Fig Jam with Mrs Vicky in Kos, Greece

“For me cooking is to feel better. To forget your problems and a good way to focus on something. It is my hobby”. Vicky taught herself jam making four years ago; as a way to relax and to pursue a creative outlet. Friends and family are beneficiaries of this hobby, and Vicky has even designed personalised labels for her jam (a perk of her husband owning a printing business). Additionally, during the Kos Christmas Bazaar, Vicky prepares jam for sale at the market, with all the proceeds going to a children’s charity.

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Beyond jam-making, Vicky’s repertoire of homemade goods extends to beverages, savoury preserves, cheese and cakes (to name a few). Vicky is extremely hospitable, and while the figs were boiling in the pot, with the aid of a chair, she climbed up to a high cupboard, showing me jars of other creations, as well as almost emptying the contents of her fridge, insisting I try at least a taste of the following:

Kanelatha (Cinnamon flavoured drink),

Sour cherry desert wine (made with the recipe of her mother)

Krasotiri (a Kos specialty: cheese soaked in red wine sediment)

Chocolate cream tart

Strawberry jam (Vicky’s favourite)

Plum jam

Fresh bread and crackers to compliment

On this occasion, Vicky’s fig jam was a reflection of a family effort; she used figs sourced by her father from Asfendiou, a nearby village, as well as lemons from her own garden, picked by her husband. Prior to boiling fruit, Vicky stores the peeled figs, covered in the sugar, for 12 hours in the fridge. This step stimulates the figs to produce a syrup-like liquid, enabling the jam to be richer in flavour. Although, Vicky follows a standard recipe for jam making, her personal touch is in the texture of the jam. In order for the jam to have a chunky consistency, Vicky boils the figs for 40 minutes, before the fruit breaks down completely; “but if you would like your jam smoother you can cook it longer!”.

Vicky’s Fig Jam (makes 2 medium sized jars)

Ingredients:

600g semi-peeled figs

200g of brown sugar (more sugar can be added depending on taste preference)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of ground cloves

Method:

Semi-peel the figs, removing the bottom core and place in large sauce pan

On low heat, cover the figs with sugar and allow them to gently boil

Figs will slowly  produce a thick juice. After 15-20 minutes, add the ground cloves and nutmeg to taste

Allow the figs to boil for another 20 minutes. Add the lemon juice 5 minutes before removing from heat

Place clean glass jars upwards in the oven for 5 minutes with their lids

Once the jam is ready, pour the hot jam into the hot jars, seal with their lids, and place the jars upside down until they have fully cooled.

Jam can be stored in the pantry, but must be refrigerated after use.

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