Monday, 4 August 2014

My Favourite Summer Jam, Strawberry Fig


I canned this easy to make strawberry fig jam last summer, and by the time I opened up a jar and realized just how seriously amazing it was, the green figs were already finished their short season and it was too late to do a blog post about it. At the time, Chris mentioned that I should just save it for next summer, and although that felt like waiting forever at the time, the year has passed so incredibly fast (as it always does)!

Well, this summer I spent the whole month of July bothering my local fruit and veggie market about when the green figs would arrive. Needless to say, they are here! In Ontario they usually arrive in stores in early August, some years, late July.

This recipe is from Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp and Margaret Howard, which I have recommended many times before. My friend Kimberley gave me this book, and it was my first book on canning. It has lots of straightforward recipes, and this one in particular is incredibly simple for a jam. A good one to go ahead and do if you are a beginner! Remember, a small canner costs as little as $15 or $20 at your local hardware store, and the canning process is no more difficult than baking.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

1 lb fresh green fits, stemmed and cut into small pieces
2 cups quartered strawberries
2 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Directions

Place figs, strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Cover and let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. 


Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to medium and boil rapidly, uncovered, until mixture will form a gel, about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Ladle into hot sterilized jars, check for air pockets using a chopstick, and wipe jar rims with a damp paper towel. Using magnetic wand to place hot, sterilized lids onto jars, and then screw on rings to finger tight. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner and let cool on a rack or wooden cutting board. 

After 24 hours, check that jars have sealed, label and store in a cool, dry place. 

Here I am last year preparing the jars for the canner. 
Look at the kitchen! We still had so much work to do!

This year I made a double batch of this jam, because we loved it so much and hardly had enough with only one batch from last summer. However, when you change canning recipes, you have to be aware that you're sort of going off into no man's land. Canning recipes are very volume specific, and all the cooking times are related to the volume of the ingredients. Because I doubled the fruit and sugar, it took me nearly 40 minutes cooking time (as compared to 15) to get the jam to thicken. So just be aware!

Also, to test that jam has set or thickened, keep a plate in the freezer while you prepare the jam. When the cooking time specified in the recipe has elapsed, take the plate out of the freezer and put a small spoonful of jam on it. Return to freezer for 2 minutes and then take it out. If the jam is set, you are done and should get the jam in your jars. If it hasn't set, keep cooking and keep testing!

If you make this jam, let me know how it turns out! 


Thanks for reading!



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