The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star. -- Anthelme Brillat-Savarin --

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Faithy’s Fig Jam

Once again, I’ve been busy, and have neglected my blog.  Sorry folks.  I haven’t had time to do much cooking in the past few weeks, but I thought I’d share my fig jam recipe with you in the meanwhile.

There is a wonderfully productive fig tree in my parent’s yard, and it has been providing abundant fruit for many years.  I started making this jam when I was in high school, and have made several batches a year (almost every year) since then.

I’ve found that many people have fond memories associated with fig jam (or preserves), so it’s fun to share it with as many people as possible every time I make some.

I’ve had many requests for my recipe over the years, so here it is.  It’s really simple, and oh so good!  I always like to have a fresh batch of Faithy's Favorite English Muffin Bread ready to test it on while the jam is still warm.  YUM!!

Faithy’s Fig Jam

5 cups prepared fruit (about 3-1/4 lb. fully ripe figs)
(I usually trim the ends and bad spots off, then roughly chop them, but you can also leave them whole - except for the ends and spots - and mash them while they are cooking if you like bigger chunks.  For smaller chunks you can grind the fruit or run it through your food processor before cooking.)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
(I often leave the lemon juice out…but it does help with the jelling process, if you like a firm jam.)
1/2 cup water
1 box SURE.JELL Fruit Pectin (powder)
1/2 tsp. butter or margarine
(optional - I often leave this out as well, but adding it helps to reduce foaming)
7 cups sugar, measured into separate bowl
         (I've also used Whey-Low Type D Granular to make a more diabetic-friendly jam - it works great!)
WASH jars and screw bands in hot, soapy water; rinse with warm water.  Pour boiling water over flat lids in saucepan - off the heat.  Let stand in hot water until ready to use.  Drain jars well before filling.
BRING boiling-water canner, half-full with water, to simmer (for use later, after jam is ready to process).  
MEASURE exactly 5 cups prepared fruit into 6- or 8-quart saucepot.  Stir lemon juice and water into the prepared fruit in saucepot.  Add pectin, and stir well.
ADD butter, if desired, and bring mixture to full rolling boil (a boil that doesn't stop bubbling when stirred) on high heat, stirring constantly.
STIR in all sugar quickly.  Return to full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Skim off any foam with metal spoon.   (NOTE:  I strongly recommend that you use an oven mitt while stirring, to prevent burns.  This mixture gets VERY hot and bubbly, and will stick to your skin and create a nasty burn if any of it lands on your skin during this process.)
LADLE quickly into prepared jars, filling to within 1/8 inch of tops.  Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids.  Screw bands on firmly.

Now this next part is the “official” water-bath way to seal the jars, but I have an easier method which I’ll share below.  It works well, & I’ve been using the easy way on jams & jellies for years.  Can’t remember where I learned it though.  You can just pick whichever way you want to try…

Place jars on elevated rack in canner.  Lower rack into canner.  Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; add boiling water if needed.  Cover; bring water to gentle boil.  Process 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely.

Easy Method:
After screwing the bands on the jars, just turn the jars upside down on a flat surface for 5 minutes, then flip back over.  Let them set for 24 hours to assure a proper seal.  They will usually begin to “pop” and let you know they are sealed within an hour or so…  If any do not seal, just stick them in the fridge, and keep them there until you use them or use the water-bath method above on them now.  They’ll keep quite a while.

After jars cool, check seals by pressing middle of lid with finger.  (If a lid springs back, it is not sealed and refrigeration will be necessary.)

Let me know if you try it out, and don't forget to make enough to share!

1 comment:

  1. You have no idea what your gift of fig jam meant to me last year. LOVED the jam and the sweet surprise! My parents had a prolific tree in their yard as well, and I have fond remembrances of my mother's fig preserves on warm homemade bread. Oh, yes. She was firmly in the chunkier fig camp, and she always included a little bit of lemon rind in hers.