Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Fig Project - Fig, Balsamic and Peppercorn Jam

A few of the figs taking part in this project

I thought I'd be posting more frequently now that school is out. But as usual, life is full of surprises... and not always good ones at that! As some of you might know by now, M. was in a motorbike accident a few weeks ago. He's doing fine... a broken nose, a broken knee and torn ligament. Nothing that won't be fixed eventually. It's not THAT bad. I'm grateful that he's home and wheeling himself about.

Figs - Trimmed and ready for action

After abandoning my kitchen for a while, this week I was back at it, getting another surprise (this time a good one) by being gifted a nice big bag of organic figs. We ate a few but I knew that unless I did something with them, they might go to waste. All in all, I have till now ate, cooked with or somehow used around 15kg of figs. I will attempt to document all the ways I have used/will use the said figs, starting with the first fig jam I made - Fig, Balsamic and Peppercorn.

My favourite mixture of pink and black peppercorns

Actually, as my cousin L. correctly pointed out, jam might not be the correct name for what I made first. By definition, jams should be smooth, not chunky. Preserves, on the other hand are chunks of fruit, suspended in a syrup base. Not sure whether that qualifies either. It's possibly more of a chutney, having a combination of chopped fruit, vinegar, spices and sugar all simmered into a chunky mix, balanced in sweetness, tartness and spice.

Figs- added sugar, balsamic vinegar, crushed peppercorns and lemon

I love this jam. Although I am a huge fig fan, fig jams were not my favourite, due to them being too sweet. But this jam is so balanced, you might want to eat all of it straight out of the jar. And I can already see it being used in tarts, pancakes, salads or over some home made galletti (water biscuits)... but more on that later. :) For now, I'll share the recipe...

The first batch of yuminess

Fig, Balsamic Vinegar & Peppercorn  

  • 1.5Kg Figs, trimmed and chopped
  • 450g Granulated Sugar
  • 195ml aged Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1.5 Tsp whole Black and Pink peppercorns
  • 1/8 Lemon
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 x 500ml Jars (sterilised) 

  1. In a large, heavy based pan mix in figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and wedge of lemon.
  2. Grind the peppercorns and add them to the mixture. Stir well. 
  3. Put the pan over high heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the lemon wedge and lower the heat, allowing to simmer gently, stirring approximately once every 5 - 7 minutes. 
  5. This stage usually takes me an hour or so until the mixture reaches it's setting point. (See test below) 
  6. When done, ladle the mixture into sterilised jars, seal and put into a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Jam Test
  • When jam mixture starts looking thick, put a spoonful on a small plate and freeze it for 2 minutes. Once out of the freezer, swipe your finger gently across the blob on the plate. If it wrinkles and feels firm, the jam is ready for bottling.
  • You can also use a thermometer to check jam for readiness. Jam is ready when it reaches 105°C.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent stuff, imagine that with some onions to make a relish for burgers our with some blue cheese and walnuts for a rich pasta sauce