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Friday, August 5, 2011

Drunken Fig Jam

   So I'm gonna do some quick bragging and then show you what drunk figs look like,ok ?!?!
Here goes it:
                         A few weeks back a family member that shall remain nameless ( we could call her Betty) called a certain food/home/garden section editor (we'll call her Ginna) at the newspaper. Said family member did a bit of bragging about me (little ol' me,I just cook a little,can/preserve a little and write a few blog posts some of the time) and food/home/garden section editor was so impressed she called me to set up an interview. We talked for a couple of hours,had a lovely time . Weeelll a few days later that fantastic food editor whipped up a story  about me and all my cookin', bloggin' and cannin'. It's a great article written by a pretty fantastic newspaper lady/foodie and well she was right, I did blush when I read it. And really have blushed ever since each time someone mentions the article to me. Thanks Betty and Ginna for making my year.

   Ok onto drunken figs!!!
   I was offered some free figs last week and couldn't pass up the chance at this delicious,luscious fruit. Hooray for free figs!!! I have made fig jam before. It was perfect,sweet and so simple. I thought surely this can't be true, a jam could not be this easy. Well it was for two reasons: 1. Figs are a small fruit,easy to handle. No peeling,little chopping and definitely no juice extraction. Although that would be an interesting challenge,don't know how prosperous though. (I digress.) 2. You gotta like seeds in your jam,preserve,...finished product. I ride the fence sometimes when it comes to seeds in the jam. I know it's a silly nuance,but we all have our moments. In the past I have not been a huge fan of figs,but also did not have all that much experience with them so my room to talk was not so big after all.
    I tasted a fresh,ripe fig,after that first bite it was love. I made the jam and just knew if I ever came in contact with a fig again...well it would be all she wrote. A few weeks back a friend of mine was in town visiting for the weekend. He is one my bestest friends and my best foodie friend EVER! We got up a little early to hit up the local farmers market,coffee in hand and my short,concise list in my back pocket. I was prepared to focus,get what I needed and hit the bricks. We had a long day and night ahead of us and ...it all went downhill with one glance of a fig.(must focus,must focus)

   Well dang,there they were figs in cute little green baskets on a table sitting right there at the entrance to the farmers market. Dang. Dang. Dang.
 
      I got my figs,a few other jewels and we headed for the house.( weeeelllllllll technically we headed for the grocery to pick up some fresh mozzarella. My friend bought some tasty homemade bread at the market and lunch was going to be bites of toasty bread,slices of mozzarella and these pickled jewels. People it was the best lunch ever,perfect for an afternoon of canning. He was a quick learner thank goodness.) We had a lovely  day canning,divine dinner party later that evening,caught a movie and cocktails the next day with friends. So my friend packs up,gets on the road and I go back in the house to figs. I made golden fig jam. It was delish.

    Two weeks later another foodie friend calls to say she has a lot of fresh figs on her hands and offered some of those fine figs to me !!!  I took them and ran for the border. I found a fig jam recipe that sounded too good to pass up.
Drunken Fig Jam. It sounded so dang good. Hints of lemon zest,sugar sweetness and brandy. Rich,simple brandy. Figs are in season RIGHT NOW and if you can get them make some fig jam immediately. They are a little fragile,but cook into a jam nicely. I promised drunken figs,prepare yourself.

 The ingredient list is rather short: lemons,figs,sugar,brandy and kosher salt.
  Now I didn't get the figs as wasted as I planned. I only had enough brandy to use 1/2 cup of brandy,so the figs were gonna get a little tipsy.
  Put the all of the ingredients into a large pot,stir to combine and let them sit. The sugar,citrus and brandy will break down the natural sugars of the figs and folks we will have us some fine jam-making material in an hour or two.

  Drunken figs.
The smells were so bright coming out of this pot. I mean really sweet,citrusy and all laced in brandy. Yum.
Almost there.
 Now not nearly as pretty as the whole figs, I decided to use my immersion blender just to break things up a bit. Figs make a great chunky jam as well as a smooth jam. So versatile and tasty. 
Crazy figs.
 
It looks like a few figs averted to whir of the immersion blender and thats ok by me. It will be a bonus one morning on big ol' flaky biscuit. 
Again I say YUM!
Drunken Fig Jam
adapted from epicurious.com
Ingredients:
2 lemons
4 lbs fresh figs,stemmed cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( about 9 cups)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Directions:
1. Using vegetable peeler,remove peel from lemons (yellow part only) into longs strips.Cut peel into match strips,maybe even smaller.
2. Combine lemon peel,figs,sugar,brandy and salt in a heavy large saucepan;let stand at room temperature for 1 hour,stirring occasionally.
3. Bring fig mixture to a boil over medium-high heat,stirring until sugar dissolves.reduce heat to medium;continue to boil jam until it thickens and is reduced to 6 cups,stirring frequently and occasionally mashing the mixture with a potato masher to crush larger fig pieces,30 - 35 minutes. Remove from heat.
4. Prepare canner,jars and lids. Ladle hot mixture into clean,sterilized jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace at the top of jars. Remove any air bubbles. Wipe rim,center lids and screw on rings to finger-tip tight.Process jars for 10 minutes,remove canner lid and wait 5 more minutes. Then remove jars from canner,let cool on cooling rack for at least 12 hours if possible overnight.Store in cool dark place for up to 1 year.ENJOY!


   

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