Last summer I found local figs at our farmers market and got very excited about including them in my cooking repertoire. Around the same time, I discovered a method of cooking jam in the microwave, thanks to a post by Elise of the Simply Recipes blog who claims that an article in Sunset Magazine changed how her mother made jam. It worked amazingly well and I didn’t miss the cleanup of the regular method.
Her recipe incorporated a bunch of spices, but I liked the idea of keeping the tastes simple – just figs and oranges. I made this last year with purple figs and this year with green. I decided to use proportionately less sugar this year to keep it a little looser. The green figs were less dense also, so the jam can also be used as a thick sauce. The orange fig jam was delicious with French toast and will be wonderful in the winter with goat cheese.
Orange Fig Jam adapted from Simply Recipes blog
1 orange, unsprayed and preferably organic
1 dry pint figs (6-10), cut into small pieces, yielding 1 ½ – 1 ¾ c chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1 ¼ c sugar
Prepare canning jars (two 8-oz jars). Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel.
Grate about 1 tsp of orange zest and set aside. Peel the orange, discarding the seeds and center core. Cut the orange into small pieces the same size as the figs.
Place all ingredients in a large microwave-proof bowl (like a large Pyrex measuring cup) and let them macerate for about 30 minutes. Stir the ingredients to combine.
Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on high heat. The entire process will take about 15 minutes. After the mixture boils – in about 6-8 minutes – stop the heat and stir the jam every so often. Test for gelling at around 13 minutes and continue to cook if necessary until a drop of jam on the freezing plate wrinkles to the touch.
Pour into prepared jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes after the water comes to a boil. At the end, turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes until removing the jars to cool undisturbed.
Makes two 8-oz jars.