No fresh fruit: no problem

I dare not think how cold it is outside right now, but it’s a perfect time to be constructive indoors rather than freezing in the real world. The original plan was mango chutney, but it turns out that mangoes only get to Little India in March, so that scotched that one.

So we homed in on dried fruit, which is available at any time, even if the other ingredients might not be at their peak.

First off was a fig onion jam, which we made a couple of years ago, and which goes like a charm with a sharp cheese or a flavorful pate. It takes time — it always takes time to caramelize onions — but it’s worth the wait. I enjoyed watching the onions go from this

to this, with a bit of patient stirring and the addition of some sugar and vinegar.

The recipe came from my trusted Australian book again, and while I really don’t like buying tomatoes in January, sometimes a gal’s got to do what a gal’s got to do. I bought half the quantity I should have, so topped the quantities up with apple, which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the finished product.

Fig, tomato and caramelized onion jam
1 tbsp olive oil
4 medium onions
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (we used cider vinegar)
1/4 cup sugar
6 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (we used 3)
2 apples, peeled and chopped (not in the recipe)
3-1/2 cups dried figs, sliced
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cups sugar

Fry onions til soft, then caramelize with the vinegar and 1/4 cup sugar until medium brown.

Combine tomato (and apple) and figs in a saucepan and simmer until soft — which means it goes from this

to this in 30 minutes or so.

Add the caramelized onions and the rest of the sugar. Heat gently til the sugar is dissolved, then boil til it sets, maybe 15 minutes.

Bottle and water bath for 10 minutes.

Next up was tigress’s chutney with attitude, which is basically an apple chutney with a lot of stuff to give it a kick. We used cherries, apricots and the rest of the figs as dried fruit, and threw in a pretty decent amount of chili and a lot of ginger.

As promised, it’s got a kick.

It tasted pretty good straight out of the jar. And it can only get better.

Starting to worry again. I need help in eating all these jars.


  1. Bernadette said

    mmm, I can smell it from here! Freezing here too and you may like to know I finally found some Seville oranges, although they’re yellow ones. I figured as I’m a citrus lover anyway, I will try out your marmalade recipe with this cross between a lemon and an orange 🙂 Can’t wait!

    Did you read in the Times Online that marmalade sales are down in the UK? There was much gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair till they found out Seville orange sales are up in January because everybody’s been making their own marmalade.

  2. Elizabeth said

    Fig/onion jam sounds great! And no need to worry. We can help you with those jars!

    When we buy tomatoes in winter, we get the discounted ones that are sold on trays of 5or6 at the vegetable store for $1 – they usually have a bruise or two and maybe some mold as well, all mars strategically hidden from view, of course. But it’s easy to cut away the bad parts and these really red and juicy tomatoes make the best tomato sauce.

    Now I feel compelled to splash out on fresh figs. (I wonder if our fruit/vegetable store sells bruised figs the same way they sell bruised tomatoes.)

  3. I’ve been thinking I should try that fig/onion recipe. We’re due for more snow, so maybe that will be one of the weekend projects!

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