Saturday, September 10, 2016

Figs Aplenty: Jam Time!

Most of the past several years, we've had a spotty fig crop.  We've picked some, and left some to the birds and squirrels and raccoons.  This year, the fig trees came into their own, and we had ZILLIONS of figs.  I brought figs into work, gave them to neighbors, ate lots of them fresh, and still had oodles and skoodles of figs.  

So, fig jam!  I adore the fancy fig jam that they sell at Whole Foods and thought I'd try to make my own.   Since I wasn't sure whether it was made from green calmyrna type or brown turkey type figs, I figured (you see what I did there) that I'd try both!

Step one, get a big basket of figs.  These are the violetta brown figs with strawberry colored insides.

Cut the figs into quarters and put into a large pot.   Add orange juice, and olive oil flavored with orange and lemon oils, and about 3 cups of sugar.  I used a combination of palm sugar and white cane sugar.

Bring to a slow rolling boil, and skim off the seedy foam that forms.  Cook until reduced in volume by a third to a half, and will coat a spoon or gel up when you put a half tsp on a small plate in the fridge.

I poured the jam into pint rubbermaid containers and froze it.  You could put into canning jars and water bath can it to store outside refrigeration/freezer space.  Or you could put down paraffin on top, as my mom used to, and store at room temperature, but I'm not positive there's enough sugar in this recipe for that-- best to be safe and do freezer or water bath.

I did a batch with the green figs as well.  The brown fig jam is more solid and richer, with orange and clove notes.   The green fig jam is more uniform in consistency and tastes of the lemon juice and cardamom.

Simple Fig Jam

1.5 to 2 gallons of ripe figs, cut into small pieces
1 cup coconut or palm sugar (dark sugar)
2 cups white sugar
1 cup lemon juice or 1 cup orange juice
1/4 c meyer lemon infused olive oil or 1/4 c blood orange infused olive oil
2 tsp ground cardamom or 1 tsp ground cloves plus half tsp cinnamon

Bring to a slow rolling boil, then turn down to a simmer.  Skim the foamy seeds off the top multiple times.  Reduce to about half the volume, or until the thicker mixture coats a spoon or gels up well when you put a teaspoon on a small plate and put it in the fridge.   I got 7 pint containers worth out of this volume.


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