Homemade Fig, Vanilla and Black Pepper Jam
A little cafe surrounded by a kitchen garden - windows with fluttering lace curtains - a big oven on one side - cinnamon, yeast, vanilla scents in the air - sounds of happy chatter - the aroma of fresh coffee brewing - people waiting in anticipation of a simple good time - a cup of good coffee or choice of tea with a scone or a muffin topped with some homemade jam - A girl can day dream right?
On Thursday, I ordered more fruit than I usually do for a week, especially strawberry and figs, with the intention of making jam. I'm not much of a jam sandwich person.
Give me a Mumbai style coriander-mint chutney and cucumber sandwich any day. But when you have a little boy at home who'll say 'I'm hungry' at the most unpredictable times of the day, it is good to have a loaf of bread and some spreads handy to make a snack in 2 minutes.
He likes my 'Chocolate coconut Peanut Butter' - well, I like it a lot myself and each batch gets over in a matter of 2-3 days. So I decided to make some jams anyway. What better way to preserve the goodness of seasonal fresh fruit for a couple more months?
There's a lot more I'd like to write about on 'jamming' but the weekend chores beckon and I promised a few people that I'll be sharing the recipe on my blog before the end of the weekend, so here are the recipes for the two jams.
If you always wondered what the difference was between jelly, jam and preserve, read this.
I'd say my recipes are in between a jam and preserve, because while they do have a chunky texture, it is not 'that' chunky because the fruit was fairly finely chopped to begin with.
Contrary to popular belief that jam making is the job of old matronly housewives who wish to slave in the kitchen all day and night, these jams don't take more than 30-45 minutes each, including fruit chopping time, especially because we're making only a small quantity at a time.
- Recipe Adapted from Taste.
- Wash, dry and remove stems of figs. Peel and chop finely. Most recipes from international websites don't ask for the fruit to be peeled, but Indian figs are very thick skinned, therefore better off peeled.
- Slice the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds with the end of the knife, add this to the chopped figs.
- In a large bowl, add all the ingredients, including the scraped vanilla pod, cover and keep overnight. [at this stage you could either keep the bowl of ingredients covered in the refrigerator overnight and proceed with jam making in the morning or proceed with the process immediately. I left it in the fridge overnight.
- After the mixture has sat in the fridge overnight, transfer them to a heavy bottomed steel pan or anodized pan, bring to a simmer on medium flame.
- Keep stirring off and on so that the sugar does not stick to the bottom and burn.
- In around 20 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken. Remove from flame. Cool thoroughly.
- Meanwhile place two empty clean and dry glass jam jars bottles without their lids in the microwave for one minute. This is to quick sterilise the bottles.
- Once cooled to room temperature, spoon the jams into the two jars. I'd say I got roughly two jars of 300-350 grams each.
- Close them tight and keep in fridge. Use within a month.