I have Lemon Verbena growing in the garden and I want to get some dried for use in a pot pourri but I have also been looking for other uses for this particular herb. The herb itself has a beautiful lemon citrusy aroma and I first came across it in a bought pot pourri which was very unusual and smelt lovely.
Anyways everything I grow usually has to earn its keep so I wanted to do something a little different and I came upon this recipe for a Lemon Verbena Jelly. It sounds lovely but as I have never tried it before it is a new one to me although it is described as a "subtle and elegant jelly" and a good one for afternoon tea but apparently can be used as a glaze for roast chicken towards the end of its cooking time or can be added to meat juices in the pan to make gravy. Its that kind of alternative use that makes a preserve more than earn its keep.
The recipe comes from Gifts from the Garden by Debora Robertson ISBN 978-0-85783-081-4. Its a lovely little book that has lots of different and useful thing to have a go at.
45g lemon verbena leaves stripped from the stalks
plus 4 tablespoons of finely shredded leaves
1kg cooking apples
juice of 2 lemons
zest of 1 lemon pared in strips with a sharp vegetable peeler removing all traces of the white bitter pith
Approx 600g granulated sugar
Place 40g of the verbena leaves in a pan with 400ml of water and bring to the boil. Boil for 1 minute and then leave to cool and infuse. Strain through a sieve into a jug. Discard the leaves.
Do not peel or core the apples simply chop them into chunks and place in a large pan with the lemon verbena infusion, lemon juice, zest and just enough water to cover the apples. Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for an hour or so until the apples are soft and pulpy.
Tip into a jelly bag and suspend over a bowl leaving for a minimum of four hours or overnight. Pop a couple of saucers in the freezer.
Chop the remaining verbena leaves very finely. Measure the juice and then return to a clean preserving pan. For every 600ml of juice add 450g o sugar. Heat gently stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil rapidly for 10 to 15 minutes until setting point is reached (this is what the cold saucers are for). To test pop some of the hot liquid onto a cold saucer if the jam is ready to set as it cools on the saucer it will create a skin and wrinkle. You can see if it is wrinkling by gently pushing your index finger along the surface of the jam. If no wrinkle the jam is not quite ready.
Remove the pan from the heat skimming off any scum and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Stir in the lemon verbena leaves and pot up in warm sterilised jars.
So guess what I will be doing one night this week!
Catch you soon.