I always thought jam-making was hard. My grandmother made jam for much of her adult life and it was beautiful jam. Apricot, plum, raspberry and her much sought after three-fruit marmalade. Often the ingredients came from her own backyard (now our backyard). Often relatives and friends would appear at the front door with a bag or two of something in the hope she would turn it into jam. And she would, but it was quite a production. Vast amounts of water, vast amounts of sugar, the big, cumbersome jam-making saucepan would come out of cupboard. Jars would be sterilised, words would be muttered under the breath...
But me? Despite the impression I may sometimes give here, I'm a woman of my era. I found the following easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy jam recipe in All Cooked Up by Donna Presley Early and Edie Hand (yes, it's an Elvis-inspired recipe book but don't let that put you off).
Strawberry and Fig Preserves
1/2 cup water
3 cups peeled and mashed figs
3 cups sugar
2 boxes strawberry jelly crystals (gelatin)
Bring water to boil. Place figs in water and boil for 2 minutes. Combine sugar and jelly crystals in a bowl. Add to the figs. Boil for 3 minutes. Pour into sterile jars and seal.
In my usual creative (ahem) approach to cooking, for the figs I used dried figs, fairly finely cut. For the sugar, I used caster sugar. And I added water to the jelly crystals and sugar in the bowl before adding them to the figs. Last night, as I poured it into the jars, I was predicting it wouldn't set. I told my Fellow Traveler that I would buy some vanilla ice cream today because we would be eating it as a sauce. But guess what? It set. And guess what else? It's pretty good. As my FT summed it up so well at breakfast this morning: "Mmmm...figgy."