I was given the gift of figs off of a friend’s fig tree yesterday, so even though I wasn’t sure I was going to be putting anything up this fall, this morning I made blueberry fig preserves.
2 teaspoons baking soda
8 cups fresh figs stems removed or 2 pounds of fresh figs
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
1/2 cup water
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
5 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – pure only
1 lemon thinly sliced into rounds seeds removed
Juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Half teaspoon ground cloves
Half teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
Healthy pinch of salt
Three cinnamon sticks
First dissolve the baking soda in about 2 quarts of cool water and immerse the figs in the treated water either in one half of your kitchen sink if you have a double sink or in a really large bowl. Gently stir to wash the figs using your hand in the water.
Drain the figs and remove all stems and cut in half and place in a bowl.
In a big stewpot or jam pot (depending on what you have) slowly dissolve the sugar, maple syrup, butter, vanilla extract, water, apple cider, spices and a pinch of salt.
Now that you have created a sort of syrup add your fruit – figs, blueberries, lemon slices.
Toss in the cinnamon sticks. Add the lemon juice.
Bring up to a boil over medium heat and stir a lot because the stuff will stick to the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer and stir gently occasionally and cook down until the figs are golden brown and the blueberries are so deep they almost appear a purple black.
As the figs are reaching the right color, I use an immersion blender to break everything up while continuing to cook down. I have friends who don’t do this at all and the reason I do it is because I like to serve fig preserves with cheese when company comes over and when there are big chunks of fig it makes it clumsy.
Truthfully this all cooked a couple of hours.
When your jam is ready to jar ladle it into your jars, leaving about a quarter inch at the top of room. Put your lids and rings on completely seal super tight and put them in your boiling hot water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. I will note that I looked at several recipes when developing my own recipe and people were processing anywhere from six minutes to 15 minutes in the hot water bath. I would say I processed mine about 10 minutes maybe a little less.
Pull your jars out and place on a cloth covered or wooden surface several inches apart until they are cool. Once the jars are completely cool press in the center to make sure they are sealed. Store in a cool dark area and wait at least two days before opening. I personally like to let my preserves said a couple of weeks before I try them.
Another important note is this is a recipe without using pectin. So it will probably be more loose than a jam made with pectin. You can make it both ways. I have always made fig preserves or fig jam without pectin. This is also the first time I’ve actually ever written down or looked at recipes for the jam – I’ve just always winged it and it’s turned out fine