Monday, 1 August 2016

Lemon Verbena

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
glass jars

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.




  1. Sorry to hear about your tooth problems but glad it is healing now. Lemon verbena is a nervine herb which means that it supports your nervous system. It acts very like lemon balm but there is no contra-indication for low thyroid. It is one of the best plants for drying as it will keep it's scent for over two years. Be careful how you overwinter it as it won't survive frosts. I keep mine in a pot and let it sit in the summerhouse all winter. It is a deciduous plant, so when it loses all its leaves and you think it has died on you come spring, wait a little longer and they will return. I've bought some new plants for the Sanctuary this year and one of my apprentices harvested some fresh leaves and made a tea with marshmallow leaves. It was the most soothing and delightful tea I've had for a long time. You may like to try it. Lemon verbena is soothing so you can take it as a nighttime tea before you go to bed or if you are feeling stressed to calm you down. I hope you get great joy from your new friend.

  2. Hi Sarah

    Thank you for that. I always learn so much from you. My Lemon Verbena was a gift from a friend and it is in a separate pot which I can move somewhere frost free and indeed does look as though as if it has died and then starts sprouting. I shall have to have a go at the tea that sounds really lovely. Thank you so much as usual for sharing your knowledge. I do hope that you are feeling loads better than you were.

    Take care.




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