a pair of fig jams

i’m still smitten with salt sugar smoke, diana henry’s book on preserving. this weekend i decided to make fig jam – her recipe for fig and pomegranate jam has been teasing me ever since i got the book and i couldn’t wait any longer to try it. the book also contains a variation, which pairs the fig with orange and cardamom so, given i managed to get some ripe figs at a cheap price, i decided to make both.

the two versions are quite different from each other but the thing they have in common is the freshness of the fig flavour, something which i wasn’t expecting and definitely worth knowing if you’re not a fan of overly sweet, almost dusty flavour that some fig preserves have.

the pomegranate has both pomegranate juice and pomegranate molasses within it, which results in a bright and not particularly sweet flavour (this is my favourite variation); the orange also avoids excess sweetness, with a definite citrus tang and i love the pockets of cardamom that you encounter every now and then.

a lovely pair of jams to make and lovely to share – my twelve figs made 6 jars in total so sharing is definitely on the cards – either as they are or as part of a cream tea (the third jam pictured is gooseberry and elderflower).

diana henry’s fig and pomegranate jam (makes two 225g jars*)

400g figs, stalks removed and quartered**

finely grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of 2

1 cooking apple, cored, peeled and chopped

125ml apple juice

125ml pomegranate juice

400g granulated sugar with pectin (jam sugar)

2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses

put the figs, lemon zest and juice and apple into a heavy-bottomed pan with both the apple and pomegranate juices. cook on a low heat until the fruit is completely soft – about 12 minutes.

add the sugar and cook gently until it dissolves, stirring to help it along. now bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes skimming off any scum as it arises (i don’t tend to bother doing this until the very end, just before jarring the jam, as i’m not convinced it is necessary).

when it is near the setting point, stir in the molasses. to check the setting point do the wrinkle test (place a small amount of jam on a chilled plate, return to the fridge for a minute or so and then push it with your finger. if the surface wrinkles the jam will set – if the wrinkle stays in place it will be a firm set, i like something softer so stop cooking when they just wrinkle). ladle into warm, dry sterilized jars, cover with waxed paper discs and seal. this keeps for a year. refrigerate when opened.

orange and cardamom variation: the books says, use a mix of orange and apple juice and leave out the pomegranate molasses, adding a little orange flower water if you like – 200ml orange juice and 50 ml apple juice, the crushed seeds from 10 cardamom pods (i’d probably add a bit more next time) while cooking the jam, plus 1 tablespoon orange flower water once it was removed from the heat

* i found that it made more than this, closer to 2 ½ jars of this size

** i think quarters are too big as they will not break down as the jam cooks, so next time i will cut them into sixths