enjoy past it's season. Now I'm thinking about a nice big bowl of Tabbouleh...

  3. I have not have not come across a lot of recipes that use mint, but it sure adds a nice flavor when I have. It would be nice to have it in the garden. Your mint jelly looks pretty in those jars.

  4. I love to put some mint jelly on a block of cream cheese and use it as a cracker dip. It is really good.

    1. That sounds delicious (instead of red pepper jelly)!. Someone also suggested to me to use chopped mint in a Watermelon/Feta Cheese Salad. Mint is such a healthy and versatile herb. Glad I didn't waste it.

  5. Very pretty jars of mint jelly! Thank you for sharing the process, too. Don't spend much time in the garden weeding. A little bit every day will get the job done. Hopefully!

  6. Mint is about the only thing in my garden that I cannot kill :) Too bad Bill does not like anything minty, but I love having the fresh sprigs for garnishes all summer long. Your jelly is beautiful!

  7. The mint jelly is pretty in the jars. I have a few kinds of mint growing, you may just have given me the incentive to do something with it:)

  8. I can smell the freshness of mint. My granddaughter loves eating fresh mint in her back yard and always offers me a leaf or two to add to my water. Mint Jelly is so pretty in those little jars.

  9. I can smell it, and taste it! You were a busy beaver when you got home. We've been home for 6 days and I just got home suitcases unpacked yesterday, and laundry completed. We had company staying in our home while we were gone and so they lingered a bit and now I feel like I am caught up. It's fun to go and it's fun to come back and enjoy the garden and all that it offers.