3-ingredient Fig (or any fruit) jam

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Making jam is super easy. I mean, when I first figured out how easy it is I couldn’t believe it. You don’t need any high end, fancy equipment to make it. Just a saucepan, a spatula and a clean dry glass jar. If you are making a huge quantity to last you through the entire winter then you would have to sterilize them in boiling water, but more on that later.

The first jam I made was from dried figs. I was so pleasantly surprised how beautiful it turned out for the number of ingredients that went into it and the effort that it took. The next one I made was from plums. The surprising thing about plum jam is it’s color. Even though the flesh of the fruit is orange-ish in hue, the jam itself turns this amazing dark pink which it takes on from its skin. Anyways, today I’m going to share the recipe for fruit jam, using fresh figs. Even though jam making is simple process, I always end up making it when we have too much of  one fruit which neither of the us are too found of. Enter fresh figs. The husband and I were fascinated when we saw fresh figs in Costco few weeks back. I mean, we like dried figs so we figured fresh must be better right? Well, wrong. We gave our palate a few chances to adapt to it, but alas! What do we do when we don’t like a fruit in this house (which is very rare), we turn it into jam.

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To make jam you need 3 things: the fruit, the sugar and lemon juice. Of course, depending on the fruit you may need to add pectin: the substance which when heated with sugar give the characteristic thickening found in jams and jellies. However, I have not used this (slightly mysterious) “pectin” ingredient in any of the two  (yes, my experience is vast!) kinds of jams I’ve made. According to my research, most tropical fruits do not need pectin as they usually have enough natural pectin in them for the fruit to turn into jam when it cooked on low flame for sufficient time. Also, less ripe/more raw fruits have more natural pectin so if you have the choice of combining raw and ripe fruits, you could possibly mix them both to get a nice texture for your jam. Lastly, the measurements given here are only a starting point since you can balance the sugar and lemon juice to get your own sweet balance of sweet and tart.

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3-ingredient Fig (or any fruit) jam

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes – 1 hour
Yields: almost 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar/jaggery (for medium low/medium sweet)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • water, as required

Method:

  1. Before starting, wash the bottle you are going to use in hot water and let it air dry.
  2. Wash and dry fresh figs.
    Image 1
  3. Chop them up into halves and then quarters. If you don’t want your jam to be lumpy, it’s best to chop them into smallest pieces possible. However, you could also puree it after it’s done thickening  if you want a more smooth/storebought like jam.
  4. If using white sugar or powdered jaggery, mix the fruits with the sugar and lemon juice and let it sit for a while. This will soften the fruit. This step is optional so you can skip it if you like. (If using cubes of jaggery, please refer notes)Image 2
  5. Keep the stove on medium flame. Add a pinch of salt, a few tablespoons of water to the mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Then keep the heat on medium low/low and keep an eye mixture to ensure it does not get burnt. Let the mixture cook for around 30 minutes, with occasional stirring to ensure even cooking. Depending on the fruit, you might have to cook for a longer or shorter duration.
  6. If using jaggery, keep the mixture on low at all times to avoid burning the mixture. The fig mixture took around 45 minutes to break down since I kept it completely on low due to the addition of jaggery.
  7. Keep stirring  and mashing it regular intervals to aid the process of jam formation. If the mixture looks too dry, add a few splashes of water.
  8. Once the water has fully been absorbed/evaporated and the mixture has reached a satisfactory jam consistency (please refer to notes for a quick testing method), transfer the jam to the bottle you are going to store it in while it is hot.
  9. Let it cool without the lid. This is done so that the condensation on the lid doesn’t fall back into the jam as the moisture can spoil it and shorten shelf life.
  10. Once cooled, close the lid tightly and store in refrigerator. It will last for a few month as long as you use a dry spoon and don’t let it come in contact with moisture.
  11. Enjoy it on bread, biscotti or just plain on a spoon!Imahe 5
    Image 4
    Notes:

    1. I used cubes of jaggery because I wanted to try out jam with jaggery flavor instead of white sugar this time around. So I melted the cubes of jaggery with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water till I got a syrup and then added the cut up figs to it. If using this method, there is no need to let the fruit soak in the syrup. Please proceed from Step 5 without adding more water till Step 6, if required.
    2. A quick method to see if your jam is done, specially when using softer fruits like any of the berries, plums, apricots or the like, you can use the frozen plate method. Put a few ceramic salad/small plates in the freezer at the beginning of the cooking process. When it is time to check if the jam is set, drop a dollop of the jam onto plate and let it rest for a few minutes. When you run your figure through it. If it feels runny and doesn’t leave a “trail” through it, then it isn’t done and needs few more minutes. If it leaves a clear “trail” through the jam then it done and ready to be devoured! For more in detail about how to check if your jam is done, this link on Canning 101: How to Ensure That Your Jam Sets helps.
    3. You can make this with dried figs too. You would have to add slightly more water to dehydrate the figs before they can break down.
    4. Salt is added to enhance the sweetness of the jam. It is optional.

3-ingredient Fig (or any fruit) jam

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Time: 10 minutes + 1 hour
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

Quick and easy any-fruit jam

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup white sugar/jaggery (for medium low/medium sweet)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • water, as required

Directions

  1. Before starting, wash the bottle you are going to use in hot water and let it air dry.
  2. Wash and dry fresh figs.
  3. Chop them up into halves and then quarters. If you don’t want your jam to be lumpy, it’s best to chop them into smallest pieces possible. However, you could also puree it after it’s done thickening  if you want a more smooth/storebought like jam.
  4. If using white sugar or powdered jaggery, mix the fruits with the sugar and lemon juice and let it sit for a while. This will soften the fruit. This step is optional so you can skip it if you like. (If using cubes of jaggery, please refer notes)
  5. Keep the stove on medium flame. Add a pinch of salt, a few tablespoons of water to the mixture and bring the mixture to a boil. Then keep the heat on medium low/low and keep an eye mixture to ensure it does not get burnt. Let the mixture cook for around 30 minutes, with occasional stirring to ensure even cooking. Depending on the fruit, you might have to cook for a longer or shorter duration.
  6. If using jaggery, keep the mixture on low at all times to avoid burning the mixture. The fig mixture took around 45 minutes to break down since I kept it completely on low due to the addition of jaggery.
  7. Keep stirring  and mashing it regular intervals to aid the process of jam formation. If the mixture looks too dry, add a few splashes of water.
  8. Once the water has fully been absorbed/evaporated and the mixture has reached a satisfactory jam consistency (please refer to notes for a quick testing method), transfer the jam to the bottle you are going to store it in while it is hot.
  9. Let it cool without the lid. This is done so that the condensation on the lid doesn’t fall back into the jam as the moisture can spoil it and shorten shelf life.
  10. Once cooled, close the lid tightly and store in refrigerator. It will last for a few month as long as you use a dry spoon and don’t let it come in contact with moisture.
  11. Enjoy it on bread, biscotti or just plain on a spoon!

Notes

  1. I used cubes of jaggery because I wanted to try out jam with jaggery flavor instead of white sugar this time around. So I melted the cubes of jaggery with 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water till I got a syrup and then added the cut up figs to it. If using this method, there is no need to let the fruit soak in the syrup. Please proceed from Step 5 without adding more water till Step 6, if required.
  2. A quick method to see if your jam is done, specially when using softer fruits like any of the berries, plums, apricots or the like, you can use the frozen plate method. Put a few ceramic salad/small plates in the freezer at the beginning of the cooking process. When it is time to check if the jam is set, drop a dollop of the jam onto plate and let it rest for a few minutes. When you run your figure through it. If it feels runny and doesn’t leave a “trail” through it, then it isn’t done and needs few more minutes. If it leaves a clear “trail” through the jam then it done and ready to be devoured! For more in detail about how to check if your jam is done, this link on Canning 101: How to Ensure That Your Jam Sets helps.
  3. You can make this with dried figs too. You would have to add slightly more water to dehydrate the figs before they can break down.
  4. Salt is added to enhance the sweetness of the jam. It is optional.

Image 7

 

(guilt-free) Almond-butter cookies

I was craving for cookies yesterday. I wanted to eat more than one of them without feeling guilty. So I googled low glycemic cookie recipes with little hope since I knew cookies needed sugar and sugar spiked blood glucose and yadah yadah. Then I came across this recipe. As always, I checked to see if I had the ingredients first, then whether I could sub them with other “healthy (but tasty, mind you)” things and viola, I was whisking away to cookie heaven. Fast forward to a hot oven and 35 minutes later.

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(guilt-free) Almond-butter cookies

Cooking time: 35 minutes.

Yields: 18 round cookies

Ingredients:

3/8 cup fine ground whole wheat flour/atta/white wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)

3/4 cups oat flour (I ground 3/4 cups oats in blender)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup melted coconut oil (or butter)

1/4 cup + 1 tbsp coconut sugar (or white sugar/any sugar of choice)

3/8 cup natural creamy almond butter, no sugar added

1 egg white

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lay parchment paper on your cookie sheet.

  2. In a bowl, add coconut oil, coconut sugar and beat well with an electric mixer. Then add the almond butter and continue mixing till well combined. Repeat the steps after adding the egg white and vanilla essence. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl when you keep whipping. If you are not using a creamy almond butter, then you might have to stop and combine the mixture with a spatula to make sure it is thoroughly mixed.

  3. Mix the flours with the baking soda and slowly add it to the wet mixture. It will slowly start getting more difficult to use the hand mixer. When it sufficiently combined, switch to a spatula and hand mix the mixture a few times till it comes together.

  4. Make small 1 – 1.5 inch balls and then slightly press them down a fork to flatten.

  5. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the edges turn golden brown.

  6. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven and slowly flip the cookies one by the one so they cool and crisp the top side at the same time (hanna’s handy tip!)

  7. Enjoy guilt free!

Notes:

  • For the 3/8 cups measurements, I just eyeballed a 3/4 measuring cup to make sure it was filled half way through.
  • It’s okay to be a tad bit generous with the a vanilla essence. My measuring spoons overflow a little bit always.
  • All the (bracket) ingredients will add on to the make the recipe less guilt-free. Just saying.
  • Almond butter can be substituted with peanut butter without much change in the healthy aspect.
  • As tasty as the cookie dough is, resist eating too much of it so you have some leftover with to bake! 🙂

Feel free to leave comments and questions below. Let me know if you make them and how they turned out 🙂