Fig jam is one of mine and Ste’s absolute favourites, expecially since living in Florence where it is often paired so beautifully with a seasoned pecorino. I have always wanted to make some of my own, because it is tricky to find here in England, so I decided to give it a go, and came up with a very easy fig jam recipe which I am sharing with you today.
Last weekend we took a trip down to my parents’ house in Somerset, and then on to Devon to spend time with old schoolfriends. It was an amazing weekend filled with fun, family and friends, and, as it turns out, also figs. Mum and Dad have two enormous fig trees in the yard which both produce masses of fruit every year. There are usually more figs to be eaten than we know what to do with so Mum gives them away left, right and centre. She gave a huge bag to my godson’s mum, Melanie, on Friday. I took some to give to my friend Ståle who we stayed with on Friday night (of which I might have eaten a couple for breakfast the next day). We ate loads, and still there were more to pick! In fact, I decided that the 5 or 6 in the fruit bowl would not be enough to take with us when we left at 5am on Monday morning to head home to Yorkshire, so I sent poor Ste out in the dark to turn the Land Rover around and shine his headlights on the tree so he could pick us some more!
I think he is glad he did now though, as these have all been turned into jars of delicious fig jam. When he came home from work yesterday I presented him with a little platter of fig jam, cheese, and sourdough toasts, as a snack because I hadn’t managed to start cooking supper yet. He was pretty delighted it has to be said! He became as obsessed with fig jam as I am when I introduced him to it on our trip to Florence last summer, and we have since always kept an eye out for it in the shops here, but hardly ever find it, at least, not without any other fruit in, so when this glut of homegrown figs presented itself, making jam was the only thing to do (other than eat bowls of them with skyr, honey and almonds (the BEST breakfast) or just on their own).
For my last jam experiment with rhubarb and rose, I had some jam sugar to hand, which includes pectin, an essential ingredient in helping the jam to set. I didn’t have any this time however, so I decided to improvise. A quick google revealed apples contain pectin, and since I had a couple to hand, I added them into the jam mix. I don’t know if it was because of the apples, but the jam has set pretty well, so I’m happy, and it saves buying expensive special jam sugar! So here is my improvised fig jam recipe, which actually tastes pretty fabulous and very much like the fig jam I love so much in Tuscany, though oddly that is always a greeny-brown in colour, and mine is bright red – perhaps a different type of fig, or less ripe ones? Mine were full on purple-ripe. It goes just as perfectly with a strong cheese too. We ate it with pecorino stagionato (but any aged sheeps cheese would go well) and white stilton, but a mature cheddar would also be yummy I am sure.
- 800g ripe figs, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 large apples, peeled and chopped
- 100ml lemon juice
- 125ml water
- 125g caster sugar
- To a large, heavy-bottomed pan, add your figs, apples, lemon juice and water, and slowly bring to the boil. Put a side plate in the freezer to cool.
- Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring regularly until the fruit is broken up (you may need to squash the apple chunks with a spoon if you want a very smooth jam with no obvious apple chunks).
- Meanwhile, sterilise your jam jars. Ensure they are washed, then put them (without lids) on a baking tray lined with parchment in the oven at 160ºC for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
- Add the sugar, and bring to the boil again, and keep it on a low rolling boil for 15 minutes.
- If you have a jam thermometer, check to see if it has reached 105ºC which is the set point. If not, use the plate method – put a teaspoon of jam onto your chilled plate and leave for a few minutes to cool. Then push the edge with your finger, if it wrinkles then you’ve reached setting point.
- Once your jam is ready, ladle it into your sterilised jam jars, filling them to about 1cm down.
- Put a waxed disc on top of the jam in each jar, waxed side down. Moisten a cellophane seal, and put it, dampened side up, on the top of each jar, securing with an elastic band. You can see it shrink and seal with the heat of the jam.
- Once cooled, screw the lids on tight, and remove the elastic band. This type of jam with keep unopened in a cupboard for a couple of months, but once opened needs to be kept in the fridge. If you want to store it longer, you need to heat treat the jars to preserve it. I don't find my jam lasts long enough to warrant that though!
Do let me know if you give this recipe a go and you like it. Any of my friends living near Mum and Dad, if you need some figs, you know where to go!
I’m bringing this recipe to the Fiesta Friday party and some other great link parties. Fiesta Friday peeps – sorry I’ve been absent, so much work lately, not to mention gallivanting. You will be delighted to know the sourdough bread in the photos was made with starter and recipe from the lovely Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial, so the FF love and recipes are spreading! Have a great weekend all.