A Tale of Kitchen Woe From Yesterday
Ah, a lovely summer day.
“Oh look!” says I, to Sarah Jane and Charlotte. “The apples are ready to be picked in our backyard!” They’re a little tart for fresh eating, but perfect for pies and applesauce. The ponies and bunny love them, also.
We move on to the overgrown herb patch. There’s plenty of mint – regular spearmint and golden-edged pineapple mint running rampant. We pick bunches and I proclaim that I shall teach my daughters how to make mint jelly! It is so easy. All you need to do is boil some mint leaves with apple juice and add some pectin. Who needs to buy mint jelly with all of this mint and the apple tree right here?
We harvest a couple of bushels of apples. We find a recipe that requires less prep with the apples, suggesting cores and all. This is conducive to thickening the jelly since there is more pectin in the core. Washing the apples well, we throw them in a large pot with the proper amount of water and cook them down with the mint leaves we’d washed and trimmed.
It takes some time to cook the mush because well, we have interruptions in our day and sometimes we turn it off if we go out of the kitchen, resuming the cooking when we get back. Finally that evening we realize the recipe called for some white vinegar boiled in there and so we add it to the top, mix it all together and let it sit for a bit. We store it as best as we can for the evening, keeping it cool, and resume the project the next morning.
Day 2 comes and we find several strainers and large pots and divvy up the 8 pounds of apple/mint mush. The vinegar has sort of overpowered the mint smell but we trust that this is supposed to happen. Mind you, I’d never made a mint jelly recipe with vinegar before so I hoped the smell and flavor was going to go away when we added the sugar and such… The next 24 hours of patient watching and slight pressing of mush through the sieves yields approximately 4.5 cups of very syrup-y apple/mint/vinegar liquid.
Day 3 is upon us and we eagerly combine the liquid with sugar to sweeten, set the pot to bubble and thicken into our prized mint jelly, and then go out to the barn to meet the Farrier for an overdue shoe-ing visit.
You know what happens, don’t you? It’s the same thing that happens every time I try to make maple syrup. And its the same thing that happens every time I steam carrots.
We burned the pan – the whole shebang. I add “Mint Jelly” to the shopping list and head to town.