Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fig Jam

While perusing my local family market, I came across mission figs. Mission figs are the deep purple figs with the ruby center of delicate seeds. When I see figs, two things come to mind; broiled figs with goat cheese and honey, and the ever so inviting fig jam. Fig jam congers up memories of fall for me.

We had a fig tree when I was growing up. I remember how my father would wrestle the tree when he would prune it; white sap oozing from every branch that was cut. He was always so proud when he would emerge in the kitchen with handfuls of figs. I did not come to appreciate the figs, however, until I got older.
Fig jam is surprisingly easy to make. Simply cut the figs in half if they are small, or quarters if they are larger. Pour sugar over the top. I use 2 cups of sugar to 8 pounds of figs. Let it set over night so the sugar can melt into the figs to release their juices.
The next morning simmer the pot on a low to medium setting. Stir frequently to let the figs cook evenly. Skim the brown foam of the top as it boils.
A word to the wise.....there is a fine line between jam that congeals and jam that caramelizes. You do NOT want the latter. It will taste like bad cough syrup. Watch your jam. Get a plate that has been in the freezer. Pour a small amount of the jam on the plate and tip it. The jam should ripple off the plate slowly.
When the jam is ready pour the mixture into hot sterilized jars, making sure there is no excess air bubbles by running a butter knife on the inside. Wipe the edges and tops of the jars with a warm wet kitchen cloth to remove any excess droplets of jam. Seal the jars with the tops. Boil the jars in a hot water bath for 30 minutes.

The jam makes a wonderful accompaniment to Thanksgiving dinner, or a sweet present for the holidays. Happy jam making!