My neighbor has a fig tree. Right over the back fence. Which means that I have a fig tree spilling over my back fence. And I mean that, SPILLING. I'm not complaining, but as the figs ripen, they drop and make a nasty gooey mess all over the yard that attracts insects and is a mess.
So I decided to do something with them. The first year the tree didn't do much and I picked all 20 and made some jam. THE second year the tree did a lot more and I made more jam and some desserts.
This year it seems out of control! I still have jam left over from last year in the freezer. I don't have much more room in my freezer for more jam. What will i do!?!
I decided to do some home canning.
First things first I had to visit four stores. To find jars. This is Los Angeles not Mayberry R.F.D. but I found them. And in a fit of over-reaching, bought two boxes of small jars for a grand total of 24 jars.
Here is the full recipe from Epicurious.com
1/2 lemon (unpeeled), thickly sliced, seeded
1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe figs, halved (about 4 cups)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
2 1/4 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
Finely chop lemon in processor. Add figs. Using on/off turns, process until figs are coarsely pureed. Transfer mixture to heavy large saucepan. Add 2 1/4 cups sugar, cinnamon stick, 2 1/4 teaspoons minced ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Simmer until mixture thickens to jam consistency and candy thermometer registers 200°F, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick. Divide hot preserves among hot clean jars. Cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 months.
And then where I went with it...
I am not a big fan of ginger, so I dropped that from all the batches. I didn't have fresh ground cloves, so I substituted a splash of "pumpkin pie spices" which had cloves and cinnamon already in it. I still did the cinnamon stick however.
In the first batch I took out the half lemon and put in a whole orange (seeded) peel and all. It is tasty in the winter with pork chops, very fall flavorful.
Second batch I had some strawberries about to turn bad. I cleaned them up and since I was adding so much more fruit, I did a whole lemon (seeded) peel and all, then added about 2 pints of strawberries.
Third time at the pot I had blackberries. I've been craving blackberries for a whole month so I had them right here on hand. Again I did a whole lemon since I was adding so much more fruit. I only had a pint of fresh blackberries, so I added a bag of frozen. "MORE! MORE!" was my rallying cry.
(two days later I did a fourth batch of the figs left int eh fridge and any fruit left in the fridge which were blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I call it my medley.
Hot fruit in pot, I placed my recently sterilized in the dishwasher jars in a cake pan and poured boiling water around them for a hot water bath. I placed a funnel in the top and began my ladling. Jars full, I placed the lids on the clean jars and used my heavy leather barbecue gloves to pick up the jars and give them the tightening of their lives. I repeated this process until I was out of jars.
The jars were placed on a cooling rack and we spent the next 2 hours listening to the delightful "pop" of each lid being sucked down to a perfect tight seal.