A week ago we arrived in Athens amidst a flurry of activity associated with moving, unpacking, settling and getting to know new rhythms of new places. I was happy to find that I had arrived at fig season – or at least the tail end of it. My local λαική (an open air street market – a word meaning “of the people”) occurs on Friday mornings. It is quite a small affair, perhaps 2 to 3 blocks long. It is located in an old, established neighbourhood in the capital city and the prices are considered to be a little steeper than in the big central markets. Nevertheless, it is only a few steps away from where I live. How could I resist?
As in most markets, prices fluctuate from stall to stall. Figs ranged from €4.00 to €3.25 for half a kilo at most of the stalls, but at one end, amidst the vendors selling tea towels and plastic utensils, I found a stall selling figs for €1.25/half kilo. Absolutely perfect condition, too. Amazingly lucky, I was told. Perhaps this augurs well, at least for the making of jam.
My version is very lemony, not too sugary which takes advantage of the natural sweetness of the figs. Great for use in my fig jam crostata or fig jam, caramelised onion and goat cheese crostini.
- 600g figs (about 4 cups chopped)
- 450g (about 2 cups) caster sugar – less if the figs are very sweet
- 2 lemons
Cut your cleaned figs into small pieces.
Add sugar to the jam pot. Bring to a boil, then add the juice from 2 lemons plus (optionally) the chopped zest from 1 lemon. Let it hard boil for about 10 to 15 minutes. Check to see if it has reached the gel point by spooning a small amount onto a cold plate. If not, continue boiling, but check frequently. Once it has reached the gel point, turn off the heat, remove the pot from the stove, but let the jam settle for a few minutes, stiring occasionally. Pot up in the hot sterilised jars and seal.
I tend to vacuum seal jams using a hot water bath, but use whatever procedure you are used to. However, this time (in the absense of my usual canning jars) I tried another method: hot sterilised (i.e. boiled) jars and lids packed with hot jam, and turned upside down until they cooled and produce a vacuum seal.