A good year for figs
2013 has turned out to be a good year for figs at the Villas, making up for the fact that our five year old tree tree only offered us a somewhat-less-than-grand total of just three fruit last year!
Due to the fact that the fruit all reached ripeness at roughly the same time I decided even I couldn’t eat that many in one sitting, so I started to consider ways to preserve them. Jam was the first thing that sprung to mind so I emailed Laila to ask whether she knew of any good fig recipes.
She got back back to me within the hour with a recipe for figpote that is in River Cottage’s very own queen of jams and preserves Pam the Jam’s jam making bible (Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2.) What I particularly liked about the recipe is that it contains no added sugar – the sweetness mainly being derived from honey …and of course from the figs themselves!
Pam’s Recipe for Figpote
Makes two 250ml jars
12 figs (not too big)
150 ml freshly squeezed orange juice
450 ml Earl Grey or green tea
125 g honey
Preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1 and put your sterilized jars inside to heat.
Wash the figs and remove any hard, twiggy bits of stalk – but do not cut right back to the flesh, as this risks splitting the skin.
Put the orange juice, tea and honey into a pan and gently heat to simmering point to make a syrup. Add the figs and cook gently for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tender.
Using a slotted spoon, take out the figs and carefully pack them into the hot jars. It may be a bit of a squash, but figs quite like this.
Return the filled jam jars to the oven to keep warm – it is important to keep the jars as hot as possible to create a successful seal.
Bring the fruit syrup to the boil and boil for 6 to 7 minutes to reduce it in volume (I actually had to boil it for quite a lot longer than that) .
Stand the jars on a wooden surface or some newspaper and pour the hot syrup over the figs, filling the jars to the brim.
Seal immediately with lids, clips or screw-bands, leave undisturbed for 24 hours, then check the seal is secure.
Use within a year.
Our favourite way to enjoy figpote is served on vanilla ice cream, drizzled with some of the syrup and served with a sprig of fresh mint – delicious.