Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Imagined Asked Questions
It's fig, glorious fig season here in Georgia, and while looking at the two fig preserve recipes in my book I realized I hadn't made something clear. Some figs, as many of you probably know, are—like some tomatoes—not quite acidic enough to can in a boiling-water bath unless acid is added; here I use lemon and lemon juice, in quantities that should be—and have been, in my experience—sufficient. (The USDA/NCHFP, e.g., suggests 2 tablespoons lemon juice per quart of preserved figs in a light syrup; my recipes each make 4 half-pint jars and call for 1 lemon and 3 tablespoons, respectively.) What I didn't make clear is that the lemon or lemon juice in those two recipes (slow-roasted fig preserves with lemon, and honeyed fig jam with sesame seeds) is necessary for preservation purposes and should not be viewed as optional. These preserves, like most in the book, are low in sugar, so you need the added acid to make sure the pH is in the safe range. If you don't have lemon juice or aren't comfortable making a not-sugar-saturated fig preserve, these recipes make such small quantities that you could certainly just skip the canning and keep them in the fridge, from which they'll quickly disappear.