Tuesday, September 27, 2011
fresh figgy jam
A couple of weeks ago, I had the incredible fortune to purchase way more figs than I had intended at the Hillcrest farmer's market. Matthew and I often buy limes from Farmer Steve, who grows truly delicious and juicy limes, and two Sundays ago, in addition to limes, he had basket fulls of fresh, extra-ripe, juicy figs. When I asked for one basket he gave me the entire cardboard container containing three baskets of figs, though I tried in vain to insist that I only needed one basket; he was only selling figs in large quantities but for very, very cheaply.
Considering what a delicious, but potentially food wasting, fiasco this was, I knew I had only two options: made a fig tart or make fig jam. Well, I know Matthew's and my ability to eat a full sized, large fruit tart, we haven't got such a valuable talent. A large tart would surely go to waste. Instead of trying to force friends to help consume a large tart, I just made a few mini tarts with about a quarter of the figs so that we could enjoy them fresh and then used the remaining figs for fig jam.
Figs soaking in hot water - preparation to become jam- this photo makes even the humble little fig look slightly sinister.
Honestly, my father and I are the only people in my family who love figs, so I never grew up eating them and certainly had never made jam out of figs. This was totally new territory but the jam proved very easy to make, even without pectin.
I simply followed the recipe for fig jam out of the Ball Blue Book of preserving. The Ball Blue Book has always been the canning, jamming, preserving bible for my mother and grandmother. I can't remember if I bought my copy or if my mother gave it to me(I suspect the latter), but I have consistently used recipes from it over the years and often consult it as a reference guide for all sorts of cooking projects.
Ball Blue Book has rarely, if ever, let me down and once again it's recipe for fig jam made a perfect product: sticky and sweet but with plenty of natural fig flavor to make it completely addictive.
So far, my favorite application for this fig jam has been to spoon it over a log of goat cheese, sprinkle with toasty pecans and then slather onto sliced baguette. Delicious to the point that after running out of bread, we dipped corn chips into it just to have a vehicle with which eat the figgy, cheesy treat.
As usual, an over abundance of fruit turned into a delicious, new cooking experience.