Set the Net

Recipes and snapshots of life in Bristol Bay, AK

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Lately it seems everywhere I look I find fresh fruit and herb combinations that are insanely delicious. Some favorites I have had lately include a gorgeous tarragon, rhubarb, and strawberry galette and an incredibly yummy blueberry basil catsup. So when a friend offered me some Lemon Verbena from her garden I eagerly said yes!

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I had never encountered this herb before and it’s fresh fragrant lemony smell is intoxicating and earthy. Our raspberries are equally abundant as the fish and other berries have proven to be this year and preserving them at their peak for midwinter treats with some of this herb seemed a natural collision.

This jam is a simple no pectin preserve that comes together quickly in a small batch and is easily halved, doubled, or tripled depending on the quantities you have on hand. It also caused my four year old to inhale deeply and repeatedly ask “Mama, what smells so good?!!” when it was cooking!

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Along with jam excitement, Bronson and the F/V Sea Breeze have returned to port after what proved to be a safe and successful sockeye season. My brother in law Dustin snapped a great shot of them after a large round haul that, while is a bit grainy, shows what is likely the best feeling that happens on the water!

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This weekend we will swap boats, resupply, and as soon as the weather lays down myself along with the kids will head out to fish the Pink and Coho commercial season with Bronson and our young deckhand Graham. There is nothing like planning to load three young kids unto 32 feet of boat to make you feel a bit crazy! Provided we all return (only kidding) I’ll let you all know how it went, until then try the jam…it’s heavenly.

Red Raspberry & Lemon Verbena Jam 

makes approximately 2 1/4 pints – this recipe is easily adjusted for the volume of raspberries you have on hand just keep in mind the basic ratios given in the recipe and know cooking time will vary. If you are new to jam making and home canning please read over this canning basics pdf  & this jams and jellies publication.

You’ll need:

6 cups fresh red raspberries

2 cups organic sugar

12-15 fresh large Lemon Verbena leaves (whole)

3 tsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice

A large heavy bottomed pot with tight fitting lid to process jars in a boiling water bath

9 – 1/4 pint canning jars, with new lids, & rings (or a varied combination of sizes to equal 2 1/4 pints)

A medium wide heavy bottomed pot for jam cooking

To make:

Place your empty, disassembled, clean jars, lids, and rings into your large heavy bottomed processing pot. Fill with water until jars are covered with about 2 inches water over the tops. Sterilize the jars, lids and rings by boiling for a full 10 minutes and leave in the hot water until ready to fill with jam.

In your medium pot roughly stir together your raspberries, lemon juice, and sugar so the berries breakdown a bit and the sugar dissolves. Toss in your whole Lemon Verbena leaves and begin to cook the mixture over medium-high heat until it bubbles, foams, and boils.

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Stir frequently and continue to cook for 30-40 minutes until the mixture thickens, reduces a bit, and when you pull your spoon through the jam it does not instantly refill the space you cleared. Your jam should also cleanly slide off a cold spoon in a gelled mass indicating it is “set” as pictured below.

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Once your jam is done cooking, remove the Lemon Verbena leaves from the jam. Using tongs remove your hot, sterilized jars from the large pot of water and place near your jam. Keep the water in your large pot so you can use it for the boiling water bath without having to heat new water up.

Using a ladle fill the prepared jars to just below the threaded glass allowing for adequate headspace. Wipe the rims with a clean wet cloth and place the hot lids onto the jars. Secure the lids with the rings and tighten only finger tight.

Place your filled, closed jars into the hot water of your large pot ensuring the water is about 2 inches above the tops of the jars, cover with a tight fitting lid, and bring to a boil. Boil your jars for a full 10 minutes. Remove carefully from the water, allow to cool and check to make sure your jars have sealed by trying to depress the lid on the jar in the center. If lid does not depress or spring back it is sealed, and is shelf stable. Store your sealed jam up to a year in a cool dark place until opening. Once open keep in fridge up to two weeks. If the lid springs back, remove the ring and lid, check the jar’s rim for any nicks and reprocess with a new lid or simply enjoy this jar first!

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