Old Fashioned Fig Jam

Fig Jam

Old Fashioned Fig Jam

This is a very traditional Fig Jam recipe, best suited to very ripe, very fresh figs.  I prefer this jam slightly softer than other jam, and therefore do not use commercial setting agent, rather rely on the citrus pectin to do the work for me.  If you prefer your jam firmer, add jam making sugar or setting agent at the end of the sugar.

3 kg fresh figs
3 kg sugar + 1 ½  cups, reserved
3 tablespoons hot water
2 lemons, zest cut off in long strips and juice
2 oranges, zest cut off in long strips and juice
1 vanilla bean, split
Tiniest pinch of salt

Prepare your preserving jars by washing them thoroughly and allowing them to dry upside down on the rack in a 70-90°C oven while you make your preserve.  The jars will be hot, but not scalding when removed from the oven.

Clean the figs in a little water, being sure they are free from critters or other nasties... Birds love figs and sometimes leave unwanted deposits behind – so if you are picking them from your own tree, check them well!
Trim off the stalks and remove any impurities, cut each fig into quarters.

Add the figs to a very large saucepan or stock pot with the vanilla bean.  Turn on the heat to low, add the water and allow the figs to break down slightly and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the figs are well cooked through.
Add 3kg of sugar, stirring through well.  As the sugar seeps into the figs they become transluscent and like stained glassd.  Continue to cook until all the figs are glassy and vibrant.

Increase the heat, add the citrus zest and warm the mixture through until the sugar dissolves completely and the figs are all equally jewel-like.

Bring the mixture to the boil, add the lemon and orange juice.  Boil at a constant rolling boil for 15-20 minutes, then check for setting on a chilled plate.
If the jam is not setting add the additional sugar and boil for an additional 15 minutes.
Reduce the heat, skim off any scum, fish out the zest and vanilla bean and allow the jam to sit for about 5 minutes before pouring into the prepared jars.

Seal jars and allow the jam to develop in a cool dark place (pantry) for a week or so to get the best flavour out of the jam before eating.