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Old 06-01-2011, 12:14 PM   #1
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Also a Total Newbie with questions about Figs and jam

I have a Fig tree that is producing like crazy. I've got figs coming out of my walls! So far, We've been Harvesting twice a day, filling one of those plastic easter buckets each time. I think Today is day 5, and it finally looks to be slowing. We might have a full bucket this evening, but I'm guessing at half. Then there are tons of little ones that will be ready sometime later this month.

I started making Strawberry Jam with them last night. I am not big on the fig taste, plus these aren't super sweet due to the texas drought I'm guessing. They are HUGE. The Jam turned out great, but being my first time I messed up quite a lot. It eventually set and we got it in the jars. We only did one patch of 3 cups berries/ 3 cups figs last night. I still have baskets and baskets of figs to do!

Anyway.. on to my questions... what other flavors/fruits can I add to the figs? Do any of you have a tried and true recipe that other's love? Can I use blackberries instead of strawberries? (I love blackberry jam!). What options do I have with all these figs. I don't want to jar up a 100 cans of strawberry jam.

The other big question... which brand of pectin is the best to use? I used sure jell last night. I ended up with a box and a half in my patch that made three pint size jars. Is that correct?

This is a lot of work, but I've got to say... I'm enjoying every minute of it. Tasting that jam this morning and hearing my daughter tell me it was the yummiest ever made my year. :)

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Old 06-01-2011, 02:16 PM   #2
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We usually dry some figs for use in cakes and cookies and lately, I have been eyeballing some middle eastern and North African recipes that utilize fruits such as figs. Haven't actually tried any yet....just eyeballing them.
Can't say I ever heard of mixing other fruits with figs for jellies and jams.....Not a bad idea!!!
Here is a recipe we have used for fig preserves:
16 cups fresh figs
1 tablespoon baking soda
12 cups boiling water
8 cups white sugar
4 cups water
1 lemon, sliced

In a large mixing bowl place figs and sprinkle with baking soda. Pour the boiling water over the figs and soak for 1 hour.
  1. Drain figs and rinse thoroughly with cold water. In a large Dutch oven combine the sugar and the 4 cups of water; bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the figs and lemon slices to the syrup in the Dutch oven and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Spoon figs into hot, sterilized jars and spoon syrup over figs, leaving 1/2 inch of head space. Top jars with lids and screw bands on tightly. Process for 10 minutes in a hot water bath
As always....please follow USDA approved canning techniques and guidelines for your area as I am no expert in this process...Mrs Hoot is always in charge of canning around here.
You say your figs aren't very sweet. I wonder if they are completely ripe. We wait until the figs nearly fall off the tree here.(sometimes we pick them up from the ground, but Mrs Hoot always has reservations about such).
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:17 PM   #3
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Oh BTW....
Welcome to D.C.!!!
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:41 PM   #4
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Reading your recipe, do I actually need to use a pectin product? What would I need to do to get it to set with out the pectin?

I like the baking soda boil idea in that recipe. Might try that tonight. Some of my figs have thick skins. I just mashed them up last night.

I also made an apple jam with the figs as an experiment. Ended up with 5 jars of it! Haha. I found a basic recipe that used apple juice in place of brandy and ran with it. I added some apple sauce and pretty much all the fall spices. Plus brown sugar. It took three tries to get it to set, but when it did it was delicious. I'm hoping it's a hit with the family too.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:04 PM   #5
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That recipe is for preserves. Our preserves never do set up like jam or jelly. I will ask Mrs Hoot, but when she uses pectin, I have never seen anything but Sure Jell. I do recall that she is mighty particular about following the directions on the sure jell to the letter. She gets mighty cranky when her jelly doesn't set up proper.
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #6
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See, I'm so much on overload that I can't even tell anymore when its preserves or jam that I'm reading about. I ordered the Ball complete book of home persevering and hope that it helps bring everything into focus for me. The internet has been great, but at times its confused me even more.

My mom says Sure Jell, My mother in law says Sure jell, My sister says sure jell... I guess I'll pick up more! ;)

I am going to give the blackberry a try. I figure its worth a shot. I am going to finish off the first harvest of figs with the strawberries and hit the fresher figs with the blackberries and maybe a couple other ideas I come up with over the next two days. Based on the time frame I've had since the first day we started picking the figs, I've got till sunday to finish from today's Harvest. Actually, I think my window is bigger since we didn't wait till the figs were super ripe, but were just right. Our first two days, we picked only the ones we didn't want the birds to eat. ;)

I've got a long week a head of me. But good news... my mother in law is lending me her pressure canner (I was using a water bather one, is that what they are called?) and what cans she had left over from last year to help out. Anyways.. heading out to the store for supplies now. But wanted to stop and reply to say thank you for all your help!

Oh, one more question... how do you find out what kind of fig you have??? My Mother in law has a fig tree too, but these are totally different than her figs. her's are little and stay little. They turn purple when ripe. Mine get huge. They are the size of a bigger than a golf ball. Some of them are the size of a lemon or a lime. They are green. Most stay green, but when super ripe turn pinkish. I can't attest to the flavor because I don't have any fig comparison. I've never eaten any other figs and the one I ate here was sweet but flavorless. Was one of the early bloomers. Anyway, I would just like to know what kind they are for info purposes.
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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This is likely more information than you want or need about figs in Texas.
Home Fruit Production - Figs
You sound like a very creative person. I am sure you will do well!
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Old 06-01-2011, 05:37 PM   #8
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You have to treat yourself and have them on a pizza with Gorganzola or Goat cheese, and some procciutto.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:07 AM   #9
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Awesome!!! Thank you so much for that link!! I am leaning towards the Kadota fig tree. It is the closest, I think.

Here is a pic of my figs.

This was yesterday, and I have another full basket of figs we picked this evening waiting to be washed. That makes 4 full baskets I need to work with in the next three days. I think I'm going to loose most of the first batch, which is the square basket in the back on the left.. but maybe I'll do a quick fresh something with them in the morning or just let my mother in law throw them in her compost. I didn't get a chance to work them today. Last two days of school, today and tomorrow, and its hectic! I wish I knew someone that just like to eat figs and I send them their way!

and here is a pic of the jam I got done last night..



I'm having fun trying to figure out what all I can do. The strawberry jam is a hit, as is the apple. I'm going to do another apple with real apple in it, using granny smith apples. More Tart, for Hubby. I'm not sure how I'm gonna pull it off yet, but I'm brain storming like crazy. I'm also going to play around with a less sugar, possible sweet in low (could I use stevia in jam?) for my mother in law who is diabetic.


OH!!! Is there one specific book you all would recommend? Like if you had a friend come to you and say they wanted to get started in all this, what book would you hand them?
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Old 06-02-2011, 01:22 AM   #10
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VG if you google celeste fig images I think that is your fig, I am envious as the climate where we live in the UK makes fig growing impossible.
The celeste grows wild all over Hvar (our second home) and every garden has a tree.The sun dried smokva are fantastic, you pick the fig when they are about to drop of and just lay them on a cloth in the sun for a few days then eat them with almonds, Paski sir and prsut.Google Dalmatian or Croatian Fig recipes.
Kolac od Smokve is one.
Line a pie tin with sweet pastry and blind bake.
Gently heat heavy cream with honey till the honey and cream have amalgamated, let the sauce cool a little then toss the halved figs in it.
The figs should be just coated not swimming in the sauce, arrange in you shell and bake for about 20 mins in a medium oven.
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