A few years ago, I started using lemon verbena to scent preserves. It's especially wonderful with strawberries and blueberries. And when you add peaches, it's positively magical. I use this conserve stirred into yogurt, warmed and spooned over ice cream, or served with pound cake. And for a completely different twist, stir a smashed garlic clove or two, marinate chicken or pork, then barbeque. Note: I specify frais de bois or Marie de bois, but any ripe, small, farm-fresh berry will do. I like the woodland berries as they can be kept whole, making a very pretty conserve. There is not sufficient sugar to can this safely, so freeze or refrigerate for up to a month. —MrsWheelbarrow
frais de bois, Marie de bois, or other woodland strawberry
frozen or fresh peaches, pureed - I prefer pinkish peaches
lemon verbena, six leaves set aside
In This Recipe
In a large glass or ceramic bowl, hull the strawberries, leaving them whole. Add the sugar, lemon verbena and lemon juice. Macerate overnight in the refrigerator.
In a preserving pan or other deep pot that holds at least four quarts, add the berries with the sugar, verbena and lemon juice. Bring to a full rolling boil, then add the peach puree and bring back to a boil. Stir constantly as the puree will want to stick and burn.
Bring the mixture up to 220°. Stir. Stir. Stir. Boil for 4 minutes at 220°, skim any foam - there shouldn't be much - then remove the verbena stalks and funnel into sterilized jars. Add two verbena leaves to each jar, and cover.