The Fig Tree,
Fresh Fig and Ginger Jam
I have a fig tree, it is large and graceful and very bountiful…….it borders the stone wall in the back garden and is an extremely elegant old lady; the birds love her, especially the blackbirds who all live and nest in the top branches; the hens love her and the figs of course ~ she gives shade in the summer and plump, misty purple figs in the autumn, she’s a real fruity diva.
Our home here in SW France is shared with many people throughout the year; as many of you may know, we run a Bed and Breakfast when we are here ~ our home is called “Auberge de la Fontaine” and is named after the old village well and fountain which are both in our front garden now……as many of my home-made preserves are served at the breakfast and supper table, I have numerous requests to buy a jar or two to take home, hence many of my recipes have the prefix of “Auberge” in front of them. This jam is just one of the most popular preserves that I make and sell ~ so the name is not me being a little bit “precious” or “pretentious”, it’s simply what my guests want……I just wanted to get that off my chest!
This is a really simple jam to make and yet it is always met with fascination and delight by all who eat it; the multi-layered flavours are tantalising and yet quite subtle ~ it is equally at home with savoury dishes as well as the usual sweet dishes that jams are expected to be used with. The addition of apple adds a little pectin to the jam and helps with the set, although don’t expect a firm set, this is a soft and unctuous sort of conserve with musky overtones of ginger.
It’s a rich russet colour with a slight pinkish hue and it’s divine when served with the cheeseboard darlinks! The ginger is a natural soul mate to the cheeky sweetness of the figs……all in all, it is a little star on the sugary jam front. I have also served this jam in toasted cheese sandwiches which takes the humble toastie to a much higher level on the toasted sarnie cat walk; a dollop on top of ice cream is jolly nice as are a few spoons at the bottom of a steamed sponge pudding. This is also a jam that makes it to my “Christmas gifts for others” list, when decanted into attractive vintage jam jars and topped with a wee fabric cap and a swirl of festive ribbon it makes a wonderful addition to a Christmas Stocking or Regal Hamper.
Anyway, that’s enough hard sell for this jam now, although I just wanted to share the delights of the taste tests with you all…..no hard sell really, just delectable tasting notes and serving ideas! I am on a “figgy” roll this week and will be back with another fig recipe later on in the week, as well as one more quince recipe too…….it’s my last foray in the jam factory. So here is the recipe for my Auberge Fresh Fig and Ginger Jam, with a printable version as always……if you can lay your hands on fresh figs I think you will love this jam as much as my family, friends and guests do!
Auberge Fresh Fig and Ginger Jam
We have a wonderful fig tree in our back garden, and this year I cannot keep up with all the fruit. We have had figs in salads, baked figs, figs and cheese – I have made fig chutney, bottled figs and figs in Armagnac…finally, I thought up this idea for a jam, as I think figs and ginger go so well together. It is delicious – and such a wonderful rich colour. Not only is it wonderful spread on toast or bread, but it is lovely dolloped on ice cream and hot desserts, or for steamed puddings. You need to use fresh figs for this recipe – you don’t get the same results with dried figs.
- 3 lbs (1350g) ripe figs, washed and diced
- 2 lbs (900g) preserving sugar
- 1 -2 tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 cooking apple, cored, peeled and diced
- 4 -5 tablespoons crystallised ginger, chopped roughly
- 3 lemons, juice of, only
- 1/2 pint water
- Put the figs, sugar and ground ginger into a large non-metallic bowl, cover and leave for 6-8 hours.
- Just before you are ready to make your jam, warm and sterilise your jam jars and jam pot covers or lids – prepare jars by washing in hot soapy water and leaving to dry and warm in a cool oven – 130C/250F/Gas ½ for 10-15 minutes.
- Transfer the figs and sugar to a large saucepan or preserving pan, add the apple, crystallised ginger, lemons and water. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and setting point is reached.
- Remove the jam from the heat and leave to cool for 20-25 minutes. Pour into the warm jam jars and cover/seal straight away.
- Label and store in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks to allow the flavours to develop.
See you later,