September is my favourite month (yes I know it’s October now, but shh). It’s the start of autumn, the weather is cool but sunny, there are warm spices wherever you turn. And figs come into season! I love figs a lot. It’s hard to get them fresh where I live though so I pounce on them whenever I get the chance. And when I was walking past the fruit market stalls in town last week and saw they had fresh figs – I went a bit crazy. I came home with over 1kg of fresh figs!
The other problem with fresh figs is they don’t have a very long shelf life. I knew there was no way I could bake with all those figs before they went bad so I decided to make jam, since I can use jam in all kinds of baking and just eat it whenever I feel like it! I’ve never made jam before so I was a bit apprehensive. After talking to a jam making friend on how to properly sterilise my jar without a canner (whatever a canner even is!) I set to work.
I wanted the main flavour in this jam to be figs, but I also added some fresh orange zest and juice as fig and orange is a match made in heaven. If fruits were songs, figs and oranges would be like Wind Beneath My Wings, as orange really lifts the flavour of the figs. That was a bit of a weird metaphor wasn’t it? Moving on! I also added a little cinnamon and ginger to give it that nice, warm autumn feel
I put all the yummy ingredients into a bowl, covered it and left them to get nice and acquainted overnight, by the morning they were all the best of friends. Then I cooked it all together until the sugar had melted and left it to simmer for about 2 hours. I used a potato masher to mash up some of the bigger pieces of fig still left, but I wanted to keep it a little chunky. If you want a nice smooth jam, you can always chuck it in the blender once it’s cooled. Then I poured it into my sterilised jar. To sterilise your jar you want to wash it in hot soapy water, rinse and then dry it in the oven on 130C/270F for about 10-15 minutes. I’m assured this will do the trick and your jam will keep in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
The end result was super yummy. So far I have used it in jam donuts, which was an amazing idea! I personally couldn’t eat the jam donuts because my jaw hates me, but I did have a little nibble while taking photos and fig jam donuts are a winner! I’m also going to use it to make some gluten free fig bars soon, my first adventure into gluten free baking! I’m sure I’ll find a thousand other ways to use it too. I’m just very excited about being able to bake with figs all year round and not having to deal with dried figs (which aren’t always a bad thing, but sometimes it just isn’t ideal).
Today is October 1st (where has the year gone?!) which means it’s the start of Lupus Awareness Month. I will be doing a small giveaway starting on Friday in aid of Lupus UK, which you can read more about here. And for every post I make this month I will be including a little fact about Lupus to help you guys understand it a little better
Now, back to the jam
- 1kg fresh figs, roughly chopped
- 500g caster sugar
- 3 oranges - zest and juice
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 lemon - juice and zest
- Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it all together. Cover and leave overnight at room temperature.
- Transfer the mixture to a large pan and heat on low until sugar is dissolved
- Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer on low for 1-2 hours. Until the mixture is thick.
- Use a potato masher to mash up some of the big chunks
- Cool the mixture for 30 minutes and then transfer to your sterilised jars and seal.
- Keep in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. If jars are properly sterilised it should keep for up to a year (don't forget, the sugar and lemon juice act as natural preservatives too)
- To sterilise jars, wash in hot soapy water and rinse. Place them on a baking tray and dry in a 130C/270F oven for 10-15 minutes