Lemon Balm and Mint Jelly
(Photo is of the batch I just made. Isn't it purty?
1-1/2 cups lemon balm leaves
1/2 cup spearmint leaves
Grated rind of one fresh lemon (optional)
2 cups water
2 Tb. plain rice vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
About 3-1/2 cups sugar
One, 3 oz foil package liquid pectin
Four sterilized, 1/2 pint jelly jars, kept HOT until ready for use.
Wash and drain herbs, coarsely chop. Place in medium sauce pan along with lemon rind and macerate (bruise) with the bottom of a drinking glass. Add water and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts boiling, remove from heat and let steep for 15-20 minutes.
Strain out about 1-1/2 cups of the liquid into a deep sauce pan. (Strain again if you want to remove all the leafy bits...me, I don't mind a few!) Add vinegar, salt and sugar. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Be careful not to let it boil over!
Add pectin and return to a boil for about a minute. Remove from heat and skim foam. Pour hot jelly into hot, sterilized jelly jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Seal with melted paraffin or metal lids/rings. Makes four jars.
*Feel free to adjust proportion of lemon balm to mint to taste.
*Lemon rind is optional. Be careful to use only the yellow part, not the white underneath.
*It's best to prepare the jars first and leave them submerged in hot water until ready for use. Lay a kitchen towel on the counter and use tongs to remove the jars from the hot water and place on the towel before pouring jelly. (Sometimes the hot jar on the cold counter can cause it to crack.)
*Suggest you combine sugar, salt and vinegar in a small bowl, and have the pectin pouch snipped open and ready to go, because once the liquid starts boiling things move fast!
*This recipe is very versatile for any variety of sweet or savory herbs you have on hand...basils, thymes, mints, sages, even edible smell-goods like lavender! Try different combinations!