Friday, 24 October 2014

The benefits of a warm Autumn

We have had a great Summer here in the UK with just about the right amount of rain and sunshine. This was then augmented by a blissfully warm beginning to the Autumn with the weather only finally cooling off in the last few days. This has resulted in a bumper crop of ripe 'Brown Turkey' figs from the garden.

Most years I have to resort to pickling the unripe figs so the efforts of the tree do not go to waste but this year we have a sudden glut of ripe and sweet figs. As much as we enjoy eating these raw with a little prosciutto ham, thin parmigiana slices and a green salad, the quantities we have this year might be a little much for this simple salad.

With Christmas on the way, I thought a nice warming fig jam might be in order. Perfect on toast or with a good strong cheese. I collected 1.2 Kg of figs from the tree.

These were then chopped and mixed with 1.2 Kg of preserving sugar and 1.5 tbsp of ground ginger.

This was left in a covered non metallic bowl for six hours to draw the moisture out of the figs. The resulting mixture was then transferred to a preserving pan with a peeled and diced cooking apple, 50 grams of chopped preserved ginger (in syrup), 90 ml of white wine vinegar, 280 ml of water and the juice of three lemons (as usual the rind goes into a jar with some vodka to be turned into Limoncello when I have enough rind).

Stir over a low heat until the sugar is dissolved then increase the heat and boil for around 20 minutes until the setting point is reached and the fruit is soft (220C). Leave to cool for a further 20 minutes before bottling in clean dry jars. Seal the jars and place in a dark cupboard for a month or so for the flavours to develop. A perfect reminder of the balmy days of 2014 during the potentially cold winter months.

Now in the jar, this rich brown jam tastes great (should be even better in a month or so). Thank you Summer :)

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