Saturday, October 27, 2012

VeganMoFo: When life gives you figs...

You know, I'm not sure why the phrase "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" exists.  They're not just some sour, single-use ingredient.  I put them in everything.  Enough about lemons, though.  Today we're talking about figs, and more importantly, fig jam!

Our neighbor has a 20+ ft tall green fig tree in her yard, which happens to have sent a bunch of branches over our way.  We're not complaining and neither are the dogs, who immediately zoom to the spot below the fig tree when they're let out.

Yesterday I set out with my ladder and my biggest colander (which I had to empty three times) to collect roughly 170 figs (and I left a ton on the tree).  Remember, this amount was only from the branches that have grown over from our neighbor's yard since Feb 2011 when we put up the fence!  Basically, I got a lot of figs.

This photo is deceptive.  This bowl is HUGE.  I ended up only using half of these.

Then I made Super Scrumptious Fig and Crystallized Ginger Jam 

I am not a canning expert, so I mostly just followed the directions that came with my pectin box.
Here's what I did:

24 cups quartered figs (will turn into roughly 12 cups when cooked)
1/2 cup water
Juice and zest of one lemon (~1/4 cup juice)
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
6 cups sugar (can you believe this is the "reduced sugar" recipe?)
A full box of Pomona's Universal Pectin (follow the directions on the pectin box you choose)

1. I sterilized several jars (although not enough, so I ended up making a few jars to keep in the fridge) and their lids.  As they were sterilizing I began chopping figs and preparing the rest of the jam.
Sterilizing the jars at 350* F for 20 minutes.

2. I quartered figs until I had 24 cups of fruit, which was all that would fit in my biggest soup pot.  I placed them in the pot along with the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, and that calcium water made from a packet that came with my pectin (yours may differ).  I cooked this over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the volume decreased by half and the figs were pretty soft- about 10 minutes or so.
24 cups of quartered figs!
3. I mixed the pectin powder (your directions may differ) with the sugar, then added the mixture to the figs, stirring continuously for 1-2 minutes.  Then I brought the mixture to a boil and removed it from heat. 

4. I filled my jars, leaving 1/4" of space on time, wiped the rims clean, screwed on the dried lids, and tightened the lids until my wrists hurt.  I gave them a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

That's it!

15 jars of varying sizes

Oh we did some very yummy things with the jam last night.  More on that tomorrow!  For now, some more dog and fig photos!

Emerson Fig Lover, has become quite adept at standing on his back legs to position himself directly under a particular fig.  He'll even stay outside in the rain, something he ordinarily avoids.
Getting Emerson to look at the camera has never been easier.  A fig was the answer.

Andy, Jungle Beast.


  1. Wait, what, figs grow in Portland? I want a fig tree. Or a neighbor with a fig tree. Or heck, even a fig! Nice harvest.

    1. All sorts of figs! They do great in this climate. We planted one, ourselves, but it's just a baby.

  2. My figs are drying as we speak. Thanks so very much for sharing yours with me. I am lucky!

    1. Yay! I'm glad you could use them. I hope they weren't too unripe.