Yesterday we picked 5.5 kilos of green and black ripe figs from a friend’s tree – and there are many more still ripening. They are delicious eaten fresh, just as they are, but we want to preserve most of them and the easiest way to do that is to make jam.
The black figs have a ‘jammier’ flavour while the green ones taste fresher. Both good – luckily we don’t have to choose between them! I cut 2 kilos of the black ones into quarters and mixed them in a big pan with a finely chopped whole lemon and 2 kilos of sugar. I then left the whole lot over night while the sugar drew the juices out of the figs.
The lemon adds some acidity and a bit of flavour. Some people, I know, add spices such as cinnamon to fig jam but I don’t think they need any other flavouring. Once the mixture had come to the boil it took about an hour and a quarter for the jam to start setting – test it by putting a spoonful on a saucer and allowing it to cool, when the surface wrinkles it’s ready for bottling. Lo Jardinièr used the colourful Catalan ceramic funnel we bought in a market in Collioure.
And with some of the fresh figs I made this salad: slices of fresh goats’ cheese arranged on a dish with quartered figs, sprinkled with ground black pepper and dressed with a mix of balsamic vinegar and olive oil – very tasty!