Yesterday I was tempted to buy a small jar of fig jam. It brought back such memories of my mother’s fig jam on the farm that I simply couldn’t resist it.
As soon as I got home I opened the little jar with eager anticipation and an almost dreamy feeling. I plunged a teaspoon into the jam and had a taste.
What a disappointment! It was a sweet mush with thousand of tiny pips that got in between my teeth and it was much too sweet. Worst of all there was no taste at all of the real fig flavour that I remember so well.
So let me tell you about my mother’s fig jam so that you can understand exactly what I mean.
Firstly, we grew our own figs. My father had a particular love of fig trees and he literally grew hundreds of fig trees of every variety on the farm.
As children we helped to pick the basins of figs that my mother needed for her jam making. They had to be ripe but firm and unbroken.
Then she popped them into a huge pot with sugar and slowly brought them to the boil. I don’t think there were any other ingredients – I must have the recipe somewhere.
The thick syrup bubbled slowly and the figs remained whole and juicy.
And when they were bottled boiling hot in large jars the whole figs in syrup shone like dark gold.
When you bit into one of those figs it popped open and the syrup oozed out.
They were a delicacy that I didn’t fully appreciate back then – until today when I had a teaspoonful of that tiny bottle of bought jam.
But it served a purpose – it brought back vivid memories of my mother in her spotless apron making her homemade fig jam.