Figs, Figs, & More Figs!!!
One of my fondest childhood memories involves my wonderful grandmother (who raised me) and figs. We had a large fig tree in our yard, and every morning during fig season (before the birds were out and about in full force) Mema would pick figs to make preserves. She would also, lovingly, leave a small bowl of peeled figs on the kitchen table for my breakfast. Oh, how I love that woman, and I miss her every day.
Mema's fig preserves, so delicious, were a family staple. I watched her make the preserves but never helped much, as the boiling water and hot glass jars were a bit scary to me.
Several years ago, when I remodeled my kitchen, I found a jar of her fig preserves tucked away in the back of a seldom-used cabinet. The preserves were at least 20 years old. I truly hated to part with them, as the jar brought back treasured memories.
When we moved to our current home 30 years ago, we planted two cuttings from Mema's fig tree in our back yard, and they flourished. For years, I thought about making preserves, but it just seemed like so much work!
This summer, I searched the net for fig preserve recipes that didn't require the actual "canning" part of the equation. After reading quite a few recipes and going with the ingredients I already had on hand, I came up with my own recipe for Fig Jam, and it tastes very similar to Mema's recipe!!!
Ingredients (can be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled!)
2 cups fresh figs (chopped and stems removed)
3/4 cup sugar
splash of lemon juice (about a tablespoon)
drizzle of honey (about a tablespoon)
Bring mixture to a full boil, stirring often. Cook at medium simmer for approximately 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring every 20 minutes until it reaches a jam-like consistency. The mixture will continue to thicken as it cools. Store in jars in the refrigerator, or freeze for later enjoyment!
To date, I've made about 20 pints of fig jam. My beautiful, sweet, brilliant, and talented daughter-in-law (my Dil-ly) also made three pints while she was visiting!
As much as we're enjoying our jam, I lament the fact that I've not taken full advantage of the blessings of the fig tree for so many years. I would eat some of the figs every year, of course, but so many were left to the birds and squirrels. I guess they need to enjoy the figs, too.
Anyway, I plan to make fig jam on a yearly basis from now on! Have you tried peanut butter and fig jam sandwiches? Oh, my! It's so good!
Find your own blessings in your own yard or patio. Maybe you'll see a flower, bird, squirrel, or butterfly! Take the time to look for the beauty around you, and remember that kindness has the power to change the world!