Summer’s bounty has arrived, and along with it are copious amounts of figs ripening on the fig tree almost daily. What to do with all of these figs! This variety of fig is known as a Turkey fig….no, not my favorite figs. I would say that Petite Negra is my favorite fig, at least for right now. But a couple of years ago I figured out how to handle the majority of figs ripening every summer on the tree. Make Jam! Yes, I have found a way to turn Turkey figs into ambrosia for the Gods. I have combined an Armenian recipe with ingredients that remind me of the Autumn season, and maybe the holidays. I think the following recipe is absolutely wonderful. A neighbor who I gave a jar to, told me it was a great addition to their pizza. Who knew! You will notice there is a bottle of limoncello in the photo. I made a batch of intensely flavored citrus limoncello liqueur last April. This is one way I utilize the crop of Meyer lemons that arrive on the tree every winter. Please let me know if it interests you, and I will provide the recipe in a future post.
A note about figs – since figs do not all ripen at once, I pick a few figs every day for about three days before canning, and save each day’s harvest of figs. I keep them covered inside the refrigerator, until I have at least a couple dozen medium to large ripe figs to work with. If I do not refrigerate each day’s pickings, some of them will be in my opinion, over-ripe and undesirable to use. Keep them as fresh as you can before using.
This is the recipe for the jam, but you will need to follow your own canning procedures. Be sure to follow kitchen food safety protocols when canning food.
4 pounds of soft ripe figs (1 pound equals abt. 12 small figs/or equals 2 ½ cups chopped figs)
3 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 teaspoon (or more to your liking) ground cloves
1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/8 or 1/4 teaspoon of allspice (sometimes I do not add allspice)
Lemon or orange zest
Juice from 1 lemon or 1 orange
I do not add pectin, but if you want a very firm jam, I imagine about 2 tablespoons of pectin would do it.
Chop figs. Add to a large pot and mash with a potato masher. Add sugar and mash sugar and figs until it is rather liquidy.
Put pot on stove and turn temperature to medium low. Heat and cook for about 35 to 40 minutes max. Be sure to frequently stir the fig mixture during this time. If the figs start boiling, turn down the heat. What you want is a burgundy color, and the longer it cooks, the darker it gets. After 35 or so minutes, add the spices and lemon or orange juice and zest, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes more.
Enjoy the wonderful scent that fills up your kitchen as you add the figs to your canning jars.