Friday, July 11, 2008
My grandfather had them growing in the courtyard. They would soak in the warm southwest french sun in the Spring and release their sweet wonderful flavors in the Summer. I can't think of figs without thinking of his hands holding a pile of them or reaching out to pluck one off the old tree. I can smell their perfume when I visualize this scene and taste their wonderful flavors. Figs have the magical ability to bring back to me my grandfather and the cherished memories of the time we spent together during my teenage years.
Besides memories and great flavor, there are many reasons to feast on figs. Those little gems are rich in fiber and minerals, potassium as well as calcium. Personally, I don't need any excuse to eat them I love their grainy texture and delicate flavor. One of my favorite way to eat them is by making a simple jam. I enjoy fig jam on nutty goat cheddar and a piece of hearty bread, or spread on a warm cinnamon muffin (shown above). My recipe below is easy and quick. You can put it together while your muffins bake in the oven. I spread the jam on a plate to hurry its cooling off and then transfer it to the freezer for five minutes or so.
Fig Jam (makes 1/2 cup)
5 ripe figs, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup of water
2 tablespoon of agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of chopped crystalised ginger (optional)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients in a small pot over medium-low heat and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, mixing every few minutes, until thickened to a jam consistency. Cool on a plate and refrigerate until ready to serve. It will keep for 3 days in the fridge. Serve with warm muffins or to compliment a really good hard cheese.