Thank you, thank you, thank you, oh CanJam! All this time I have been pooh-poohing fancy, foodie-oriented artisanal preserves, in favor of my work-a-day, practical, frugal canned goods. I have been a fool. Food in Jar’s announcement of herbs as the starring ingredient for the April canjam practically gave me hives. I found the admonition to stay away from pestos (because they have to be pressure canned) depressing, and the only other practical thing I could think to do was to make a vinegar—and since vinegars are shelf stable, there’s really no point in canning them.
And then I remembered my deep (and deeply repressed) longing for Laundry Etc.’s Lemon, Fig, & Lavender Marmalade. Somewhat ironically, the recipe was posted for the January canjam (citrus)…but since it stars lavender, it counts! An Americanized, simplified version, complete with the Doris and Jilly Lazy Approach To Marmalade Making™ follows. It’s really, really, really good.
And, dear ones, this time I remembered to make a 4-oz jar just for you. Leave a comment by May 1 to enter. As always, the winner will be selected by random number generator.
Lemon Lavender Fig Jam
7 unwaxed lemons
About a pound of dried figs
1/3 c. dried lavender flowers (from last year’s garden, of course)
3 c. sugar
1) The night before you plan to make the jam, slice the lemons thinly and remove the seeds. Chop them. Throw them into a pot with water to cover. Simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. Meanwhile, chop up the figs and toss them into the pot. Wrap the lavender up tightly in cheesecloth and toss that in, too. Let everything sit overnight.
2) Remove the cheesecloth from the pot squeezing to remove the extra liquid. Discard. Stir in the sugar and turn up the heat. (Meanwhile, start your boiling water bath and sterilize your jars. I needed 4 half-pint jars and 2 4-oz jars.) Stir frequently until you reach the gelling point.
3) Transfer the hot jam to the hot jars and adjust two piece lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (or not, if you’re British).
A note on reaching the gelling point: I had a hard time find finding it, and I think I may have sailed just past it. Fortunately, it’s a pleasing texture, more like membrillo than gooseberry glue. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy some Manchego to eat this with.