If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have an established fig tree in your garden (ours is at least 8 years old), you’ll enjoy picking ripe figs from mid summer into the autumn. 2020 as strange a year as it has been, has produced a bumper crop of figs even in England. We ate and gave plenty away as they came off the tree, enjoying their honey sweet taste for almost three months. I always peel them, though I know some people will wash them and eat them with the skin on.
By end October, it felt like we’d eaten enough for this year. So, I decided to give making fig jam a go with what ripe figs were still on the tree (most of the leaves had fallen off by now). As they are sweet by themselves, you don’t need as much sugar as for other jams. The rule is use half or less sugar by weight as the prepared figs.
- Ingredients: 1/2 kg figs (peeled weight), 1/4 kg granulated sugar (or less if the fruit is really ripe and extra sweet). A generous splash of water or alternatively cognac (I was feeling adventurous and used the latter); two small sticks of cinnamon, three cloves, 1-2 tablespoonfuls lemon juice
- Method: Prepare the figs by peeling them and chopping them roughly. Quarters or even halves is fine. Place them in a wide, deep pan, dust the sugar on top and sprinkle with the water or cognac. Leave them for at least one hour to let them release their own juices. Add the cinnamon sticks and cloves.
Bring the pan to a rapid boil and stir. Reduce the heat and keep stirring until the figs have softened. Make sure they don’t stick to the pan. Remove any foam created with a spoon and discard it. Continue boiling for 30-35 minutes until set to your preferred thickness. Reduce the heat towards the end to contain any splattering. Add the lemon juice, stir again and set aside for 10-15 minutes. Remember to remove the cinnamon sticks and cloves before you transfer into sterilised jars. Tighten the lids and leave them upside down to cool. They will keep for ages. Once opened, keep in the fridge.
This dose made me two small jars plus a bowl full (as pictured). Try it with bought figs. If you want to leave at least some of the skin on, make sure you wash them well first and dry them before chopping. Enjoy fig jam on Greek yoghurt anytime of the day. It’s delicious and I very much doubt the one I just made will last very long in our household!