(32 ounces) fresh California figs, washed and diced (I used fresh Black Mission figs)
(32 ounces) white cane sugar
tablespoon cardamom seeds
teaspoons ground ginger
teaspoon ground nutmeg
cooking apple, cored, peeled and diced
tablespoon lemon juice
(10 ounces) water
Place the figs, sugar and spices into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir to coat the figs well. Cover and leave on the counter for 6-8 hours or overnight.
Sterilize the jars and lids you plan to use. There are a few ways to do this, but I bring a large pot of water to a boil and dip the jars in for 2 minutes, and then the lids for the same amount of time. Dry on a towel.
Spill the figs and spiced sugar into a preserving pan or large wide-mouthed pot (I use a large Creuset, which works very well). Add the diced apple, lemon juice and water, and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring the mixture to the boil and cook rapidly for 15 - 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and setting point is reached. For the first 10 minutes, only ocassional stirring is needed. The final 5 - 10 minutes, however, will require stirring every couple of minutes to prevent the fruit from hardening onto the bottom of the pot. Set point is typically reached 8˚F higher than the boiling temperature. At sea level, boiling point is reached around 212˚F, so set temperature should be around 220˚F. If you live in high altitudes like I do part of the year, the boiling point lowers 1˚F for every 500 feet above sea level. I find this is more art than science, however, and recommend you not scrupulously follow the gauge of a thermometer. A better way is either to dip a large metal spoon into the boiling jam, and raise it. If two drops coming off of it come together to form a single drop or stream of jam, it's ready. Another way to determine if the jam is set is to place a small plate in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Spoon a little jam onto the plate, and return it to the freezer for 1 minute. Remove and tilt the plate. If the jam easily runs, it's not set. If it moves slowly, it's ready.
When the fruit is softened and set, mash with a potato masher several times.
Carefully ladle the jam into the jars almost to the top. Be sure to leave a little head room at the top. Wipe the rim of the jars clean of any drips, and tightly screw on the lids. If they seal, the jam should last for at least 6 months. I place the jars filled with jam into a pot of boiling water for 5 minutes to seal. If you use the hot water bath method, be sure to have a grate on the bottom. I tie together several lids to create my own grate.
Label and store in a cool, dark place for 2 - 3 weeks to allow the flavors to develop.
by The Wimpy Vegetarian
The prep time does not include the overnight soak for the figs in the sugar and spices.