Nectarine Lemon Verbena Jam
The flavor of this Nectarine Lemon Verbena Jam is just insanely beautiful and so much more complex than a plain nectarine jam. The Lemon Verbena herb has a different lemon flavor and quality than lemons. It’s more like a lemon perfume rather than the bright lemon punch from the fruit. I love making jam but we don’t tend to eat a lot of it in our house. Toast with jam just isn’t something we eat regularly but I found Mr. Baking With Chickens buying loaves of bread just to enjoy this jam on buttered toast for breakfast and dessert.
Making jam seems more intimidating than it actually is. All you’re doing is cooking down fruit with a lot of sugar until the sugar turns into molten lava consistency. Sugar is a preservative and jamming is a way to preserve peak seasonal fruit flavors for use in the winter. Infusing and incorporating herbs and other ingredients is a fun way to experiment with flavor combinations and whatever is growing in your garden. My neighbor Mark brought over a giant bag of nectarines from his tree, so we be jammin’! Lemon verbena would also pair well with apricots, berries, plums, and melons.
Love these flavors? You may also like my Peach Rose Petal Jam (coming soon!) or Lemon Verbena Shortbread Cookies!
How to Can Jam Using Water Bath Method
Canning jars (mason jars) with two-piece lids
Large stock pot
Rack that fits inside the pot
1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. Enough water that it covers the jars when you put them in with at least 1-inch of water above the top.
2. Place a low rack or something on the bottom of the pot so the jars don’t touch the bottom of the pot.
3. Sterilize empty mason jars and lids in the boiling water. Use heat-proof rubber tongs to safely handle the jars. Remove and dry on a clean towel.
4. Fill sterilized jars with hot jam. Be careful, the cooked jam is like hot lava. Wipe off any spilled jam on the sides and top of the jar.
5. Place the lids on and screw on the ring seal.
6. Place the filled jam jars into the boiling water. Bring it back to a rolling full boil for a few minutes.
7. Remove from the water bath and place on clean towel to cool. Over the next 5 minutes to 15 minutes, you’ll hear the lids make a small popping sound as they pressurize. If the lid does not pop down, it has not been canned and sealed. Try again, or refrigerate and eat that jar first.
For more detailed step-by-step instructions, visit this how-to guide by Spruce Eats.
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Get the Recipe
Nectarine Lemon Verbena Jam
Wonderfully-scented nectarine jam with a hint of lemon verbena made with no added pectin. Great with soft cheese, spread on toast with butter, oatmeal, yogurt, or spooned over ice cream. Adapted from The New York Times Cooking
Time to Prepare:1.5 hour
Makes 4 half-pint jars
1 lemon, juice, seeds and zest (for natural pectin)
3 pounds ripe nectarines, pitted and sliced with skin on
3 and 1/4 cups granulated sugar
10 sprigs fresh lemon verbena
1. Put cut nectarines, sugar, pinch of salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice into a large pot.
2. Put lemon verbena leaves and lemon seeds into a cheesecloth bag (so it's easier to fish out before canning), put into the pot with the fruit and sugar. As the fruit cooks down, submerge the bag into the liquid.
3. Boil on medium, switch to low/med simmer for about an hour until the liquid starts to have a thick jammy consistency. Stir consistently with a heat-proof spatula. When the jam is getting thick and syrupy, pull out the cheesecloth bag and discard.
4. Use the cold plate test method to see if jam consistency is right. Place a small plate in the freezer, drop a small amount of jam onto the cold plate, wait 30 seconds, and push the jam to see if it wrinkles slightly to check the consistency. Should be thick and gooey, and like molten lava, not thin and runny. If you’d like to use a thermometer, setting point for jam is 220 degrees F.
5. Pour jam into clean, sterilized mason jars. Can using a water bath method if you’d like to store the jam, or just spoon into a container without canning and eat it all before it goes bad.
6. Slather that jam on a piece of bread with a slice of soft cheese and enjoy!
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