‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving and nothing is stirring in my kitchen! This year it is my little brother’s turn having the honor of cooking dinner and he is not letting anyone bring anything! I’m certainly good with that! While others have been preparing all week, I’ve been going mad making fig jam and pepper jelly for what I have been calling our “Holiday Collective”. (Essentially this is just 4 of us from work having fun in the kitchen under the influence of a few bottles of wine and under the guise of ‘economical holiday gift giving.) We all met at Myra’s house (and yes Myra, we are all jealous of your remodeled kitchen!) where we made several batches of Fig Jam and Pepper Jelly and experimented with some fancy cookies that we are going to make after Thanksgiving. Well we all left with a ton of unlabeled jam and jelly jars. I ended up giving much away almost immediately so I had to make more! I can’t help it. I’m a giver!
Turns out I wasn’t too happy with the labels I had ordered off the internet. I should have known that calico designs weren’t going to cut it for me! Once again, Mrs. Fig (or is it Ms. Fig? After all, I do remember when it was Miss Fig!) came to the rescue and suggested I just get a stamp at Paper Source and make my own. What a store! Now I know were all those scrapbook ladies spend their free time! Wow. I’ve always been partial to stationery but this store could make it a near fetish. I will have to be careful when I go there! Anyway, what you see in the picture above is what I ended up with after barely an hour with a printer, stamp and a ink pads. Pretty easy and much better in my opinion than the slicker, overpriced online designs.
I’m going to post Mrs. Fig’s Fig Jam recipe but be forewarned that in truth, there is no such thing as a fig jam recipe really. It is almost impossible to mess up and you will have to adjust the ingredients to your own taste as even though there are so few variables, each one is important. Some lemons are sweeter than others, etc. Even the quality of your cinnamon stick well have an effect on the outcome. The simple rule is that if you are happy with it going into the jar, you’ll love it when it comes out.
Spiced Fig Jam
1/2 lemon (unpeeled), thickly slice, seeded Myer lemon or other thin skinned lemon preferred.
1 1/2 pound fresh figs, halved (about 4 cups)
2 1/2 cup sugar 1 3″ cinnamon stick
2 1/4 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
Finely chop lemon in food processor. Don’t settle for minced! Make it pulpy! Add figs and pulse. Put everything in a heavy saucepan and simmer until mixture thickens and registers 200 degrees, stirring often. Discard cinnamon stick, spoon into jars and process in hot water bath.
We also made Rosemary and Port Fig Jam from a recipe I found here. This version is quite good and we all decided it was more ‘adult’ and well suited for pairings with cheese as opposed to breakfast pastries. Again, don’t just go by the recipe. I used two springs of rosemary and the taste was still quite delicate. Next fig season I will get more adventurous with this medium for sure.
So, are you on my Christmas List?