Friday, September 28, 2012

Fig Jam Four Ways + Chipotle Fig Jam Recipe

Well really, if you count all the ones I ate fresh it would be figs five or six ways at least, but we'll stick to the preserving front which ranges from sweet to savory spice as well as boozy.

Once again, a friend's generosity fueled my creativity in the kitchen. Walnut Creek has got the heat, and my friend Michaela invited me over to pick from her two huge fig trees on a warm day indeed. After all that hard work, her button-cute daughter Stella was nice enough to hose down my feet. That felt nice!

While I ogled and munched figs back in my kitchen, I already had a few recipes and flavor combos in mind. First up, to make some balsamic fig jam. I have been addicted to LuLu's fig balsamic vinegar for years, and it's an indisputable swoon-worthy flavor combination. Second, I wanted to use the fennel pollen I had scored at the very first food swap. Fennel and figs go together like birthdays and cake, and that's a fact. Third, was to preserve some in brandy  these Sicilian Preserved Figs were a hit with friends.

As I cooked down all these dazzling concoctions, I knew just what to do with the remaining fruit: add some smoky, spicy, heat.

I always have a can or two of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce on the pantry shelves or in the fridge. I use them in eggs, chilequiles, soups and chili, and even put a bit of the sauce in salad dressing for roasted vegetable salads. I am happy to report the jam outcome was as expected: sensational. The earthy smoky spice of the chiles paired with the concentrated sweetness of the figs makes them soar.

Chipotle Fig Jam
Yields 4 half pints

2 lbs figs, chopped
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tablespoons lemon juice, plus a few lemon slices if desired
1-1½ canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped  to taste, depending on your desired spice level

Chop your figs according to how chunky you want your jam, and place in a large non-reactive pot. Cover with sugar and let macerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Add water, lemon juice, and lemon slices if using, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer and stir regularly to prevent scorching.

After an hour, if needed, use a potato masher to break up the figs. Stir in the chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce.

Cook another 15-20 minutes, or until the jam has reached a consistency you like.

Ladle into hot jars, and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Confession time: The harvest and output described here was actually from last year. In fact, I've already gone and picked the first round of this year's crop which has resulted in four new types of figgy goodness, including a different fennel flavor, plus herbal and citrus mixes. I promise to highlight some of them here before this time next year...

Chipotle Fig Jam on Punk Domestics