Hi there!

I’m slowly working towards some simplicity within the home, but hey! It’s a lot of hard work!

I love having a go at growing my own veges and always use herbs fresh from my garden. I try to plant from seed whenever I can and have learnt to save and share my own seed for the following year. I make Award Winning preserves and pickles; and my husband brews Award Winning boutique beers as well. I love to stockpile and try to limit quick trips to the shops. I dabble in bread making and enjoy making my own stocks too.

I enjoy feeding my family good hearty meals, nothing like those tiny restaurant stacks you have to look for on the plate. My husband maintains our vehicles and machinery and we both enjoy fabricating on a small scale mostly relying on metal & timber recyclers for any materials needed.

While I don’t always have time to reply to comments, I love reading them. I hope you enjoy your stay and I hope you learn something new because I love sharing what I learn, and I'm always looking for another new skill myself.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Rhubarb & Mint Jelly

Well, it seems that if you add enough sugar, anything can taste good....even Rhubarb. It makes me wonder if Nan or Mum ever put sugar in their Rhubarb and Apple....It was far too tart for my liking....and until the other day, I thought I would never like the taste of Rhubarb. I guess it just depends on the way you serve it!

For those who are wondering what book these recipes came from, the book is called ......
"Preserves" by Catherine Atkinson & Maggie Mayhew.
Published by "Hermes House, an imprint of Anness Publishing, Wigston, Leicestershire LE18 4SE"
ISBN: 13 :  978  *  1 *  84681  * 571  *  3
ISBN: 10 :  1  * 84681  *  571  *  3   (sorry for the funny asterix's, the pc was picking up that this was a code if I typed it correctly.)

Here is a photo of the front cover....I picked this book up at a newly opened book store in Warrawong, where all the books were $5.00 each. I think this is a reasonable price for a comprehensive book like this.

Rhubarb & Mint Jelly

Sorry for those who prefer to print the recipe by copying and pasting....this looks a lot nicer, but it is definitely not printer friendly.

After cooking the Rhubarb and beginning to strain overnight.

I was too tired to cook this when it was ready, so I put it in the fridge until the following day.
Then it was time to get cooking.

My Nan and my Mum have always added a blob of butter to settle the scum that forms on the top of a rolling boil jam. This was beginning to make a scum, so I added the blob of  butter.....
Going from memory, I thought the butter would dissolve the scum, but it didn't. It did however make it nice and thick and contained in one area, so it was easier to scoop off the top.
I'm sure I have used this method and had the scum disappear before my eyes.....Hmmmmm
Here is the scum that I scooped....but I only took the photo after I had removed the mint, which is at a later step.
Use a latex elastic band to bundle the mint together...
Quicker than tying a string, and re-usable time and time again.

After boiling for what I thought was enough time to be thickening and getting close to setting point..I decided to add about half a cup of lemon juice (from the freezer) to help reach setting point. Lemon juice is high in pectin, which is what is needed sometimes to make a jam or jelly set.
adding the lemon juice

The instructions say to add the chopped mint after removing from the heat...I was weary of this, as I felt that the mint should feel cooked on the palate. So I added the mint once it started to thicken. I'm glad I did, as the fresh mint floated on the top of the jelly in the saucepan. I figured, if it floated in the saucepan, it will float in the jar....Which is not what I wanted.

I'm pleased to say that the jelly soon thickened after adding the lemon juice, I think another 20 minutes did the trick too.
I also cooked the jelly longer to make sure the mint was cooked.....but it still floated....so I decided to wait until it cooled considerably until pouring it into the jars. Having the jelly thicker, I was able to stir the mint through the jelly, and it remained mixed through. (Genius thinking on my behalf..lol)

But now I had another problem.........
The jelly would be too cool to seal the lids....I remembered that Rhonda had posted about canning in the oven with small batches, so I had a read and decided on popping them in the oven for roughly 35 minutes on a medium heat.
This method sealed them nicely once they cooled. It popped those little buttons down as soon as I tried to move them.
I think I will have to try this jelly on a cold meat like lamb or silverside. It would also be good on toast or a crumpet too. I can taste the rhubarb flavour, then comes the light minty flavour at the end. It's very delicious and very light in flavour, but I'm not sure I will make it again, unless I add the lemon juice from the start of the cooking process to help set the jelly.

4 lovely jars with a delicate flavour of Rhubarb and Mint.
I love how the freckles of mint dance through the colour of the rhubarb.
even after all that fussing, some settlement of the mint on the top still remains....Oh well.


  1. We always had fresh mint sauce, (chopped mint-white malt vinegar and sugar......)in a little crystal jug every time we had roast lamb at our house....even now I love it....but I tend to buy the mint jelly in jar.. I shouldnt be so lazy actually as I have a lovely lot of mint growing down the back! But your rhubarb and mint jelly sounds really lovely.....I grew up on rhubarb too, but it always made the roof of my mouth feel yukky!!!

  2. If your rhubarb is too tart add a little baking soda. It works a treat on gooseberries too.

    I intend to try that jam recipe - I just need a little more time for my rhubarb to get larger :)

    viv in nz

  3. Genius indeed! :) I love how instinct takes over in the kitchen. All those years of cooking make for great improvising ~ well done, Narelle! Hope all is well at your place with hubby away. Mine is just now home for a week :)

  4. That is definatly a recipe that my Nan made one of our favorites.

  5. Susanne: I have been looking for a mint jelly recipe for ages...we love the shop mint jelly that you speak of, but the thicker one.....so if you know of anyone who has a recipe for a batch that will keep in the store cupboard...let me know please.

    knutty knitter: thanks for the tip, I will try this and also tell mum about it.

    Hi Sherri: Yes, instinct is a wonderful tool to have developed over many years in the kitchen. You are lucky to have hubby home again...My hubby is STILL AWAY and wont be back for another 2 weeks, but then he is gone for 4 days and back for 6, so now he WILL BE HOME for Christmas...WooooHoooooo. Overall, we are doing ok, better than earlier on, sometimes we just take one day at a time, and that's ok too.

    Cathy: I hadn't heard of it, until I went looking for things to make with all this Rhubarb.

  6. My gran use to put it on lamb and then put it in the oven.

  7. Thanks Cathy, I might give that a try with the next roast...knowing the flavour of the jam, I think it will make a lovely meal.

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  9. I did this today, and I am now turning the jars up side down to make the mint spread inside.
    Hopefully it will soon get a bit firmer.
    Tasting the remains in the pot was a delight :)

    1. Please let us know how turning the jars upside down went. Did the mint spread through the jar? Did they seal well, even though the jar lid was wet.I've never turned any of my preserves upside down.


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