It’s been a wonderful season for fruit and I’ve been lucky enough to be able to pick wild figs from a tree close to our house all summer long. Last year I tried my hand at foraged fig chutney which was delicious with cheese, but this year I decided to go down the sweet route, simmering my figs with a little sugar and some lemon juice to make a thick fig jam. The lemon juice acts like pectin which means you can reduce the amount of sugar – I now use around a fifth of the amount of sugar relative to fruit in all my jam recipes which makes for a much healthier and, in my view, tastier preserve.
1kg fresh figs
200g granulated sugar
Juice and zest of one lemon
Start by preparing your figs. Mine were organic but I washed them to remove any dirt and insects and then cut them in half.
Put the figs in a large pan. Add the sugar and the juice and zest of a lemon. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring constantly, and then turn down the heat and simmer gently for around 30 minutes or until the jam thickens.
The jam will gradually darken and thicken as the figs break down. Keep an eye on it, you don’t want it to catch on the bottom of the pan.
You can check whether it’s ready by placing a small amount on a cold plate ( I pop mine in the freezer for an hour first). If the mixture sets and ripples when you push it with your finger it’s good to go. If not, simmer for a few minutes longer.
I’ve written about the process for sterilising jars elsewhere. Basically you need to wash the jars and lids in hot soapy water and then pop the jars in the oven for 10 minutes. Boil the lids in a pan for the same amount of time. Pour the jam into the jars while they are still hot but take care!
The jam can be stored in a cool place for up to a year – assuming you don’t eat it before then of course!