Friday, August 20, 2010

Advantage of a Cloudy Summer

The weather, as you may have heard or experienced first hand, has not been business as usual for Southern California. There have been many a Facebook post about the gloomy cooler cloudy weather we've had at the beach--and mind you it's mid-AUGUST--June gloom is WAAAAAY supposed to be over--and out in the Valley and Pasadena the brutal temperatures haven't been that at all. It's been downright temperate and gorgeous. I will say it's finally starting to warm up and be sunny at the beach--I'm looking forward to September being hot and saturated in sunlight. But no surprise our fruit trees have been on altered seasons. Figs, which usually peak in July and early August, are coming in to their prime now. This is good for me as I would have had no time to make fig jam til about a week ago.

I raided a friend's tree at her insistence--she's out of town doing Pinter in Pittsburgh and knows how much I love those purple seeded beauties. I took her up on it and on a sunny Glendale afternoon I got completely filthy reaching up to the highest branches on a wobbly iron patio chair. Wish I had a pic of that: me doing an arabesque reaching for the uppermost jewels sitting there so perfectly ripe on those top branches. I must have looked ridiculous. Probably dangerous to do alone too, but I'll go (literally) out on a limb for good food. And there are more on the tree that should be ripe soon! I think I get to make fig jam in September too. Fall is going to be good.....

I tried a new recipe--one she gave me in fact. I figure if I use a lady's figs the least I can do is make her favorite recipe. And this is a good one. More for a cheese board than your morning toast, and the color is typical fig-gorgeous. That is if you use the purple ones or mostly purple ones....otherwise the color could be kind of weird....

Fig and Shallot Jam
1 c water
2 quarts whole figs
4 large shallots
3 1/2 c sugar
1/2 light corn syrup (I KNOW. Just give in)
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 t celery seed
1/2 c apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic

1. Halve figs, shallots, garlic cloves. Combine in bowl of food processor with the water. Pulse til good and mashed up: no huge chunks sticking out at you.
2. Put in large pot along with all the rest of the ingredients and bring to full boil.
3. Reduce heat, stir often, and boil til desired consistency, skimming off the foam when you need to. (To check for consistency, have a plate ready in the freezer. Place a teaspoon of jam on the plate, return to freezer for a couple minutes and check thickness after that. The thicker you want, the longer you cook)
4. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Cover and seal with hot sterile lids. Let set til lids pop.
*For complete instructions on how to sterilize go here
*If you don't have a food processor, dice figs, shallots, garlic small. Add water to figs, then add shallots and garlic, then follow the recipe from Step 2



Christmas gifts have begun.


  1. Great idea for gifts! Of course, I will be getting a gift from myself too:)

  2. This sounds delicious!

  3. oh yes, jar for them, jar for me! it IS super-delicious i must say

  4. I'm sure you looked amazing teetering for the ripest fruit at the tip top of the tree. Your making me sad that I didn't buy figs at the farmers market this week. I will next week for sure.

  5. ha! thanks:) yes, buy them and enjoy!

  6. sooooooooooo delicious looking. let's have a wine and cheese party when you've freed up from rehearsals! We will enjoy your jam with some lovely cheese and that bottle of Orin Swift Saldo I told you I bought ages ago.