October 31, 2010

Preserving Flavour in a Jar: Fig Lemon Thyme Confiture

Well, shoot.  It was only after I posted my adventures in canning - namely making plum jam and Italian tomato sauce - that I read the deets on September's Daring Cooks' Challenge.  Yep.  We were asked to learn about food preservation and can or freeze something.  I felt sufficiently proficient to tackle something other than the apple butter or bruschetta in a jar that was suggested...and after reading this recipe on Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen, this was a must do.  And even though September is feeling very far away, I wanted to post the results.

The September 2010 Daring Cooks’ challenge was hosted by John of Eat4Fun. John chose to challenge The Daring Cooks to learn about food preservation, and challenged everyone to make a recipe and preserve it by either canning or freezing it. John’s source for food preservation information was from The National Center for Home Food Preservation.

Fig Lemon Thyme Confiture
from Mrs. Wheelbarrow's Kitchen
updated September 2013
4 lbs. fresh figs
1 lemon
½ c honey
Scant 3 c sugar
3 to 4 sprigs of thyme, tied together in a small piece of cheesecloth (optional)*

1.  Pour boiling water over the figs, allow to stand for 10 minutes and then drain. Quarter the figs, then place them in a large non-reactive pan.  I love my sturdy and pretty #26 Le Creuset pot.

2.  Wash the lemon well and slice very thin with a mandoline or a sharp knife, and then cut into quarter slices.*  Remove the seeds. Add the lemons, honey, sugar and thyme to the figs.

3.  Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Take off of the heat, cool slightly, cover and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight to develop the flavors.

4.  When you're ready to can, remove the thyme and bring the jam to a full rolling boil, and boil vigorously for five minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning the jam.  For a thicker jam, add one packet of liquid pectin before bringing to a boil.

5.  Pour hot jam into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.

This gorgeous jam is the perfect accompaniment for a lovely cheese course, an unusual condiment for a grilled cheese sandwich, roast chicken or just spread over a piece of thick and crusty baguette, made all the more decadent with a slather of butter.

*The first time I made this I left the lemon slices whole, and did not use the pectin.  I found the resulting jam too "chunky" for my liking, but also not "jammy" enough.  Also be careful with how much thyme you use.  The flavour can be overwhelming for the delicate figs.