Goodness! It has been 2 years since I posted on this site!
I started write my cooking posts on Nellie's site (I was to lazy to change log ins) but I have not done any cooking posts on Marv's Blog at all.
But then I've not done much interesting cooking...Perhaps it was the bone infection, then the software rollout, followed by the broken shoulder. Cooking anything, much less making something different has NOT been high on my list of things to do. I CAN tell you I have eaten loads of grilled cheese sandwiches and BBQed chicken from the grocery store. Oh, and if you follow me on Facebook...you have seen the cakes...I get asked quite often and make about one a month.
Things have change this last month. I've felt like cooking and even though it has been brutally hot, I have been making interesting food again. And I am ready to get back to formulating and making really cool, wonderful and surprising food again!
What am I starting with....
Fig Strawberry Jam
The basic recipe for this comes from the Kraft website. I first made it a long time ago (when the internet was dial up and you used Mosaic).
I got the recipe out of a magazine and made it with figs from the tree in my neighbour's back yard. It was quick, especially easy to make as all it was was figs, sugar and Strawberry Jello. We all loved it, it was wonderful...like summer in a jar,
Fast forward to this summer. My sister has a fig tree in her yard and it produces loads and loads of fruit. I was going to make some Fig Jam, and at first I thought about making something exotic, but then I thought about how great that simple recipe I'd made 25 years ago was and I searched for it online...I got 319,000 hits! The recipes were all pretty much the same and everybody wrote about how fresh it tasted.
Reading people's reviews, I could actually taste this jam! I could remember how simple it was to make and how unique a taste it had.
What the heck, after all these years of making jam for Beary Good Stuff, I figured it would be fun to do something this simple.
Here are the figs from my sister's tree. I was going to count the number of actual figs for 5 cups of diced fruit, but I forgot.
I removed the top and the bottom from the fruit and quartered them.
In future, I would cut them a little smaller--or run them through the food processor. I made sure I used about 1 cup of under-ripe fruit it has more pectin. Pectin forms the solid that holds the liquid together in jam. But the outside pith and skin, especially in the under ripe fruit, did not break down when cooking as much as I expected.
I added the sugar and stirred it into the figs, and I added about 3 tbsp lemon juice. I let it sit about 30 minutes. I find the fruit juices are drawn out better and the flesh breaks down better if I let the sugar and fruit sit.
Here are the figs when the jam started to simmer. I actually ended up cooking them for 25 minutes instead of the 20 it stated in the recipe. The skin and pith did not break down as much as I expected. When I added the Strawberry Jello, and cooked it, I tested* the gel after 5 minutes and it was not setting. I cooked it for another 5 and tested it again. It was still not setting. I then added 1/2 a box of low sugar pectin. I find overcooked jam looses a lot of the fruit taste.
Here is the jam, after the jello and pectin have been added and cooked for another 5 minutes. I then skimmed off the foam.
After the foam was skimmed, I then ladled it into the sterilized jars.
Here is the jam in the jars, just before I added the lids and rings.
I canned the jam for 5 minutes and then took it out of the canner to cool.
This jam took a whole day to set up. I was starting to worry I would have to re-can as I had troubles when it was cooking.
I ended up with exactly what I was expecti
Not only does it taste excellent on toast, it was exceptionally good with some chicken and feta cheese with olives on french bread.
I made the first batch following the recipe (mostly).
5 cups diced figs
7 cups sugar
1 large box of Jello
- Wash figs and clip stems. Mash figs with gloved hands. Boil 20 minutes with sugar. (I quartered the figs and let them sit in the sugar and mashed while cooking).
- Then stir in gelatin. Cook 10 minutes more. (I did this, however the fruit was a little over-ripe, it was not passing the gel test, so I added 1/2 box of Low Sugar Certo pectin)
- Pour into pint jars and seal. Process 5 minutes in boiling water bath.
We got perfection!
The 2nd batch did not set! The figs were far too ripe and even the 1/2 box of Certo did not help. I let it sit a week and re-canned it today...
Waiting a week, my Beary Good Canning Brain started to percolate...I wanted to add some zing!
If it sets up this week, I will tell you how to re-can and what I did to make this batch of fig jam unique.
* When you're making jam with traditional amounts of sugar, you're aiming to cook it to 220°F. That's the temperature at which sugar forms a gel and can bond with the pectin. A sugar/candy thermometer is best, but I use an instant read.