Monday, May 18, 2009
Rosemary Mint Wine Jelly
This has been a cool, wet spring, so the mint in the garden has thrived. What to do with it all? I dried some of it by hanging bunches upside down in a closet (it's supposed to be dark to preserve the green color).
But I also tried making mint jelly. The Ball Blue Book's recipe was not practical for me, as it called for a lot of apples, and the making of apple jelly juice as a preliminary to making mint jelly. Apples and mint aren't at their peak at the same time, and none of the apples from last year were still good. They had shriveled in the refrigerator drawer.
I looked for a recipe online. The first recipe I tried wasn't very good: it had too much vinegar, and it was very tart, and not very minty. But the second recipe I tried was really good: it was from the April 1990 Gourmet, and I found it at the Epicurious website. I had to get rosemary and wine from a neighbor. Rosemary isn't hardy here, and it has to live in a pot that is brought into a greenhouse in winter. And you can't buy wine in the grocery store here for some reason, although there is a winery in Baxter.
Rosemary Mint Wine Jelly
2 1/2 cups firmly packed mint leaves
1/4 cup fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups dry white wine
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cup sugar
a 3-ounce pouch liquid pectin
In a food processor or blender blend together the mint, rosemary, and 1 cup of the wine until the herbs are chopped fine and transfer the mixture to a bowl. Bring the remaining cup of wine to a boil, add it to the herb mixture, and let the herb mixture stand, covered for 45 minutes. Strain the herb mixture through a sieve lined with several layers of rinsed cheesecloth set over a large bowl, pressing hard on the solids, and add 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Measure the liquid to make sure there is exactly 2 cups. If there is not, add additional lemon juice. Transfer the liquid to a pot, stir in the sugar, stirring until the mixture is combined well, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring frequently. Stir in the pectin quickly, bring the mixture again to a rolling boil, stirring constantly, and boil it one minute, stirring. Remove the kettle from the heat, skim off any foam, and ladle the mixture immediately into 4 sterilized half pint jars, filling to within 1/8th inch of the top. Wipe the rims with a dampened cloth, and seal the jars with the lids. Process in a boiling water bath for five minutes.