I love this jam. I think we all love it. A perfect fig jam is one of the most popular flavors along with apricot and strawberry but has a unique advantage. It pleasantly accompanies varieties of cheese – mainly because it balances their spiciness.
If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree in the neighborhood, you will notice that there is a peak season in summer where the figs are so many. You don’t know what to do with them. I can tell you what: Make a jam out of them.
5+1 well hidden secrets for the perfect fig jam
75kcal / sefving
In 2012, my fig jam was awarded as one of the 100 best Greek products. Two other products of mine - Melon jam and Watermelon jam - were also awarded the same year.
figs. Ideally from 2 or 3 different varieties and different maturation.
raw or white crystalline sugar. After all, they have the same calories.
freshly squeezed citrus juice: Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit and / or pink grapefruit.
extra virgin olive oil
Wash the figs, remove the stalk and cut them in half to make sure they are not damaged (and there are no worms). We do not remove the skin.
Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil at low temperature until the sugar has melted.
Once the sugar has melted and after it starts to foam, add the extra virgin olive oil and mix.
Increase the temperature and skim if necessary.
Boil for 20'-30 ', stirring at regular intervals with a wooden spoon. As soon as we see that the jam starts to stick to the bottom, it means that it has set. If we want the jam without pieces of fruit at this stage we can melt it with a hand mixer.
In a small plate put a spoonful of jam and with the teaspoon separate it in half. If the 2 sides are joined then a little more cooking is needed.
Squeeze 2-3 drops of lemon, add a pinch of salt, stir and remove the pan from the heat. The jam is ready.
Heat 4-5 glass jars in the oven. With the help of a glove or a towel, take out each jar and fill it with jam.
Screw the lid well and turn it upside down. Leave it with the lid down.
Return the jar to its normal position as soon as it cools completely. This way the jam will keep for at least one year.
The secrets for the perfect fig jam
It looks like it is an easy to make jam. That’s in theory. Figs have a lot of sugars. That is a truth. We all know that sugar and sugars make your life easier while preparing a jam. But because figs have lot of sugars, we usualy do not use the proper quantity of sugar in order to avoid too much sweetnes. It can be a big mistake. With less sugar, in a few days, you will realise that your fig jam becomes sour, dilutes or foams.
So, here comes the first secret: Citrus fruits. Instead of water, boil the figs and the sugar in citrus juice. By this way, you achieve two goals. First, you can use the proper quantity of sugar in order to have a guarateed result in texture. In the same time, you get enough pectin from citrus fruits, so that your jam is thick enough without beeing too sweet.
Second secret: You can experiment with different citrus juices. Ornage juice gives extra arome and brighter colour. I prefer the pink grapefruit, since it has an amazing aftertaste with the unique bitterness of the fruit. This bitternes opposes the sweetness of the fig and the added sugar and offers a delicius aftertaste.
Third secret: Because it foams a lot, as soon as the sugar boils for the first time – and before the pot fills with foam – I add a spoonful of extra virgin olive oil. This reduces the foam by about 50%. It also gives a shiny loock to the jam.
Stay tuned, more secrets follow
Fourth secret: An other secret is not to peel the figs. You wash them very well under cold water but do not peel them. The skin of the fig holds a lot of nutrients as also a rich taste. Not to forget: Do not avoid to check all figs for unwanted worms before you boil them.
Secret number five. The Ideal taste is achieved with different varieties of figs at different stages of ripening. So, the more different figs you use, the more different flavours you will get. In my opinion, the perfect jam is made by equal amounts of over-ripe and unripe figs and equal amounts of green and black figs.
What can the perfect fig jam accompany
Here comes the bonus secret. The perfect fig jam is harmoniously combined with black pepper or asteroid anise or Chios mastic and with fresh herbs such as juniper root, fennel, marjoram and even mint. Balsamic vinegar, ouzo or even brandy give extra crunch. Try them with cheese and cold plates. But, please, although it may become spicy, do not call it “chutney”, because it is not. Chutnay has a lot of other ingredients, such as onion. You can just ca2ll it “spicy fig jam”. Or you may even call it food marmalade. It does not make it less tasty.
Enjoy with bred, cheese, cold cuts. Also, with wine, brandy, ouzo and always with good friends!
This recipe was first published in Melisoula’s blog, which I thank for the beautiful photos.
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