Tag Archives: Preserves

Black Tea and Fig Jam

Not too sweet because the black tea tones down the super-sweetness of the figs.
7 half-pint jars (7 cups)
Shopping List
24 ounces dried black (Mission) figs
6 black (decaf) tea bags
2 cups sugar
a package of powdered pectin
1/4 cup bottled lemon juice

In a 6 quart pot on a high heat, bring

  • 4 cups of water

to a boil, turn off the heat, add

  • 6 black tea bags
  • 24 ounces dried figs

Make sure the tea bags and figs are all submerged and cover the pot. Wait 30 minutes to an hour so the fruit will be fully hydrated. Fish the fruit and tea bags out of the liquid, leaving the liquid in the pot. Discard the tea bags. Trim the stems from the figs and then chop the fruit as you like. I prefer a rough chop, but you can go for as fine or coarse as you like.

Return the fruit to the pot, adding

  • 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice (see safety note below)

and bring to a boil over high heat, cook 10 minutes on a hard boil. ATTNStir regularly to make sure the mixture doesn’t scorch. You may want to mash the the fruit with a potato masher if it looks too coarse. An immersion blender might work, but I really wouldn’t want to have the fruit pureed, so I just used the masher a bit. Meanwhile, in 1 quart bowl, combine

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 TBL pectin (pectin powder, not pectin-sugar)

Dump this mixture into the pan, stir to dissolve and return to a hard boil, stirring and let it cook for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

I processed half-pint jars in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes but I encourage you to freeze the jam in suitable containers. Read the next paragraph…

Safety note: the USDA recommends using bottled lemon juice as it has calibrated minimum acidity levels, ensuring that the food is sufficiently acidic to avoid the possibility of spoilage. I adapted this recipe from another recipe, cited below, reducing the lemon juice, so I can’t vouch for the safety of canning this jam. In addition, I used fresh lemon juice, which the USDA would discourage you from using. To be safe, you should probably freeze the jam and keep it refrigerated when you defrost a container rather than canning the jam.

Adapted from a recipe in Savor the Best for fig jam, at https://savorthebest.com/fig-jam/

Marmalade

Inspired by a recipe from The New York Times, I’ve adapted this for my own love of bitter marmalade.

For a batch I use 3 sour (Seville) oranges and 1 Meyer lemon, which makes about 5 half-pint jars of marmalade. You can easily triple the quantity and will have no problem. Feel free to switch the ratio of fruit or use other varieties of oranges or lemons.

Well before starting put 5 small plates in the freezer if you don’t have a candy thermometer. See note at end of this recipe.

Cut ends off the citrus fruit  until flesh is exposed. Slice in half lengthwise lengthwise, and then cut into 1/8-inch slices, removing seeds as you see them. Cut the pieces in half again or you’ll have long pieces that can be awkward to eat on toast.

Measure the fruit and juice. Place the fruit and an equal amount water in a very large saucepan. The bigger pan will help avoid having a boiled over mess. Boil the fruit and water for 25 minutes. Add as many cups of sugar as you had fruit. (3 cups fruit, 3 cups water and 3 cups sugar, for example). Bring to a boil until a candy thermometer reaches 222 degrees or use the cold-plate test described below. This will take about 25 to 40 minutes more, but start checking after 20 minutes. ATTN Keep an eye on the pot as you do this because it can easily boil up and over if it’s too hot, resulting in a huge sticky mess. Stirring can help reduce the chances of a boil-over, but just keep an eye on things.

When the desired temperature is reached, remove from heat, remove any foam that surfaces. Transfer to jars or let cool a bit longer and store in plastic containers. Keeps refrigerated for 4-5 weeks. Because the jars are not sterilized and processed in a hot-water bath, you must refrigerate this. I suspect you can freeze the jam without any problems. If you process canning jars (half-pint jars for 10 minutes) it can be stored at room temperature until opened.

Note: The Times recipe described a method new to me for testing the jell. Put a bit of the hot jelly on a plate that’s been chilled in the freezer and watch to see if runs down the plate or starts to jell as you tilt the plate. You don’t need a hard jell for this test to indicate it’s ready.

Sour Cherry Jam, No Pectin

Wash and pit 2 quarts of sour cherries. Chop into pieces (mostly halves) and measure. For 5 cups of fruit, I used 3 cups sugar. Stir together in a large stainless steel or porcelain pot. Let sit for 3 minutes to dissolve sugar. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally; cook until temperature is 224 F. Transfer to sterilized pint jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Makes 5 half-pint jars.

Sour Cherry Jam

Pit 1 quart of sour cherries and chop them (to make about 2 to 21/2 cups fruit). Add sour cherry juice (see note) to make a total of 6 cups fruit and juice. Place fruit, juice and a 57g package of pectin in a large pot. Bring to a rolling boil, add 5 cups sugar and let boil for 10+ minutes until it’s thick enough to set (see note). This yields 8 pints. Place in canning jars and process for 10 minutes in water bath.

Note: I freeze sour cherries. When defrosted they give off too much juice for pies. I re-freeze the excess juice and save it for making jam. Regarding how long to boil the mixture, there are a variety of tests you can perform, but for reference, my jam reached 224 F (I’m at sea level).