Sunday, September 13, 2015

Drunken Fig & Strawberry Preserves

Last month my brother-in-law and his wife moved into a house that had a backyard filled with mature fruit trees, rampant tomato plants, and an herb garden.  With more figs and tomatoes than we knew what to do with, I decided it would be a great chance to try canning for the first time.  Actual canning success is debatable (I think it sealed? @_@) but the fruit preserves themselves were pretty tasty I think!

For the figs, I originally planned to make a fig only preserve based on this Bon Appétit recipe but was too busy and sadly (luckily?) half of my fig haul perished.   Instead, I modified the recipe and used strawberries to supplement the figs, and a delicious ginger liqueur made with cognac.  For the tomato preserves, I used this recipe from Love & Olive Oil.  They used regular small tomatoes rather than cherry tomatoes - not sure if that accounted for how clear and translucent their jam was, or maybe I didn't cook the tomatoes long enough in the first part.  Also, despite following their proportions, I just barely got 4 half pint jars for the tomato preserves (more like 3.5).  Still tasty. (^_−)☆

I love love love the colors of the tomatoes!  Wish I had remembered to take some nice pictures of the figs as well.  Le sigh.

Drunken Fig & Strawberry Preserves
Adapted from Bon Appétit
makes about 4 half pint jars


- 1.5 lb fresh black mission figs, de-stemmed and chopped into 1/2" pieces
- 10 oz strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1/2" pieces (I used frozen)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup ginger liqueur depending on how strong you like it (can substitute with brandy or regular cognac, but the ginger flavor is what makes this special!)
- 1-1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot and let sit at room temperature for an hour, stirring occasionally.

If canning for long term storage, prepare/sterilize your jars and lids according to your canner's instructions or you can follow these guides here and here

After an hour, bring the fruit mixture to a boil on medium-high heat.  Stir occasionally until the sugar dissolves completely.  Lower heat to medium and continue boiling so that the mixture thickens and the liquid is reduced - about 30 minutes.  If you like your preserves chunkier, just use a large ladle or potato masher to mash the fruit once in a while as it cooks.  I prefer it a bit smoother so I used an immersion blender at the end to blend some of the larger chunks, while still leaving some smaller pieces of fruit.

Ladle immediately into the clean hot jars, leaving about 1/4" of headspace.  Wipe rims clean and cover with lids and rings before processing in a water bath for 10 minutes.  Remove and cool completely before testing seals (I let it sit overnight before testing).  Properly canned, they should last for up to a year unopened, without refrigeration if stored in a cool dark space.  Without canning, in the refrigerator it should last about 3-4 weeks, and in the freezer I've seen online forums saying anywhere from 6 months to a year (should consume within 3 weeks after defrosting and opening it).

While I was taking pictures of jam, tot was playing with her new favorite high-pitched buddy by going shopping in my kitchen instead of eating her breakfast (she did lick all the fig & strawberry preserves off her croissant at least).


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