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September 18, 2011

I figured it out.

So, it turns out I am a fraud. Who knew. Well I guess some people knew but obviously not me. A conserve is a jam made of fruit stewed in sugar with the fruit remaining fairly intact, the others, jam and jelly are fruit spreads, cooked long enough for the fruit to break down (are you getting this?). Thus jam is softened fruit cooked with a few small pieces of fruit remaining in a thick syrup and a jelly is a clear or translucent fruit spread made from sweetened fruit that has been strained or filtered. We won’t get into marmalade, curd or butters and I guess all could be made with veggies as well, but really why ?

All are cooked with sugar or a sugar substitute and set with the use of pectin and all are canned.   Ok to be perfectly honest they can all be canned but not necessarily required to be so as in freezer preserves. Hi Grandma and your margarine tubs of strawberry jam.

Recently I small batch canned fig conserve from figs I’d purchased  at Farmer Shaun’s stand. I heart Farmer Shaun. Baskets of delicious deep dark black figs.

He’s on Facebook

It made exactly 4 small 1/2 pint jars, one of which was consumed while our friend Robin and her boys came to dinner. We may have licked the platter. It was good. But I wanted better, so I figured that if  I played with the basic recipe I could get a better conserve. And I could have made conserve if I  hadn’t ‘smooshed” (that’s a technical cooking term) the figs and cooked them long enough to have them break down. So now its jam, plain jane regular old jam which is out of this world but still,  how will my Christmas baskets have that panache now without calling it conserve.


This is an adapted recipe from  sources on the internet that I’d wished I written down. Two of  which you  can find  here A Cooking Life  or here Home and I love Food in Jars.   My first batch earlier this month was a deeply purple fig color, this one canned late at night this week was far pinker, I cannot tell you why, the wine perhaps?

 I use  Pomona Natural Pectin.  I can play with the amount of sugar I want and it gives a softer set than regular commercial pectin. You could use agar as well, but be sure you have canned before trying a version of these.

Fraudulent Fig Conserve

Ripe but not overly ripe figs

Weigh your figs, for every pound of figs you’ll need:

1 Lemon zested, and juiced. I added another juiced lemon because I like the contrast it offers and because I decreased the sugar and needed to up the acid. 

1 whole clove, 1 sliver of cinnamon stick , just a piece is all

1 1/2 cups of sugar or less depending on how sweet your figs are …or whatever it says on your pectin instructions ( Figs are one of those fruits that are low acid so don’t mess around too much)

A glug, or about 2 Tb of a hearty red wine, or Grand Mariner or I ‘ll bet Cointreau is divine

Remove the stems from the figs and  quarter the fruit

In a non reactive bowl  spread all but 1/4 cup of  sugar over the figs with the lemon juice, stir gently, cover and refrigerate overnight

To begin canning:

Mix the 1/2 cup of sugar with your pectin and set aside ( if you have increased the measurements increase this sugar amount as well)

Tie the clove and piece of cinnamon stick  in a cheesecloth bag or like me sink it in the mix in a tea ball( it’s easier to fish out)

Add the liquor the lemon zest and clove to your fig sugar lemon mix.

Bring carefully to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring  frequently to prevent scorching until the figs are very soft tender and there is a lot of liquid bubbling in the pan. ( you can go to jam if you smash the fruit or use an immersion  blender to chop)

Add the remaining sugar/pectin mix and let come to boil again until it is thick and syrupy, about 2 min  stirring  frequently to prevent scorching.

Remove from heat.

Can according to your preferred method, water bath or pressure cooker.

Let this “cure” for week or two before opening a jar.

Serve on toast, ice cream, or cheese, it is also lovely mixed into greek yogurt. And for heavens sake, send me a jar!

One Comment leave one →
  1. 5andcounting permalink
    September 18, 2011 12:42 pm

    beautiful photos, and pls bring contents of photo number 4 tonight, so all can judge if they are worthy of the Christmas baskets.

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