Friday, August 9, 2013

fresh fig jam...


I've been thinking a lot about my cell phone and the addiction I have with it. Like, before I upgraded to an iPhone, I was an avid Blackberry user...but there was only so much you could do on that thing (we're talking a few years ago here- I know the new Blackberries have since had major upgrades!) I honestly don't think I could go on the internet! Well, maybe I could, but it was verrrry limited. 

My phone was pretty much...a phone. I made calls on it (kind of), texted up a storm, and maybe answered some emails. It held my calendar and reminded me of upcoming events (thank you Blackberry) and also served as a (very poor) camera when a picture JUST HAD TO BE TAKEN!

That was it.

Thinking back on that fact and those days...kind of makes me sad. I miss having a sort of disconnection from everything. If I wanted to really get going with my business or what have you, online, I had to actually (gasp!) sit down at a computer. Life happened and I was present in it. Then, I consciously made a decision to do business, and I was conscious in that. None of this, "Oh I'm in an elevator for 6.5 seconds, I should check my Instagram"... or "Oh So and So just emailed me...I've been waiting for their email! Even though I'm grocery shopping...I NEED to answer them!"

When I was doing life, I was DOING LIFE. When I was ready to do business, I sat down and did business. The lines have definitely blurred over the last few years. 

Don't get me wrong, having an iPhone is such a blessing...and has really helped me out business-wise, in more ways than one. But, I have taken that blessing and run wickedly wild with it. I have taken a good thing and made it into an idol. My phone battles with my Father for my time. My phone battles my family time, my weekend time, my "off work" time... and so on. My heart has been convicted of this fact, for a few weeks now...but selfishly I have tried to ignore it. Poo on me. I really need to start listening to this conviction and actually do something about it. Prayers appreciated!

I mean, let's take this blog post as an example. As I was recipe writing and testing... and testing.... and photographing- my phone was RIGHT next to me. Yes, I have since turned off MANY of my notifications and sounds... but I can still see certain things as they come up. So while cooking the jam, I had to stop numerous times to check something, answer so and so, and post blah blah. Such a time sucker-upper! Not to mention, just plain dumb on my part. Same with editing the photos and getting them up on this blog- more interruptions, more divided attention, yadda yadda yadda. This happens ALL the time. 

Ugh.

Gone are the days of just being in the cooking and baking moment. I definitely need to change that fact. I miss getting carried away in my little cooking world....where time doesn't exist and no one is around. YOU HEAR ME PHONE???

Again, prayers appreciated. 

Luckily the interruptions didn't effect the outcome of this delicious fresh fig jam. Not one bit. *smile* As we all know, I came across a heck of a lot of figs recently. Our friend's fig tree went bonkers and produced more figs than he knew what to do with. So naturally, he asked his baker friend if she needed or wanted any. Of course I did. I mean, who turns up pounds of fresh organic figs...FREE fresh organic figs? Not I. 

I decided to make a few different types of jam with the figs. Why? Because I wanted to have them for a while to come and jamming is the best way to do so. 

As we already know, the first jam to be made was Bacon + Fig. Yum to the O. So good as a spread on homemade BBQ chicken pizza! Smoky and delicious.

With the other half of my figs, I decided to do a very classic fig jam. I didn't want to mask any flavors or make it too complex, I wanted the star of the show to really stand out. With ingredients like vanilla, lemon, and (duh) figs, this jam is my new favorite. By far. 

It's easy to make, simple in ingredients, and completely unprocessed. Goodness gracious. 

FRESH FIG JAM
Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 1/2 pounds fresh figs, washed, dried, stems cut off, and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup vanilla sugar
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh grated lemon zest
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1. In a medium sauce pot add your figs, water, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. 

2. Once simmering, turn heat to low and gently simmer, uncovered, for one hour. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. Place a salad or dessert plate into the freezer for our PLATE TEST we'll be doing later on. Click here to read more about what it is and how to do so!


3. Once figs have cooked for an hour, remove from heat. Carefully pour jam into a blender or food processor and puree until completely smooth. If you have a stick or hand blender (see above picture), use! This is the perfect time to do so! Just remember to remove pan from heat and carefully puree right in the pot, until smooth. 

4. Pour mixture back into pan if you used a blender or food processor, and place pot back on a medium high heat. Add lemon juice and stir to combine. Bring back up to a simmer. Once simmering, turn heat to low and cook another 25 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pan. 

5. PLATE TEST time! Once mixture has thickened up a bit, test a dollop on your frozen plate. Allow to set up 2-3 minutes before checking its consistency. If it's too runny, keep cooking. If it has set up like jam, you're good to go!


6. Quickly spoon or pour your fig jam into cleaned and sanitized glass canning jars! I used Kerr 8 ounce jars with their 2-piece self sealing lids. Love those! I also used an extra 2-cup glass jar which we devoured in just a few days. :) For the 2-piece self sealing lids, tighten and allow to sit room temperature until you hear the POP of the lid. You're sealed! 

Gift up and give away to friends or enjoy yourself :) Store in fridge for up to 3 weeks.


This was just so figgin' fun. Now about that iPhone addiction...

For printable recipe, click here.

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