These green herb jam balls are a genius way to put a summer bounty of tender herbs, such as basil, mint, and cilantro, to a tasty new use. Steaming herbs, a trick we learned from cookbook author Paula Wolfert, tenderizes herbs by exposing them to gentle heat and helps preserve their flavor and color for an herb-and-chard jam studded with preserved lemon and currants. Submerging the herb mixture in olive oil seals it off from the air, extending its life in the fridge. Cubes of feta infuse the oil with a hint of briny flavor; we like Valbreso feta as well as Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value brand, which comes in blocks that are easy to slice. Pair individual jars with fresh baguettes for a great gift. Spread them on crostini for an instant appetizer, or serve them with kebabs or lamb chops hot off the grill. Scale down the size of the balls and cubes of feta and pack into the jar sizes of your choice; just be sure to cover completely with olive oil.

June 2019


Credit: Greg DuPree

Recipe Summary

5 hrs 45 mins
45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Combine currants and lemon juice in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature 1 hour. Drain currants, and set aside.

  • While currants soak, bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil in a large pot over high. Place chard in a large steamer basket. Place basket over boiling water, and cover. Reduce heat to medium-low, and steam until chard has just wilted, about 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, mint, and parsley. Cover and steam until herbs have wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove herb mixture, and spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; let cool 10 minutes. Squeeze cooled herb mixture to remove excess water; finely chop.

  • Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high until shimmering. Add coriander and Aleppo pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until spices smell fragrant and darken, about 10 seconds. Immediately stir in chopped herb mixture and chopped thyme; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often, until moisture evaporates, about 10 minutes. Stir in salt, preserved lemon, 1 tablespoon oil, and drained currants. Remove from heat, and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

  • Shape mixture into 24 (11/4-inch) balls (about 1 tablespoon each). Place 4 herb balls and 4 feta cubes in each of 6 (8-ounce) jars with lids. Pour in enough oil to cover mixture (about 1/2 cup per jar). Place 1 smashed garlic clove, 1 thyme sprig, and 1 lemon peel strip in each jar. Attach lids, and refrigerate at least 4 hours or up to 5 days. Bring to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before serving. Serve with crostini or crackers.