What’s Inside: In this article, I walk you through the process of making and canning fig jam. I show you how to make the jam using the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker, and then how to can it using the Nesco Canner.
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Welcome, food enthusiasts and home canners! Today, we’re taking a delightful detour from the usual and diving into a DIY fig jam adventure using the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker (Amazon).
It all started when I decided to make fig jam. Like anyone exploring new culinary territory, I began hunting for fig jam recipes suitable for the Jam and Jelly maker. I found the answer in a fantastic group on Facebook dedicated to this very machine. It’s a treasure trove of shared recipes and handy tips. One member suggested using the Peach Jam recipe from the Jam and Jelly Maker cookbook (Amazon) as a base, simply swapping out the peaches for figs. Brilliant, right?
So that’s exactly what we’re doing today – following the Peach Jam recipe but with a figgy twist.
Making and Canning Fig Jam (Video)
Canning Fig Jam Recipe
We’ll need 2 and 2/3 cups of chopped figs, 3 tablespoons of powdered pectin (I’m using Hoosier Hill Farm’s, but Ball’s Classic Pectin is what the recipe recommends, and you can get either one on Amazon.). You’ll also need 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice, and 1/2 teaspoon of butter or margarine to prevent foaming.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – sugar. The recipe calls for a whopping 3 and 1/3 cups. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but keep in mind, figs aren’t considered a clean fruit due to the hole at the bottom, and the sugar serves as an antibacterial agent. Whether this is entirely true or not, I’m erring on the side of caution and sticking with the full sugar quota.
With ingredients ready, let’s roll up our sleeves and get jamming! Stay tuned as I walk you through the process in the next part of this blog post.
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Making Fig Jam in the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker
Alright, foodie friends, it’s time to dive into the jam-making process, making the fig jam in the Ball Jam and Jelly Maker (Amazon).
First, evenly sprinkle 3 tablespoons of powdered pectin at the bottom of the jam maker.
Next, pour in your chopped fruit, lemon juice and butter. Hold off on the sugar for now.
Press the “Jam” button and let the machine work its magic for four minutes. Don’t fret if you see clumps of pectin initially; everything will incorporate smoothly as the machine stirs.
After 4 Minutes, Add in the Sugar
When the four-minute timer beeps, it’s time to add in our mountain of sugar. Aim to distribute it evenly across the mixture. Now, I’ve noticed people often put the lid on right at the start, but according to the instructions, it should go on after the sugar. With the sugar in and the lid on, we have 17 minutes left on the clock.
As we approach the final minute, I’ll take the lid off so you can see the transformation inside. The machine will beep when it’s done, signaling the time to press cancel, unplug the jam maker, and get ready to fill our jars.
Use a Potholder to Remove the Ball Jam Maker Stirrer
Remember, the jam maker gets very hot, so use a pot holder when handling it. Remove the stirrer and set it aside on a paper towel.
Filling the Canning Jars
Now, it’s time to fill the heated jars, aiming for about 1/4 inch of headspace.
Be sure to wipe the rims, using a paper towel dipped in vinegar. This removes the residue, which helps ensure the lids seal properly.
Put on the lids and rings, tightening the rims, finger tip tight.
Once all the jars are filled (I ended up with four half-pints and a little extra), the leftover jam is perfect for a taste test once cooled. As for the jam in the jars, it’s a nice thickness, enhanced by the addition of pectin. Some recipes omit pectin, but in my opinion, it gives the jam a great consistency.
After a taste test with my mom (who is a big fan of fig jam and pretty much anything else I cook), we both found it delightful, albeit sweeter than the jams I typically make. However, considering you only use a small amount of jam per serving, it’s a treat worth indulging in.
Canning Fig Jam in the Nesco Canner
Alright, home canners and fig jam enthusiasts! Now that we’ve made our delicious fig jam, it’s time to seal those jars using our trusty Nesco Smart Canner (Amazon). Here’s a step-by-step guide to water bath canning your homemade fig jam.
- Start by placing the canning rack in the bottom of the inner pot. This will help keep our jars from touching the pot directly, which could cause them to break.
- Next, place your filled jars of fig jam on the canning rack. Make sure the lids are on securely, but don’t overtighten them.
- Now, pour water into the pot. We want to make sure there is enough water to completely cover the jars, ensuring an even heat distribution during the processing.
- Once the jars are submerged, close the lid of the Nesco Smart Canner. Check that the pressure limiting valve is set to the exhaust position and the lid is in the closed position.
Water Bath Canning in the Nesco
- Press the WB/Steam button to select the water bath/steam function.
- Now it’s time to set the processing time. Since we’re working with fig jam, we’ll need 10 minutes. Press the time+ button until it shows 10 minutes. (Note, due to my altitude, I needed to add 5 minutes to the processing time. To learn more about adapting canning recipes based on altitude, read my article, How Altitude Impacts Canning.
- Double-check that the pressure limiting valve is still set to exhaust. This ensures the steam escapes and prevents pressure build-up.
- Ready to roll? Hit the start button. A “digital chase” on the control panel will confirm that the process has begun.
- Keep an eye out for a constant stream of steam. This typically takes around 20-25 minutes and indicates that the water has reached the necessary temperature.
- As soon as you see that steam, press the START button again to begin the countdown timer.
The Nesco canner (Amazon) is the canner that I’ve been using for years now. I simply love it! If I had to buy only one canner, this would be it. I love that it can handle quarts and can water bath and pressure can. It’s the perfect size, and is often available at a better price than other electric canners. If by chance you can’t get the Nesco, check out the Carey Canner, also available on Amazon. These are the exact same canners, so get whichever one is cheapest at the time.
Let the Nesco Canner Do it’s Magic
Now you can sit back and relax, knowing that your fig jam is being canned to perfection.
Once the countdown timer has stopped, you’ll hear a beep, to let you know the jam is done.
At this point, carefully turn the lid clockwise, 1/8 of a turn. NOTE: even with water bath canning, some pressure builds up, and you may not be able to immediately open the lid. Don’t try to force it. Just wait a few minutes, for the pressure to drop, and then you’ll be able to open the lid.
Carefully turn the lid clockwise 1/8 of a turn. Always open the lid away from you to avoid any hot steam.
Removing the Fig Jam from the Canner
Now, using a jar lifter (Amazon), remove your jars from the canner and place them on a cloth on your counter to cool. After 12-24 hours, check the seals. If any jars didn’t seal properly, pop them in the fridge or freezer.
And voila! You’ve successfully water bath canned your homemade fig jam. Enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended) spread on warm toast or dolloped on fresh yogurt or a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Happy canning!
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