Brown Turkey Fig Jam with Sherry & Fennel

This recipe is adapted from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel

Saunders (Andrews McMeel Publishing). The book gives more detailed instructions on testing the jam for doneness as well as on how to sterilize and process the jars.

  • 8–9 eight-ounce canning jars and lids
  • 4 . pounds stemmed brown turkey figs
  • 2 pounds 2 ounces white cane sugar
  • 3 scant teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 2 ounces cream sherry or Marsala
  • 2 ounces strained freshly squeezed lemon juice

Slice 1. pounds of the figs into sixths or, if the figs are very large, into eighths. Combine the slivered figs with the sugar in a large heatproof mixing bowl and let macerate while you proceed with the recipe.

Place the remaining 2. pounds of figs in a stainless-steel kettle wide enough to hold them in a single layer. Add enough cold water to make a .-inch layer in the bottom of the pan. Cover the pan and bring the fruit to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Stir, decrease the heat to medium-low, cover again, and cook for 5 minutes. Then, using a potato masher, crush the figs well to release their juices. Stir, cover once more, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the figs are mushy and translucent, stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent sticking.

While the figs are cooking, crush the fennel seeds in a mortar or grind them coarsely in a spice grinder. Place the sherry and fennel seeds in a small saucepan and heat them slowly until the sherry just starts to steam. Remove the mixture from the heat, cover, and set aside to steep.

When the whole figs are finished cooking, put them through the finest disk of a food mill and add them to the slivered figs and sugar. Scrape any fruit that does not go through the mill back into the rest of the fruit, breaking up the chunks as you go. Stir well to dissolve the sugar, then add the lemon juice. Transfer the mixture to an 11- or 12-quart copper preserving pan or a wide nonreactive kettle.

Bring the jam to a boil over high heat, stirring a few times with a heatproof rubber spatula. When the jam boils, decrease the heat to a lively simmer, stirring frequently. After 7 minutes of simmering, mash the fruit a little with a potato masher. Continue cooking, stirring very frequently, and lowering the heat slightly if the jam begins to stick.

After 20 minutes of simmering, or when the jam has thickened, strain the seeds from the sherry and add the sherry to the jam.  Cook a minute or 2 more and when ready, pour into sterilized jars and process according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Serving suggestion: Try it on turkey sandwiches or with soft cheese and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts for dessert.