My summer kitchen is bursting at the seams. Of course I found more lurking zucchini after dispatching yesterday’s, we had barely gotten through last week’s vegetables when this week’s CSA box arrived, the tomatoes are finally going in the garden, and the pears and plums are ready to pick. On top of all that, we have a lovely friend who always calls us when her figs are ripe, and J came home one recent evening with a brimming box of perfect green figs.
So today was a jam day. For the past few years we have usually done our canning late at night, after the girls fall asleep, but recently it seems to fit more easily into the fabric of a weekend daytime. The girls help mash the fruit and measure the sugar. J washes jars, I stir the pot. We take turns chasing the baby out of the kitchen. Everyone contributes to the all-important task of taste-testing.
We are fortunate to live in a time and place of plenty, to know that preserving good food for the winter is a bit of a luxury rather than a necessity. Because with three little ones underfoot, it took much of the afternoon to turn that box of figs into tasty little jars of jam. But we can only eat so many figs in a week, and it’s nice to know that we’ll have the rest of them to spread onto thick slices of toast all winter.
Fig Jam: Wash figs and cut into chunks. Mash or puree the fruit (I used my immersion blender, but left the figs a little chunky). Transfer to a heavy-bottomed pot. For each 4 c. mashed figs, add 1/4 c. lemon juice and 4 tsp. Pomona’s calcium water (the mix comes in the box with Pomona’s pectin) to the fruit. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Watch out, the thick fruit may splash when it bubbles, and it’s hot! In a separate bowl, mix 3 tsp. Pomona’s pectin into 1 c. sugar. When the fruit reaches a boil, stir in the sugar and pectin mixture and stir well for another minute or two to melt the sugar and pectin. Now comes the fun part: start tasting! Add more sugar if desired (some recipes call for equal parts fruit and sugar by weight, so feel free to go crazy, but one cup of sugar will probably be plenty if your figs are sweet to begin with). Return jam to a boil, then remove from heat.
Fill sterilized jars and freeze or can your jam for storage. Be sure to keep some in the fridge for tomorrow’s breakfast; you’ve earned it!
Fig-Ginger Jam Variation: Add 4-6 Tbsp. grated or minced ginger to the mashed figs, then proceed with the rest of the recipe as written. The ginger flavor will be fairly strong at first, but will mellow after a few weeks of storage. (I also always mean to try this with crystallized candied ginger, but I couldn’t add any ginger at all today because the figs alone were so perfect. Let me know if you try it!)