Holiday condiments: Mint Jelly and Cranberry-Apple Relish

At this time of year, it’s wonderful to give and receive homemade food as gifts. I love to swap and give away my preserved jams and pickles, and for a few select friends and family, I will give them some of these holiday-themed and seasonal condiments. These are both very easy to make and safe to can in a water bath – no special equipment needed!

Mint Jelly

(This is delicious on roasted lamb and turkey, or as a topping on toast or biscuits.)

  • 1-3/4 cups mint infusion (about 1-1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, boiled in 3 cups water)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 3-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 1 pouch liquid pectin

(Note: this recipe is best with storebought and unflavored pectin, because homemade pectin, like from apples or lemons, add that fruit’s flavor to the jelly.) Boil the mint infusion and sugar for about 5 minutes. When the mixture is at a rolling boil (it doesn’t stop boiling when you stir it) add the food coloring, lemon juice and pectin. Keep boiling and stir constantly for one minute, and add a pat of butter to reduce the foam. Ladle into sterilized jars and boil for 10 minutes in a hot water bath.

Cranberry-Apple Relish

(Could this be any faster or easier? No. Not it could not. Enjoy giving this as holiday gifts, and try it with your Christmas turkey or roast.)

  • 6 chopped apples (various types)
  • 4-5 cups chopped cranberries
  • 2 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1 cup water 
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Simmer the fruit and water for about 20 minutes, and add the cinnamon. Add walnuts, too, if you like, and simmer for about 5 more minutes. Ladle immediately into hot, sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath for about 10 minutes.

Bonus condiment — Hot Cranberry Salsa! Got extra cranberries? Put them in a baking pan with chunks of onion, garlic gloves, and whole jalapenos (remove the stems), and sprinkle sugar on top of everything.

Roast everything together in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30-45 minutes (until the berries and vegetables are all soft).  Transfer to a blender, add a cup of orange juice, and pulse until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. This can also be canned and processed in a hot water bath to seal. *Warning: it’s pretty spicy; you can scrape the seeds out of the jalapenos before roasting to cool it down a little.*

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