First of all I want to sa that figs are hard to find fresh here in the mod-Atlantic unless you know some one who has a tree. The one person I know who has a tree didn’t get many this year. And the price at the grocery store? Um, I could buy a lot of yarn for that price.
I have been volunteering as a kitchen assistant at a local cooking school. You get to do a lot of dishes but you are assisting and learning too. I have learned to make sushi so far and I am really looking forward to the pasta class this coming Friday. Although I am not looking forward to all of the dishes on that one! But this past Saturday was harvest canning.
There were four recipes made and while they were all good only two are ones that I would make for myself. And me being me, I had to adapt and tweak them slightly.
I really liked the Spiced Fig Jam from Small Batch Preserving. It used dried figs! And dried figs are easy to find. And actually they are reasonably priced.
One note about figs once you plump them up in water is that theya re a bit sticky.
I am posting the recipe here the way that I made it with a few minor tweaks.
Spiced Fig Jam
8 ounces dried figs*
2-1/4 cups of water
4 cups of sugar**
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
5 tablespoons Ball Flex Batch classic***
1/2 teaspoon minced lemon zest (dried or fresh)
1/2 teaspoon minced orange zest (dried or fresh)
Put your figs and water together in a bowl. Let it sit at least 8 hours or overnight.
Prepare canner, jars, and lids.
Drain the water from the figs, reserving it. Pull the stems off the figs. Place into a food processor with a chopping blade. Add a little bit of the reserved water. Puree the figs until pulverized.
Measure the figs and add enough of the reserved water to make 3 cups.
Put the measured figs & soaking water into a wide pan. Add the pectin and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the sugar, spices, and orange and lemon zest. Bring back to a full boil and boil hard for one full minute, stirring constantly.
Remove from the heat. Ladle the hot jam into the prepared jars. Leave 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims carefully and put on the lids and bands. Process in a how water bath for 10 minutes.****
My recipe made 5 8-ounce jars with some left over. I was able to fill a 4-ounce jar and still had a bit left over. So prepare extra jars just in case.
* I used dried Mission figs which are darker and more flavorful. Check the bag weight since the sizes seem to vary. The bag I bought was 7 ounces. The color of the finished jam will be determined by the type of fig you use.
**The original recipe called for 4-1/2 cups of sugar. I found it a bit sweet and reduced it bu 1/2 cup
***The original recipe calls for one box of pectin. The directions for the Ball Flex Batch say 6 tablespoons equal one box. I found the original recipe a little bit stiff so I only used 5 tablespoons. The next time I will use 4 to see how it sets up.
****The original recipe says to process for only 5 minutes. Almsot every jam I have ever made processes for 10 minutes so I will err on the side of safety.
Now the fun part! How to use it! You could do a traditional and serve it over some lovely fresh goat cheese. Just warm it up slightly and pour over some shaped flavored goat cheese. (You could flavor cream cheese if you like that too.) Make a nice loaf of homemade bread and toast a slice and lightly coat with butter and top with the jam. Use it on a sandwich of an imported ham with a bit of arugula, maybe a small touch of a hard cheese. Pour some of the jam that has been slightly heated to make it runny and pour over a lovely homemade ice cream. Make some pastry puffs with Stilton cheese and the jam. They are easy to make and will impress the crew at the office.
And the ever popular and all time favorite of young and old – COOKIES!!!! You could use it in a thumbprint cookie but let’s be honest, I am talking about a newton type cookie. And you can even make it healthy and no one will ever know the difference. I personally will go with the healthier option.
And I am working on two more recipes that are being tested right now by some of my canning cohorts from FB. One has been sent to them and I am writing up the second one. So if you find cranberries in the store, buy a few bags and throw them into the freezer for later.