Figs in a Jam… Fig and Ginger Jam{29}

Happy Couple: Fig and Ginger Jamfig and ginger jam recipeFig and ginger jam: too delicious and simple not to make

I’ve had a life of traveling. Some voluntary (Buon giorno, Firenze!) Some involuntary. (“Tommy, get in the car.”) No matter where the destination, I do try to find delight in the differences of what I’m used to or familiar with. Years ago, when I stepped foot in Australia for the first time, I discovered a local (Barossa Valley) preserve that has stuck to my butter knife ever since: fig-ginger jam. I likened the combo to the marriage of strawberry and rhubarb: flavor pairing perfection.  In the case of fig and ginger, the figs provide syrupy, honey-like sweetness, and a playful crunch from the wee seeds, while the ginger ambushes your tastebuds with surprise bursts of spicy heat and chewy texture.

Start with the freshest, ripest figs (variety: Desert King)

When I returned to the states, I set off to locate a neighborhood fig tree and to recreate this melting marvel of ooey-gooey goodness for myself. (Let me tell you how I really feel.) As jams go, Fig-Ginger is relatively easy to make, thanks to the low moisture content of most figs and the ready availability of crystallized or candied ginger.  So get out your thick-bottomed stock pot or preserving pan and follow me to the kitchen; your g’day is about to begin.

Figs in a skillet, awaiting a little sugar and ginger

RECIPE:  Fresh Fig and Ginger Jam

Makes 6-7 half-pints

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of fresh figs
  • 3.5 cups of sugar
  • juice of one lemon or lime
  • 2/3 cup of crystallized or candied ginger

Preparation

  1. Wash figs and remove any fleshy, woody stems.
  2. Quarter figs.
  3. Dice ginger.
  4. Add figs, sugar, lemon juice and ginger to stock or preserving pan.
  5. Leave it for an hour or two to macerate, and dissolve sugar
  6. Stir mixture thoroughly.
  7. Simmer on low heat.
  8. This jam can scorch due to low moisture, so keep stirring and watching.
  9. Simmer for about 15 minutes and remove from heat.
  10. Let it sit uncovered and cool down.
  11. Reheat when later convenient, and simmer again.
  12. Stir until thickens, 15-25 minutes.
  13. Again, be aware of scorching, keep a close eye on this jam pot, or this could happen.
  14. When thick enough to heavily coat a spoon, remove from heat, seal, water bath, 10 minutes. (Instructions here.)

main ingredients fig and ginger jamHoneymoon couple: fresh fig and diced candied ginger

Left: Figs and ginger macerating in sugar  Right: fig jam beginning to firm up after first simmer

My kingdom for a buttered scone!