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Back in the spring when I was at the nursery picking out some herbs to plant in my garden I had a list of must have herbs. I found everything I needed, but then went back when I noticed a larger pot of mint that I had grabbed. I use a lot of mint in the summer so I grabbed it and put the smaller one back. Yes, mint grows quickly, but bigger is always better, right? I got home and noticed much to my dismay that in my haste, I grabbed lemon balm, not mint! While I like lemon balm, it isn’t something I always use. So, I did what anyone would do. I took to the internet in search of recipes to use lemon balm with. I was going to need use up a lot since I had such a large plant and I can only drink so much infused water and tea!

We’ve been in high gear making jam this year, so much that we’ll probably skip next season! I had to add this one last jam because we didn’t have anything using raspberry and it’s one of our favorite berries. I loved the idea of infusing the sugar with the lemon balm and creating a natural, simple flavor. I first tried the recipe without using the additional lemon juice since the original author never advised when to use it, but the lemon flavor didn’t shine through. The sugar was heavily fragrant, but somewhat lost in the cooking process. Then, I thought I’d try just the lemon juice since the lemon balm had been lost originally, but that didn’t produce the results I wanted either. The final result is a lovely raspberry jam that has a hint of lemon that is perfect. It doesn’t overpower the raspberry, rather bring out the freshness of the summer’s bounty.

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Raspberry Lemon Balm Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch (about 1 – 1 1/2 cups) lemon balm, flowers removed
  • 4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 lbs Red Raspberries
  • 1 lemon, juiced

Combine the lemon balm and sugar in a covered dish and leave overnight. The longer you allow it to sit, the more fragrant it will become.

When you are ready to prepare the jam, sterilize your jars, lids, and anything else you will be using.

Place the raspberries in a non-reactive pot and simmer gently on low heat for 10 minutes or until the fruit it tender and has released their juices. Using a spatula, press the raspberries against the bottom of the pan to help this process along.

Place a fine mesh sieve over a bowl and pour 1 cup of the cooked raspberries. Add the strained mixture back into the pot. *If you prefer a seedless jam, then strain all of the raspberry mixture through the sieve.

Remove the lemon balm from the sugar and add it to the pot with raspberries. Stir continuously over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a rapid boil for 10 to 15 minutes or until the mixture reaches 220 F on a candy thermometer.

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice. Allow the mixture to cool for a 2 to 3 minutes. Pour the jam into you jars and then wipe the surface of each jar clean and top with hot lid and band. Close snugly, but not too tightly. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove jars and allow for them to cool in a spot where they will not be moved or bumped. As the lids seal, you will hear that lovely popping sound. Check all of the lids after 24 hours to ensure a good seal. The lids should not flex back and forth.

Yields 4 pint jars.

Adapted from Yummly, originally from Thistle Confections

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