Saturday, August 22, 2009

Your Mission - Fig Jam

Summer is coming to an end. It isn't the back to school ads that tipped me off, it was the figs filling up the grocery shelves. It almost makes the end of summer palatable. Almost. (The Halloween decorations are another story. I suppose I should be thankful that the Christmas decorations aren't out quite yet. I digress.)

Portland is packed with yellow fig trees. In a few weeks the neighborhood will be carpeted with fallen figs and yellow jackets. I wish I could say that these were delicious, but I can't. I have yet to find a way to make them really enjoyable. Any Ideas?

My heart belongs to the California Mission Figs. Black/ purple beauties with a sweet floral flavor. Lots of little seeds that remind me of eating fig newtons as a kid. I buy them by the pound, nearly daily, when they are in season.

Yesterday I found mission figs on sale for $3 a pound. I bit the bullet and bought 8 pounds. 8 POUNDS... what was I thinking? Once faced with 8 pounds of sweet, sweet figginess I realized there was no way to eat all of these AND actually leave the house. I have been wanting to try fig jam and felt it was now or never.

I am not going to walk you through the actual canning of jam. I followed basic jam canning protocol. If you are unsure of your canning ability, try this recipe out with a friend or family member who is a practiced canner. I tried to teach a friend how to can, and she didn't speak to me for weeks afterward, so I would pick your teacher carefully.

That said, this is a super simple recipe. There is no pectin, a small amount of sugar and the sweet fig flavor shines through. I made two batches. In the first batch I quartered all the fruit, it turned out more like a preserve. In the second I pureed it, which made a thick jam. Both taste delicious!

Fig Jam
I needed 7 pint jars for the quartered figs and 8 for the pureed - sterilized
new lids and rings for each jar - sterilized
4 pounds figs - pureed or quartered
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced.

1. In a large soup pot add water and sugar. Simmer until sugar is melted.
2. Add 2 pounds of the figs. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often. After about 15 minutes the figs will turn a beautiful shade of purple and it will start to thicken.

3. After 30 minutes add the rest of the figs and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until all the figs are cooked and the jam is thick.
4. Add lemon juice and zest, stir in well.

At this point the jam is ready to be spooned into your sterilized jars and sealed.

This jam is wonderful on goat cheese.
Other fig ideas:
Roasted figs with marscarpone cheese
Pizza with figs, blue cheese, and argula

How do you eat figs?

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't though about fig jam. I've filled my freezer with raspberry, blueberry, blackberry and strawberry.
    Why not fig? Yours, by the way, looks delicious.