Fig Jam: "Summer Caught & Stoppered"

Ray Bradbury wrote that dandelion wine "was summer caught and stoppered." That is exactly how I feel about these fig preserves. I love that canning is a way of capturing a season in order to enjoy a taste of sunshine on a cold, dreary January day.
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I made these preserves with my mom which makes them extra special. Paired with a nice soft cheese like camembert and whole wheat crackers, you'll be making this every year. 
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If you do get the canning bug, I recommend you buy Ball's "Complete Book of Home Preserving" by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine. You'll find all sorts of great info. :)
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I don't have any fancy schmancy canning tools. If you do, that rocks! If you don't all you'll need are two big pots, one big bowl, six squeaky clean half-pint Ball jars/lids, tea towels and tongs. Please read the directions the whole way through before attempting so you aren't surprised by any steps. 
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Please tag me @blossomandbeebakery in any finished products! 
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Happy making!
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Mariana
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Ingredients:
  1. 3lb fresh figs stemmed 
  2. 1 vanilla bean, split
  3. .5lb lemons sliced SUPER thin
  4. .5c honey (I get mine from Renfrows in Matthews)
  5. 2.25c sugar (add more or less to taste)
  6. .75c roasted chopped nuts (I used walnuts but get crazy with it. Macadamia nuts? Sure! Pecans? Why not? Use what you like or have on hand that makes sense.I don't recommend anything that's salted...)
Steps:
  1. Place figs in a big bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. This gets rid of any dirt (or bugs) that could be hiding inside or in the lil wrinkly bits. Let it stand for about 10 minutes and then drain. 
  2. Quarter the figs and place into a large pot. If you don't want big chunks, cut them smaller. 
  3. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds and add the bean, seeds, lemons, honey and sugar to the pot. Bring it to a simmer, stirring until the sugar dissolves. TRY IT. If you want more sugar or think it's too lemony add and subtract accordingly. 
  4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours. 
  5. Pour the fig mix back into the giant pot. 
  6. Take out the vanilla bean and cut into 6 pieces. You'll add these to your jars later. 
  7. Bring the fig mixture to a rolling boil. You want it to be thick and jammalicious. Figs should be soft and liquid should by a gorgeous syrupy goodness. It'll take around half an hour. 
  8. While this is going, get your jars up to temp. I placed the bottom of a springform pan on the bottom of my pot in order to keep the jars from being right on the heat. Place the jars in the pot, making sure that they aren't touching each other, and cover/fill with water. You want the water to be exactly at the top of the jar. The key is for the jars and filling to be at the same temperature. 
  9. Alright! Your jam is getting close! Stir in your nuts, if using, and make sure to stir constantly. There's a lot of sugars in your preserves and you don't want them to scorch. 
  10. When it's ready, turn your jam on super low and continue to boil your jars. It's time to move QUICK. 
  11. Using your tongs to pick up a jar, pour the water out of it and place on a tea towel. Ladle in your fig jam, making sure to leave half an inch of headspace. Drop in a piece of vanilla. Clean off the lip of the jar and carefully place the lid and tighten the outerband. Using the tongs, gently set the jar back in the water. 
  12. Repeat step 11 with the rest of your jars. 
  13. Allow the jars to stay in their boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 
  14. Gently remove them from the pot onto a tea towel and DO NOT MOVE THEM until cool. I would HATE for anyone's to shatter after all that work! 
  15. You'll know they are sealed when you hear a subtle "pop". Some might do this right away and some might take a little while. If they "pop" you'll know the seal has worked! YAY! 
  16. These will keep for 1 year in a cool and dry spot. :) 
  17. Buen Provecho!  

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