I've been getting really into jam making recently, posting easy blackberry jam and apple and blackberry jam recipes as these are forageable autumn fruits...in England. In Portugal, it's figs can be found in abundance, big plump and ripe, and falling off trees everywhere.
We found one such tree in the grounds of Casa Chico Zé after lunch. As many of the figs were a little too ripe to eat I made fig jam. (How often do you have a glut of figs to use up?!)
Fig jam is really easy to make and tastes delicious as fresh figs have a very different flavour to dried figs. You don't need as much sugar in fig jam as blackberry jam as figs are much sweeter - I used a 1:4 sugar to fruit ratio in fig jam, blackberry is 1:1. The juice and fine zest of a lemon provides the acidity needed to set the jam and adding a cinnamon stick during cooking gives a lovely flavour.
Fig jam is delicious spread on toast. It also goes well with cheese. Thank you Chico Zé for your amazing resturant and your delicious figs!
Fig Jam: Makes around 1.2kg
Time:About 1 hour start to finish
Cost:1p per serving (1 tablespoon)*
Calories:38 per serving (1 tablespoon)*
*Based on forraged, ripe figs
- 1kg of ripe figs, de-stalked
- 250g sugar
- Juice of 1 lemon (and finely grated zest if you like)
- 1 cimmamon stick (optional)
- You'll need to sterilise some jars ready to store your jam. For this recipe, use 3 x 400g glass jars with lids or the equivalent weight with smaller jars. Wash them well in hot soapy water (or put them through your dishwasher) and then dry them in a hot oven (around 200 C / gas mark 6) for 10 minutes. Oven drying the jars will sterilise them so your jam won't go mouldy. Switch off the oven and leave them in the oven until you are ready to pour jam into them. You want the jars to still be hot when you pour the hot jam into them so they do not crack.
- Put 2 or 3 sauces or small plates in the freezer ready for testing the jam later to see if it has set. Get a heat proof mat and oven gloves ready for handling the hot jars later on. That's all the preparation done.
- Wash the figs and chop them roughly, including the skin. The inside of the figs will breakdown easily during the cooking, but the skin will not, so if you don't want large pieces fruit in your jam cut the skin quite small at this stage.
- Put the chopped figs, sugar, lemon juice, zest and cinnaomn stick (if using) a large deep pan over a medium heat. Warm gently stirring freqently for 4-5 minutes until the sugar has disolved.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat until the mixture is on a rolling boil (this means it's constantly bubbling). If you have a thermometer you will see that this is 104-105 C. Please be careful as it's very very hot! Keep boiling for 10 minutes at 104-105 C (or rolling boil). Don't lower the heat, as the rolling boil is the 'setting point' which will cause the jam to set.
- After 10 minutes you can test the jam to see if it has set. Put a teaspoon of your hot jam onto one of your cold saucers from the freezer. When it is cold run your finger through it. You will know if it's set as you will see a little channel on the plate where you have run your finger. It will be jam-like consistency. If it's too runny, boil for a few more minutes and repeat the 'plate test' until it has set.
- Pour the hot fig jam carefully into the warm sterilised jars (please be very careful - use your oven gloves) and screw on the lids tight. As the hot jam cools it will suck the lid in and make a seal (like jars of jam you buy in the shops before they are opened).
- Once open, eat your jam within 8 weeks and store in the fridge. Unopened jars do not need to be kept in the fridge, and, provided they are sealed properly, will last up to a year (although the flavour sometimes alters over time).
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