I did a really good job of cleaning up the pantry during the run-up to Christmas, and then promptly trashed it while preparing the Tapastravaganza. And then I just kind of let it go, because I was so tired after the holidays, and things slowly got more chaotic, and now I’m having trouble finding stuff in there, which is where I was before I cleaned it up last time. So that’s on my list, and given that I spent last night deep-cleaning and reorganising the kitchen, I sort of feel like I should let the momentum carry me into the pantry and get that all straightened up again. I’d like to paint and really properly sort out the storage space in both rooms, but right now, I’m sort of in the looking-at-paint-chips-and-research phase, and absent some magical free intervention by a proper joiner and decorator, who would have to know more than I do about what I actually want, besides effortless perfection, I have a lot ahead of me.
In the meantime, as a very small start down the road to merely tidier, I took a bag of ageing dried Turkish figs, and made some quick jam. Figs are one of my favourite fruits, and as I have some as-yet-unzested-and-juiced Seville oranges knocking about, as well as a bit of juice that was just sitting in the fridge, I thought I might as well combine two of the fruits I’m keenest on into another well-loved food: homemade jam.
I only had fifteen good-sized figs in my little bag, meaning I’d get about one jar of jam out of them, so there’s really no point in processing that for long-term storage, because once I’ve got a jar of fig jam in the fridge, it’s not going to last long enough to go bad. I’ve only ever made fig jam from fresh before, but I knew it was perfectly possible to make it from dried fruit, and a quick consultation with Chef Google brought me to The Kitchn’s Mission Fig Quick Jam recipe, which I adapted to make mine.
So that link takes you to their version. This here is mine:
200g dried Turkish figs, stems cut off (this is approximate; that’s about what my fifteen figs weighed)
120ml Seville orange juice, plus zest of one orange
125g golden caster sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
Bung all the ingredients, except for the vanilla, in a small saucepan, mix them up, and bring contents to boil. Allow to boil for about one minute, then drop it back to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until figs soften up a bit, and juice and sugar gets syrupy, about ten minutes. You don’t have to hover directly over it and stir constantly, but don’t venture far away, and keep half an eye on it; depending on the size of your pan, sugar can boil over really fast. Remove pan from heat, stir in the vanilla, and allow to cool for another ten minutes or so. It doesn’t have to be stone cold, but it should be cool enough that any accidental splatters won’t cause injury.
Transfer pan contents to a food processor, and whizz until you have jam. You may think there’s too much liquid, but you will be wrong. I was prepared to put it all back in the pan and cook it down further, but that turned out to not be at all necessary. That pectin-rich orange has your back. Place jam in clean jar, seal and store in the refrigerator. It should be completely fine for a week or two, minimum.
This jam is delicious. I knew, instinctively, that swopping the water for orange juice and adding zest would be a good idea, but it was even better than I expected. I will be baking a loaf of bread, and getting some good goat’s cheese to eat with this, as t’s very sweet, and cries out for something a bit salty and savoury to balance it and show it to its fullest advantage, assuming I don’t just shovel it directly into my mouth with a spoon. This is definitely going on the list of recipes to repeat.