Saturday, June 27, 2009

First figs of the season

Doug surprised me the other morning by finding some ripe figs on the tree. I thought it would be a few more weeks before we had any, but there they were! I picked a bunch and decided to make some orange fig preserves.

Orange Fig Preserves
(Makes one quart)

4 cups of fresh figs, cleaned and diced
2 cups of sugar
(you can reduce sugar if you want, but the preserves will not set properly.)
Zest of one large orange
1 cup of seeded and peeled orange slices
(Cut both ends off the orange, stand upright and cut down the sides of the orange taking away all of the white pith. Hold the skinned orange in your hand and cut between the membranes for perfect orange slices with no skin!)

Place ingredients in a large bowl and allow to sit for 30 minutes to macerate.
Put everything in a large saucepan and begin to boil over medium heat. Cook for about 30-45 minutes. If you spoon out a bit on to a small plate that has been in the freezer, you can push the mixture around a bit with your finger tip to see how thick it is. If it is runny, cook it a couple minutes more. You can also check by seeing how the jam runs off of a spoon. If it seems to firm up a bit as it drips, it's done.

Pour out the jam into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headroom from the top of the jars. If you want to keep your jam in a cupboard, then use sterilized jars. If you plan to eat up quickly and will keep them in the refrigerator, regular clean jars will do.

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