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Quick Jams

Appetizer, Fruit, Jams, Quick Jams

Fig Jam with Rosemary and Cognac

fig jam with camenbert close up_MG_2878 2Making a jam is really quite simple and easy.  You need a 12” skillet and a pot large enough to sterilize your jars. Get a few jars at your grocery store and you’re ready.  This recipe only makes two of half pints of jam – just perfect when you have a small amount of storage room.

I fell in love with figs as a small girl.  We spent the summers in an old family home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  There was a huge old fig bush that only produced a few figs.  I’d climb up and pick the figs and present them to my father in a bowl with fresh cream.

Making this fig jam is similar to making the base for fig ice cream.

My favorite way to enjoy this jam is to warm a small wheel of Camembert cheese till it just oozes, spread it on a toasted baguette, add a dollop of fig jam and have a wonderful lunch to go along with the warm memories of my father.

This fig jam recipe only makes two half pints of jam and it only takes about 40 minutes.

Fig Jam with Rosemary and Cognac


1lb    black mission figs

3/4c  white sugar

The zest of one lemon

1T     lemon juice ( about half a lemon)

3”      of a sprig of rosemary

1/4c  cognac or brandy

Pinch of salt


2 half pint preserving jars, a 12” skillet, a pot big enough when filled with water to cover the jars, and a smaller pot to sterilize the jar lids, plus a pair of tongs and a spoon to scoop the jam into the jars.


Wash, stem and chop figs into 6 to 8 pieces. Mix the chopped figs with the sugar, rosemary, lemon zest and lemon juice.

20150904 chopped figs- IMG-1989 with Frank edits

Let this mixture marinate while you sterilize the jars. Place the jars in the big pot, cover them with water to an inch above the jars. Add the tongs and spoon. Boil for 10+ minutes. Place the lids in a small saucepan and gently simmer for 10 minutes.

For more detailed information on preserving, read the instructions that came with your jars or go to

Now it’s time to make the jam. The sugar in the marinade should have turned into a syrup. Pour this fig mixture into the skillet and heat on medium high, stirring gently until it boils. Continue until the mixture thickens enough that a spoon dragged through the liquid leaves a swipe that does not immediately fill in. Take out the sprig of rosemary. Add the cognac and stir for a minute longer. The whole process will take 10 to 12 minutes.

figs cooked perfectly _MG_2079

Carefully take your jars out of the boiling water and spoon the jam into them.

Screw the lids on – not tightly – and return the jars to the hot water bath. Boil for 10 minutes. When you take the jars out of the bath for this final time, screw the lids on tightly and you’re done!

Quick Jams

Apricot, Rosemary and Mint Jam

20150706 Apricot rosemary mint and red pepper jam-_MG_2571

Serendipity – don’t you love it when exactly what you want or need presents itself? I called a friend recently and asked if I could make bread and butter pickles with her. She makes wonderful pickles. She readily agreed but said “You know this takes all day and you’ll have 8+ pints of pickles.” I started backpedaling. I really did not want to spend all day doing this, nor did I want to store so many jars. I had a vision of friends saying with a false grin (grim grin) “Bless your heart, another jar of pickles.”

A few days later, while wandering around a cooking store I espied a cookbook by Marisa McClellan, “preserving by the pint – Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces”. Hallelujah! I don’t buy many cookbooks anymore, but this one was just what I needed to figure out proportions for smaller batches of jams and vegetables. “Quick” is also right up my alley. Every recipe I’ve tried has been sensational.

Here is my take on one of Ms. McClellan’s jams: Apricot, Rosemary and Mint Jam. The jam is sweet and savory, with a bit of heat. Besides on breakfast toast, I use it this jam as a glaze on chicken, as a condiment with pork or lamb and on curry.

Making this only takes about 30 minutes. I often make a batch as I’m cooking dinner. Imagine finding a beautiful jar of apricot-flavored, spicy, savory, sweet, golden goodness in your pantry in January.

Note: When preserving, you don’t always have to have the perfect piece of fruit because it is cooked down and the flavors become more robust. So if an apricot is mealy but still smells good, use it.

Apricot, Rosemary and Mint Jam


2lbs    apricots

2c    sugar

3T    rosemary, finely chopped

2T    mint, finely chopped

3t    red pepper flakes, or 3t jalapeno, chopped finely

1T    fresh lemon juice


A scale, a measuring cup, measuring spoons, and a potato ricer or some other way to mash the apricots; a 12 inch skillet; 4 one-pint preserving jars with lids; a stock pot.


Prepare the canning jars and lids according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Pit the apricots and put them in a large bowl.  Mash until pulpy – it is ok to have some small chunks.  I use a potato ricer to do this.

20150706 Apricot Rosemary and Mint Jam_MG_1959Add the apricot, rosemary, mint, sugar, and pepper to the skillet and cook on medium high, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches a boil. Add the lemon juice.

Cook, stirring gently until the back of a spoon remains coated when you lift it out of the liquid.  You can also check for doneness by drawing your spoon across the middle of the mixture.  If the mixture does not immediately fill in the swath, it’s ready.

20150706 Apricot Rosemary Mint Jam cooking on stove

Carefully fill the jars to within ¼ inch of the rim. Screw on the lids and place the jars back in the pot that you used to sanitize them.  Bring the water to a boil and cook the jars for 10 minutes.  When you take the jars out, you should hear a pop sound. Again, follow the manufacturer’s directions. The jam keeps for 3 weeks in the refrigerator if you are not comfortable with preserving.  This Apricot, Rosemary and Mint Jam has not lasted 3 weeks in my house yet.

Biscuits, Bread, Quick Jams

Lavender and Lemon Scones with Raspberry Jam

Homemade lavender and lemon scones with raspberry jam on your table in about 30 minutes, still warm from your oven. Oh yes!

This scone recipe is a gem. My husband is from Ireland, where, for a Texan, regardless of the time of year, it is always somewhere between chilly and downright cold. But the tea is hot and strong and the pastries grand. I don’t think I will ever make a loaf of soda bread as well as my mother-in-law, Mae. So, I’ve concentrated on making a great scone. There is one shop in Collooney in County Sligo that has the best scones I’ve ever had. I’ve been trying for years to get the crumbly lightness, rise and flavor of those scones when I make mine. With this recipe I think I’m almost there – even the dough is so good it is hard not to sample a bite or three as you’re rolling it out.

Today I timed myself to make sure I could actually make and serve lavender and lemon scones with freshly made raspberry jam in around 30 minutes. And I did. So, on your marks, get set, cook!

Lavender & Lemon Scones with Raspberry Jam

Turn your oven on at 350F degrees.

Raspberry Jam

Quick, simple & delicious


1c fresh raspberries

1c white granulated sugar

1t lemon zest (optional)


A wide shallow ovenproof pan that will hold the amount of raspberries you use.

20150729 Rasberries in sugar jam_MG_1034.CR2

Mix equal parts fresh raspberries (1 cup) and white granulated sugar (1 cup) and the lemon zest in a wide shallow dish. Put the berry mix in the 350F oven for about 20 minutes. You want the mix very hot but not boiling. I set a timer so I don’t forget to check the jam after 10 minutes just to make sure it isn’t boiling. After 20 min, pour into a bowl and stir to make sure the sugar has melted. Note: This jam is runny – somewhat like a syrup.

Lavender & Lemon Scones

While you are cooking the raspberries, start on the scones. As the jam comes out of the oven, your scones will be ready to go in. This recipe makes 12 small scones.


2c white, all purpose flour

1T baking powder

¼ c granulated white sugar

2T lemon zest, approx. 2 medium-sized lemons

pinch of salt

4T cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

1 ½ tsp dried lavender or 2 tsp of fresh lavender

3/4c milk, cold

1 egg beaten with 1 tsp warm water to brush the top of the scones

Heat oven to 425 F


1 medium to large bowl, 1 fine sieve, a 1c measuring cup, 1T measuring spoon, 1/4c measuring cup, 1 t measuring spoon, 1 liquid measuring cup, small bowl to mix the glaze, pastry creamer or two knives to mix the butter into the flour, a 2” cookie cutter, a rolling pin (optional), and a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into the large bowl. Add the lemon zest and gently stir the lavender in. Add the butter pieces and use the pastry creamer or knives to cut the butter into the flour. You can also use the tips of your fingers and mash the flour into the butter. If you use your fingers, work quickly because you don’t want the heat from your hands to melt the butter. If you have a food processor, you can use it for this step but be careful to only pulse the motor 3 to 4 times. The flour/butter mix should resemble coarse meal when done.

Make a well in the center of the flour/butter mixture and pour in the milk all at once. Lightly hand-mix the flour and milk by stiffening five fingers in the mixture, then turning the bowl and moving your fingers in a spiral from the center of the bowl out. In a few seconds you should have the dough loosely gathered into a ball. Again, if you are using a food processor, only pulse it 3 to 4 times. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work area. Scrape the dough off your fingers and gather the dough into a ball.

The whole purpose of working with the dough as little as possible is to keep the scones light and crumbly.

Pat or roll the dough out to a 1” thickness. Cut the dough into 2” rounds with your cookie cutter. Don’t forget to dip the cookie cutter in flour so the dough doesn’t stick to it. Be careful to go straight down and up with the cutter without twisting. This will help your scones to rise.

Biscuit Dough

Place the cut-out scones on the cookie sheet. Beat the egg with 2 tsp of warm water or milk. Brush the tops of the scones with the egg glaze. Bake in the hot oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool on a wire rack.

Whew! That’s all there is to it.

Sometimes I like to dip the top of the glazed scones in granulated sugar just before baking. It adds a lovely crunch.

Additional ideas for flavorings:

  • ½ heaping cup of blueberries, ½ teaspoon almond essence, 2T lemon or lime zest
  • 2T finely grated orange rind. I’ll also add 1T – 2T citrus peel
  • 4T raisins
  • 3T dried cherries
  • 1 ½ t cinnamon added to the flour before you mix in the butter. Mix ½ t of cinnamon into ¼ c of sugar to glaze the top.
  • 3T finely chopped crystallized ginger.

Today I used the same recipe and substituted ½ heaping cup of blueberries for the lavender, lime for the lemon and buttermilk for the milk. When you do this, treat the blueberries gently. If they get smashed, your scones will have a grayish tint.