On the way back from my morning run the other day, I walked by my fruttivendolo and stopped short, staring at the two crates of fresh figs displayed outside. Without uttering a word, the greengrocer and I exchanged glances and a quick, silent transaction. The figs came home with me. All two crates of them.
If you’ve lived or shopped for food in Italy before, you’ll know that fresh, ripe fruit doesn’t last long. So with the weekend and a business trip coming up, there was only one destiny for all those figs: marmellata.
I love cooking but am also a fan of un-complicating things. So what follows is the simplest way of making jam: my simple fig marmellata. So simple that it can be summed up in a 1’24” video clip.
4 kilos figs, wiped clean with a damp cloth and halved or quartered
1 kilo sugar
The juice from 6 organic, unwaxed lemons
4 glasses of water
In a large saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Bring to a gentle boil stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the lemon juice and fig pieces, place on low flame, stirring occasionally.
Skim foam off the mixture as it surfaces to the top. Simmer for up to 3 hours until the fruit is soft and translucent (like candied fruit). At that point, bring the mixture to a boil stirring constantly for about 20 minutes uncovered until the mixture thickens.
You can also judge by putting some of the liquid on a spoon and letting it cool on a plate. It should be gelatinous and not slide off the surface of the plate.
Spoon the jam into sterilized 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and turn them upside down. Let them cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
For a variation, add a vanilla pod, cinnamon stick or ginger while cooking. Slather on warm crusty bread, that’s either been buttered or – better – smeared with fresh ricotta.