Serves: Makes 6 (½-pint) jars of jam
- 4 pounds (9 cups) fresh boysenberries
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 24 large fresh lemon verbena leaves
Procedures:With big berry taste and lemony herbal notes, this vibrant jam is a delicious twist on traditional boysenberry spreads. It took many trials and test batches to figure out the best way to capture the bright herbal essence of fresh lemon verbena in this jam. Placing the whole leaves in a cheesecloth bag and cooking them along with the fruit diminished the flavor, as did mincing the leaves; however, when the leaves are pulverized along with sugar in a spice or coffee grinder, the oils cling to the sugar. Adding the sugar during the last 5 minutes of cooking is just enough time to dissolve the sugar and perfume the fruit. Be sure your spice or coffee grinder is absolutely clean; if not, clean it by adding a few spoonfuls of uncooked white rice and grinding it to a fine powder. Tap out the rice powder, wipe the inside, and proceed to make the lemon verbena sugar.
- Combine the boysenberries and 1¾ cups of the sugar in a large pot. Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the berries to release some of their juices.
- Meanwhile, in a clean spice or coffee grinder or mini food processor, process the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and lemon verbena leaves until finely ground. Set aside.
- Wash the jars, including the lids and screw bands, in hot, soapy water. Alternatively, run the jars through the regular cycle of your dishwasher; wash the lids and screw bands by hand. Bring water to a boil in a water bath canner.
- Place the pot with the berry mixture over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Decrease the heat so the mixture simmers slowly without splattering, and cook for 15 minutes. Use a potato masher or the back of a metal spoon to break down the berries.
- Using a ladle and working in batches, transfer about 4 cups of the berry mixture to a fine-mesh strainer set over a bowl. Using a silicone spatula, press the mixture through the strainer to extract the seeds. Discard the seeds. Return the strained berry mixture to the pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Skim any foam from the surface and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the lemon verbena sugar, stir to dissolve the sugar, and cook 5 minutes longer.
- Remove the jam from the heat. Using a wide-mouth funnel and filling one jar at a time, ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove any air bubbles by running a long wooden utensil, such as a chopstick or wooden skewer, between the jar and the jam. Wipe the rims clean. Seal according to the manufacturer's directions. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Wait 5 minutes, and then lift the canning rack and, using a canning jar lifter, transfer the jars to a towel-lined, sturdy rimmed baking sheet and let them rest. Check the seals, wipe the jars, and label.
Storing: Store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year.