Disclaimer: This is a loooooooooong post, if you just want the recipe, just skip to the end:)
It’s been forever since I’ve posted a recipe here. I’ve been trying and experimenting many recipes and small projects to share with you guys. Today, I’m going to share one of my mini-projects that I did a couple of days ago. It’s a recipe for Fig Jam. A thick, spicy Fig Jam.
I love jams-homemade or store bought. I like the whole idea of preserving fruit and vegetables to sustain their shelf life. So, essentially, you can preserve something that’s seasonal and enjoy it the whole year round. And if it’s homemade-what could be better, right? A commercial jam has so many ingredients that are not natural, that only mimic natural flavours. This jam is all natural!
The idea to make this jam came from a trip to a local market in Toronto. I’ve been wanting to visit local markets around me (Mississauga) and Toronto for a very long time, somehow it dint happen until last week.
We usually get our groceries from nearby supermarkets and Asian stores etc. You pick what you want, head to the payment counter, pay for your goods and that’s it. It’s not like an open, bustling farmers market. I for one love the whole idea of markets-the open shops, the food displays, people talking, the whole energy, I love it. It reminds me of back home, where people, until sometime ago, shopped locally, from street vendors. Whether it’s fruits, veggies, fish or meat, we bought locally. So, when I got the chance, I thoroughly enjoyed my little trip to the farmers market. I picked these gorgeous brown turkey figs from a lovely Italian farmer there.
You know growing up, I have so many memories of accompanying my mom to the local fish market. She bought fish from the local fisher women every week, she was friendly, chirpy and chatty with most of them. But, she had her favourites (of course!), and over the course of years, they formed a food-relationship of sorts. I’m not sure if they knew each other’s names, but every time we went to the market, my mom would look for them and they would quickly call out to her, waving at her, to show what they were selling that day.
Even long after she passed away, those women would mention her to my dad, when he went to buy fish. That one-one relationship with the vendors is so great, it’s really basic, you get to know what you are buying, from whom, like it’s meant to be. There is beauty in knowing the details.
So, anyway, coming back to my visit to St. Lawrence market, I approached the vendor selling these amazing Brown Turkey figs and I enquired about it. I asked him if these would be good for baking and he was quick to reply that these were too good to be cooked with. He said, he was Italian and in Italy when they were in season, he would just enjoy them fresh. Or use it in jams/jellies to make them last longer. So, while I enjoyed most of them fresh, I did make jam with the remaining ones.
I made this Fig jam a little spicy- I used the tiniest pinch of clove to give the jam a nice heat and flavour. I added a nice dose of ginger too. I loved it!
So, this is how I made a small batch, thats a small jar (used up in a week)
You will need:
- fresh figs- 150 grams, washed, dried and quartered
- sugar- 4 tbsp
- honey- 4 tbsp
- ginger- 1 inch, grated
- clove powder- a tiny pinch (optional)
- lemon juice- 1-2 tbsp (optional-I didn’t use it)
- Prep the figs- wash the figs well to remove any dirt. Dry them with a clean cloth and quarter them or chop them roughly. If you like a smooth jam, cut the figs into smaller pieces; if you like the jam chunky, then cut them into bigger pieces.
- In a saucepan, add the figs, sugar and honey and place it on medium heat.
- As the sugar dissolves and the figs become soft, you will see some liquid. Keep stirring to avoid burning. Continue stirring for 5 minutes.
- Add the grated ginger and clove powder to the pan, mix well. The consistency will start getting ‘jammy’. Lower the heat and test for consistency on cold plate. (to test-place a plate in the freezer for 5 minutes, when the fig mixture starts getting jammy, pour a bit of that mixture on the cold plate. Hold the plate vertical and try to wipe the mixture through the middle. If there is a clean swipe with both sides intact, then its the right consistency. If the mixture slides, then it probably will need more time.
- Since this is a small amount of figs to make jam, it won’t take long to get the jammy consistency, so start checking after 8 minutes. if you heat it longer, the jam will harden.
- When the jam is ready, transfer it to a clean, sterilized container while it’s still hot. When it’s a little cooler, secure with a lid. Enjoy your delicious jam!
Since the sugar content is high, this jam can be refrigerated for about 2 months in a clean, sterilized bottle or container.
Please try this recipe and let me know if you like it.
P.S: if you are wondering why this recipe does not call for pectin, the reason is that, the jam is thick naturally anyway, so no need for extra thickening agents.