Monday, September 15, 2008

trying fresh figs

After 2 years of blogging and seeing lots of posts on people enjoying fresh figs. I finally got enough courage to buy some.

Last Sunday, I found a basket of them for 350 yen at Carrefour. In some places, the price can range from 350 yen to 550 yen (or higher), so I felt that 350 was a good buy, plus there were about 8 figs in the basket.

We had 2 of the figs for dessert on Sunday night. I rinsed and sliced them in half then popped them under the grill for about 5 minutes. Then drizzled some Big Island honey on them. We didn't know if we could eat the skins, so we sucked out the insides which were delicious.

With the remaining 6, I decided to look around for an easy recipe. The book by Christine Ferber, master of jams and jellies in France popped into my head. I looked through for recipes using figs and found one using only 4 ingredients--figs, sugar, vanilla bean and lemon.

(I've seen her jams in Shinjuku's Istean but never bought any because they are pricey, but I have tried chocolate she made for Salon du Chocolat, under the name Maison Ferber, which was delicious.)

I didn't have lemon on hand but did have some shiquasa, so I used the juice of 2 of them.

The recipe does take some planning ahead. After rinsing and slicing the figs, the ingredients need to macerate for an hour.

After the hour, I brought the mixture to a simmer then chilled it overnight.

The next day, I prepared my jars by washing and sterilizing them. I put them into a 180 C(350 F) oven for 5 minutes (actually the book says 108 C (225 F) but I read it wrong...sigh), and left them in the oven until I was ready to fill them.

I took the mixture and brought it to a boil, skimming off the foam that formed. I cooked it for about 10 minutes--the foam will stop forming when the jam reaches the jelling point.

I carefully removed the vanilla bean and cut it to put some into each jar. I filled the jars up to the top then covered them. Then while the jars were still hot, I turned them upside down and let them cool in that position (the book said to do this, I think it creates a vaccuum).

This was my first time making jam (well, I made strawberry jam before but I didn't put it into jars, so that didn't really count as making jam to me.)

I must say, even though it took some work, it was worth it. This jam was delicious on plain yogurt, maybe a bit too sweet for ice cream. It was great with a smidge of cream cheese on toast.

I think it will also be nice with pork. The vanilla adds a nice warmth to the flavor and I like the deep reddish color.

If you haven't tried fresh figs, you better hurry, from what I've read on the net, the season for figs is rather short.

p.s. it is Keiro no hi (Grandparent's Day or be kind to elders day) = holiday, so we were visiting Satoshi's mom...hope you have a great week.


tamakikat said...

Good morning.

Figs are delicious aren't they.

I first tried some in 2002 in Nice of all places. They were in a delicious salad in a cafe just back from the beach.

Anyway glad you tried them and like them.

I eat the skins. I just wipe them with a moistened paper towel beforehand.

That jam looks and sounds good.

It reminds me it's time for breakfast.

Enjoy the holiday Monday.

Barbara said...

I love figs, although as a child I hated them. I think my mother just didn't present them properly. Or maybe the tree we had in our garden was not a tasty variety. I'm glad you enjoyed them Kat.

Phoebe said...

aw!! homemade jam is delicious!!
pat on the back for doing a great job with it.

grant said...

mmm, i love figs. we lived on an almond farm in california and there were some fig trees, both black figs and white good as the black figs are, white figs are even better. sweeter, more tender...

figs are amazing with blue cheese (and other cheeses)...great with some port, too! and yes, you can totally eat the skins...the jam looks yummy!

jasmine said...

That jam looks delicious!


Anita said...

So glad you finally got to try figs!! And so great you made jam out of them!

Lori said...

It has been ages since I've had figs. But your jam looks really, really good - puts me in the mood for figs!

K and S said...

Hope you had a great holiday, Tamakikat :)

Thanks Barbara, I hope you will re-try figs :)

Thanks Phoebe!

I wonder if we have the white variety here, Grant? Will have to keep my eyes open for them.

Thanks Jasmine, Anita and Lori :)

Take care everyone!

Dhanggit said...

while reading this im simmering my fig jams in the casserole hahaha, what a timing!! my figs are for free i just picked them in the fig tree close to our house :-) am i not lucky hehehe

K and S said...

you are so lucky, Dhanggit :) can't wait to see your jam.

Take care.

ila said...

wow, i think the only form of figs i've ever eaten is a fig newton... i guess i'll give it a try when i go to the farmers market this week!

Rowena said...

Wow Kat! I'm impressed at your jam-making skills! Finding figs must have been buzzing around a lot of foodie heads because we bought some over the weekend too. Great fruit when you can find those with the best flavor and sure you can eat the skins! I just wish they (the good ones) weren't so darn ex$pen$ive!

Jenster said...

Your fig jam looks delicious! A friend of mine puts cream cheese on top of crackers and places a small dallop of fig jam over each of them. Oishi!

I wonder if the fig jam would also be tasty if you heated it up and spooned it over sponge cake or pound cake.

K and S said...

That was my first taste of figs too, Ila, as a newton...way different, I hope you try fresh soon :)

I've since seen sales on figs and am tempted to do more jam, Rowena :)

I think heating it up would make a nice topping for a sponge cake or even a cheese cake, Jenster. If I make more jam, I'll definitely give it a try :), thanks for the idea.

Take care everyone.

Debinhawaii said...

I am so impressed with your jam making! I love fresh figs but am not a fan of the dried ones for some reason. Drizzled with honey has to be the best way to eat them when they are fresh.

K and S said...

Thanks Deb, I surprised myself, it was actually easy to do. I did a wine bath for the dried ones then dipped them in dark chocolate...delish!

Take care.

genkitummy said...

great job on the jam! i've been reading about figs on all these blogs but have not ever tried fresh ones either. i've been meaning to try them, but haven't seen them in the stores.

K and S said...

Thanks Genki! I hope you get to try fresh figs soon. It is worth it :) maybe the farmer's markets would have some?

Take care.