Bread with Jam

22 Aug

My grandpa was a sweet man with a sweet tooth. This trait runs down all the branches of his family tree. When any of his seven children and eighteen grandchildren (me included) reach for something sugary after a meal, they know why.

When there was no dessert (and there often wasn’t), grandpa broke out the bread and jam.

You know why?

Because (with apologies to my celiac and gluten-intolerant friends) a soft slice of bread smeared with sweet jam makes your day look a little bit brighter and your troubles feel a little bit lighter. It is simply comfort food.


You Know You’ve Had a Rough Week When…

But this post isn’t about my grandpa. It’s about my mother, the daughter of the aforementioned sweet-toothed patriarch and a sugar-lover herself. If you’re lucky enough know her, you know it’s no hyperbole to say that she is the nicest woman you’ll ever meet.

Last week was a rough one for my mom. It started on Sunday afternoon with a fall off her bike that resulted in a broken finger, a chipped tooth, and some serious cuts and bruises. It ended on Saturday with a wicked stomach flu, complete with a fever of 102°F. Nobody deserves to have a week like that, least of all my mother.

Thankfully, by the following Tuesday she was starting to feel human again. And as luck would have it, I had just the thing to satisfy her newly-regained appetite, her sweet tooth in particular.


Just a Spoonful of Sugar (and 30 Figs)

If you’ve never eaten a fresh fig, you’re missing out on a late-summer delicacy. The fig tree in my coworker’s backyard is currently exploding with fruit so she brought a bowl of the sweet treats in to work last week. Having recently bookmarked a fig chutney recipe, I nabbed a few to try it out. The spread was delightfully sweet and spicy, perfect with goat cheese on crackers or BBQ’d pork tenderloin. You can find the recipe here.


Figs for Days

Figs for Days


Since she clearly had an abundance of figs, I asked if she could bring in a pound or so for me to make jam with this week. Six or seven decent sized figs would have been plenty for a small batch.

My generous coworker brought me a container filled with 30 figs, just begging to be mashed, boiled, and canned. I used about half of them to make a double batch of sweet, lemony, cinnamon-kissed fig jam which I promptly delivered, along with a soft baguette and some extra figs, to my dear mother.


Fig Jam

Fig Jam

Lemony Fig Jam

I was fairly haphazard with the ingredients, combining a couple different recipes, but it turned out great.


Yield: Six 250ml jars


2 lbs ripe figs; about 4 cups chopped (I used green figs)
1 Tbsp finely minced lemon rind
1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 to 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey
Pomona’s Universal Pectin (This is optional; you can omit it if you don’t mind runnier jam. If using, follow the instructions for fig jam that come in the package.)



  1. Wash the figs well. Trim and discard the stems and chop the figs into small chunks.
  2. Mix all the ingredients together in a heavy-bottomed pot.
  3. Heat on low-medium until the sugar dissolves.
    (I used an immersion blender at this point to puree the mix before bringing it to a boil, but you can skip that if you like a chunkier jam. You can also do a quick taste-test now to determine whether you need more lemon juice, ginger, or cinnamon).
  4. Increase the heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil and stir for about 2 minutes.
  5. Remove the jam from the heat and carefully ladle it into sterilized jars (a canning funnel really helps).
  6. Process the cans in a water bath for 10 minutes or let them set and store them in the refrigerator. They should last about 2 weeks if you don’t process them.
  7. Serve on a slice of soft bread (or with crackers and cheese, in oatmeal, yogurt, etc) and enjoy that satisfying sweetness that only bread and jam can create.


Cut fig

Ripe fig

Fig Jam

Fig Jam


P.S. While I’m fully aware that sugar is probably the devil, it’s hard to fight my genes!



© 2013 C Chisholm Communications.
All rights reserved.

2 Responses to “Bread with Jam”

  1. Carrie August 22, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    Lovely entry, Chan! You are a gem 🙂 Your mom is one lucky woman!!xo

  2. Colleen August 23, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    Beautiful…how sweet of you Chandra…no pun intended!!! The jam looks amazing!!

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