I’d love to be writing a post about the figs harvested from my own garden. But my fig plant is still only a baby, and some way off producing any fruit. I bought it earlier this year when it was nothing but a small stick with roots and a couple of buds. The stick was planted in a large pot and stood against a south-facing wall. And over the summer it’s turned into a healthy-looking plant with big leaves.
Now, this is my first try at growing figs, so I’m pretty much making things up as I go. If anyone out there has more experience (or a more organised approach), I’d love to learn more about what I should be doing – and how many years I’ll need to wait before my first home-grown fig harvest!
Until that first harvest, the figs will have to come from the market. Yesterday’s bag of figs was turned into a lovely sweet, sticky, dark red jam. The jam was taste-tested at breakfast this morning, admittedly a very quick taste test – the school bus doesn’t wait for those who linger over breakfast. On freshly-buttered toast it was very good, but I’m thinking it will also go really well with oatcakes and goat’s cheese, or possibly as the jam filling in a Bakewell tart… What would you do with a jar of fig jam?
If you have figs from the garden (or the market) to use up and are looking for ideas, the ingredient for this month’s one ingredient challenge is figs. The challenge is hosted by Laura at How to Cook Good Food and Nazima at Working London Mummy, and is a great place to look for recipe inspiration. I’ll be adding my fig jam recipe to the list.
(Makes about 3 mismatched jars of jam)
1kg figs, washed, stems removed and cut into quarters
zest and juice of 1 unwaxed lemon
450g preserving sugar
2 tbsp port
Put all the ingredients into a large pan, give them a good stir and leave for about 30 minutes, stirring again from time to time. The sugar will start to dissolve and the flavours will start to mix.
Use the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher to break up the figs a bit. Put the pan over a low heat and stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Then turn the heat up to bring the jam to the boil, and cook for about 25 minutes (you may need to turn the heat down a little, this jam tends to ‘spit’ quite a bit). The mixture will start to thicken up – take the pan off the heat and test for a set. Boil for a few minutes more, if needed, until setting point is reached.
Pour the jam into sterilised jars and top with waxed paper discs while still warm.