After yesterday’s heavy post, I thought I’d get back on your sweet side with some homemade jam. Did it work?
My very good friends Robyn and Rocco gifted me with about 3kg of figs from their tree last month. Tiny, sweet, gorgeous things. I was ecstatic until I realised I couldn’t actually eat that many figs before they were going to turn.
What was I to do? That’s right, make jam. But I also stuffed them into biscuits, brownies (so good! Use this recipe and just chuck in a cup of chopped fresh figs with the nuts in step 4), plus I ate them on muesli everyday.
And I STILL had about a kilo left over. Jam, was their destiny.
I wracked my brains for quite a while before I decided on the vanilla and lemon combo. I wanted sweetness, but sourness – so there they are.
What I was most excited about, if I am honest, is using those pretty labels on the jar. I received them as a christmas present a few years back and since I don’t really do much (OK, any) canning or jamming they have just been sitting in my prop cupboard gathering dust.
One jar for me. One jar for Robyn.
It is remarkably good with cheese, especially the gooey ripe varieties (see here), and with soft fresh butter on homemade bread. Nope, not very original ideas. But when you have a good thing stick to it. So there.
Enjoy! (Say it with a french accent like Manu Fidel does – ‘on-joy’ – it’s really fun!)
Homemade fig, vanilla and lemon jam
makes two small jars
- 1kg ripe figs, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 500g caster sugar
- 1 organic* lemon, juiced and rind peeled off with a sharp knife
- 2 vanilla beans, scraped (or two heaped teaspoons vanilla bean paste, like Queens brand)
- 1 cinnamon quill
1. Put figs and caster sugar into a large bowl (I like to use glass) and stir to coat. Cover and leave overnight. In the morning there will be lots of yummy, syrupy juice.
2. Pour the figs and their juice into a large heavy based pot and add the lemon juice, lemon rind, vanilla bean seeds (and the pods) and cinnamon quill.
3. Bring to the boil over high heat and boil rapidly, stirring constantly and mashing the figs up as they cook for about 30-40 minutes, until the mixture is thick, sticky and smelling a bit like toffee.
4. Fish out the vanilla pods, cinnamon quill and lemon rind and discard (compost!) then allow to cool slightly before dividing the jam into sterilised jars. Once opened, keep in the fridge for 2-3 months.
*I feel it’s particularly important in this instance to use an organic lemon because the rind is going into the jam and being boiled up. Any sprays or pesticides on the skin might leach into the jam, yuck. If you can’t find an organic one then soak the fruit you have in warm water with white vinegar in the sink for a while and scrub the skin with a cloth to remove any nasties.