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.
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.
RECIPE: Fresh Fig and Ginger Jam
Makes 6-7 half-pints
- 3 pounds of fresh figs
- 3.5 cups of sugar
- juice of one lemon or lime
- 2/3 cup of crystallized or candied ginger
- Wash figs and remove any fleshy, woody stems.
- Quarter figs.
- Dice ginger.
- Add figs, sugar, lemon juice and ginger to stock or preserving pan.
- Leave it for an hour or two to macerate, and dissolve sugar
- Stir mixture thoroughly.
- Simmer on low heat.
- This jam can scorch due to low moisture, so keep stirring and watching.
- Simmer for about 15 minutes and remove from heat.
- Let it sit uncovered and cool down.
- Reheat when later convenient, and simmer again.
- Stir until thickens, 15-25 minutes.
- Again, be aware of scorching, keep a close eye on this jam pot, or this could happen.
- When thick enough to heavily coat a spoon, remove from heat, seal, water bath, 10 minutes. (Instructions here.)