I loved it. Linda Wertheimer took four hours of cooking and chatting and pulled together a cohesive, charming tale of canning. And I think it did a lot to dispel the notion that canning is onerous.
I’ll admit that hearing my own voice on the radio was a bit of a shock. When did I start sounding so much like my mother? Or my brother?
But when I got over all the self-critical stuff, I was really happy.
I knew traffic would be up here on the blog, but never in a million years did I expect to be so overwhelmed so instantly. Every time I checked email, there were 75-100 new messages. And comments here. And on Facebook. And phone messages. Really amazing. I love you all. Thank you for sharing the day with me.
And thank you, Linda Wertheimer, Sasa Woodruff (the brilliant, wonderful producer I worked with) and Leah Scarpelli (the production assistant who recorded all the pings and plops and other sounds of the canning kitchen.) Everyone was so wonderful. All professional, smart, and interested – just as you might imagine from NPR.
There’s only one more recipe from the Morning Edition show to share with you, and that’s the French-style fig jam we made. This is a very sophisticated preserves, more confitures than jam. The thin slices of lemon are bitter in the same way marmalade has a sweet and sharp taste, and the figgy goodness and honey laced syrup balance beautifully. It’s exquisite with cheese – anything from a soft fromage blanc to the more developed aged cheeses – my personal favorite is the Grayson Reserve produced by Meadow Creek Dairy (I find it at Stoneyman Gourmet Farmer, Bethesda Central Farm Mkt.) A sinful lunch? Grilled cheese sandwiches with fontina and this jam.
I’ve employed the maceration technique I learned from Christine Ferber in order to infuse the syrup with the thyme and give the lemons some time to soften. You can skip this step, but I hope you won’t.
Fig, Lemon, Thyme Confitures
Makes 12-4 oz jars
4 lbs. fresh figs – Black Mission figs are gorgeous, Brown Turkey figs were equally lovely
3 organic lemons, sliced very thinly, seeds removed
1 c wildflower, acacia or clover honey
3 c sugar
1 large bunch thyme, tied together
Pour boiling water over the figs, allow to stand for 10 minutes and then drain. Quarter the figs, then place them in a large preserving or other non-reactive pan.
Wash the lemons well and slice very thin with a mandoline or a sharp knife. Remove the seeds. Add the lemons, honey, sugar and thyme to the figs.
Bring the jam to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a ceramic or glass bowl, cover with parchment and refrigerate overnight to develop the flavors.
The next day, put the jam back into the preserving pan and bring up to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for five minutes. Remove the thyme.
I like this as a loose jam, but if you want it to be firmer, just add one packet of liquid pectin at this point and follow package directions.
Pour hot jam into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Around here, we’ll be working on getting the house put together. I’m very close to showing you all what it looks like – we’re just waiting for three more pieces of furniture to arrive and I want to get some art back up on the walls before the grand unveiling.