Fig, Orange, & Pecan Conserve
About this conserve (or jam): What makes a jam a conserve? Apparently, if you have two or more fruits in jam, it is a conserve, much like the Balsamic Cherry Tomato and Onion Conserve. My husband and I were actually sad that this is the last fig recipe I tried during fig season, with the last batch of figs, as we both think it is our favorite (even over my Grandmother’s traditional fig preserves!) We really enjoyed it for not being too sweet, and the orange, cinnamon and cloves provided a subtle aroma that made us both want more.
- 6 ½-pint (8-ounces) canning jars or 12 4-ounce jars, with rings and unused (new) lids
- 2 ½ pounds of green figs, such as LSU Gold variety
- 4 cups white sugar
- 1 orange, peeled, seeded and diced into chunks about ½-inch to ¾-inch
- 1 to 2 springs fresh thyme, or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 ½ cups orange juice
- 4 tablespoons lemon juice (I used bottled, which has a higher acidity, and is usually recommended in canning)
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2/3 cup pecans, shelled and lightly toasted, coarsely chopped
- Prepare the jars, lids and rings for proper canning. This means washing the jars and lids, and sanitizing them. Some like to wash everything in the dishwasher if they have a sanitize cycle; some like to place the jars in a large boiling pot for 10 minutes or so; but I like to put mine in a baking pan, and place them in the oven, usually at 180 to 200 for at least 20 minutes – about half way through the jam-making process. The lids and rings I place in a small saucepan on medium throughout the cooking process. Then, proceed with your cooking.
- Prep the figs. The LSU Gold figs released quite a bit of tree sap when I picked them. The tree sap is similar to latex in nature (and can cause an allergic reaction to some). To clean the figs and successfully remove the tree sap (and dead bugs and things!), place all the figs in a large mixing bowl. Cover with enough boiling water to cover the figs, and let sit about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with clean water once or twice. If you see dead bugs floating, keep rinsing. Some batches I picked did have bugs (fruit flies; they got stuck to the tree sap), some didn’t. Remove the stems, and dice the figs into ½ inch chunks, and transfer all to a bowl.
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, place the diced figs, and the remaining ingredients up to the pecans, and simmer over medium-high in the beginning, stirring frequently to prevent scorching (yes, it will burn). As the jam starts to thicken and figs break down, you can add the pecans and reduce the heat to medium to medium-low, still continuing to stirring frequently, until it is thick and jammy. The pecans can be added in the beginning; I don’t know that it matters if they are added in the beginning or at the end. It will probably be reduced by 1/3 to ½ of the original volume, and remember, the hot jam is going to be a lot thinner than the final, cooled product. So, there will still be a good bit of liquid, but, it should not be runny.
- The whole process may take 45 minutes to just over an hour (depending on your pan, and the temperature used), but, the figs will breakdown somewhat and the mixture will be reduced by a third to almost half.
- Fill the hot jars with the jam, leaving about ¼ inch of space. Place lids on, then rings. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes for 4-ounce jars; 15 minutes for 8-ounce jars. Remove and place on a clean kitchen towel, and let cool overnight. All of the lids should seal properly, some before they even hit the counter!