We've been all about the Olympics here, well all of us except for Vienna. Vienna's not a fan of anything that leads to yelling and when Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross are on fire, or Simone Biles crushes her vault, I can't help but cheer! Have you guys been watching? Did you watch that Phelps / le Clos showdown? Oh man, daggers. Michael Phelps' stone-faced stare during Chad le Clos pre-swim shadowboxing sesh was priceless. And while the rivalries are exciting and entertaining, I have to say, I'm just in awe of all these athletes. They are definitely superhuman superheroes and crazy inspiring. But what I've really been loving is watching their families and friends in the stands. Dwyer nation, the Raismans, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Gosh, I love the Olympics.
And speaking of superheroes, Rebecca Lindamood's new cookbook came out! I met Rebecca last year in Tuscany when Molly, Brandon, and I all went out there with DaVinci Wine and let me just say, she's a real-life superhero. She's a mother of five boys, who she homeschools, she teaches pilates and barre classes, mills her own flours, writes and maintains a blog, and has now just written an epic book called Not Your Mama's Canning Book! She pretty much does it all and thanks to her, I've made my first batch of preserves!
I'm not sure why I thought canning was a scary thing, but thanks to Rebecca, I feel like I can can (can-can, hehe) all the things! And while I'd be happy with learning to just can, what I love about Rebecca is that she doesn't want to just teach you to can, she also wants to show you how to use those wonderful canned goods, so she provides boatloads of recipes to use those preserves and sauces you've just canned!
Since I'm a curd-nerd and major cheeseboard enthusiast, I jumped on the chance to make my own fig preserves. It's one of my favorite things to put on any board and since it's California fig season, now's pretty much the best time ever to make these preserves! I used brown Turkey figs for the preserves, but honestly, feel free to use any fresh fig you can find (they're all amazing). Rebecca's recipe (below) is super easy to follow and a great jumping off point for a canning newbie like me. I'm already looking forward to my next round of canning--what should I can?
Ps - If you're obsessing over that gorgeous copper jam pot like I was, it's Falk and I love and highly recommend it!!
- 4 c. (662 g) chopped figs
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) water
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped to release the seeds
- 4 tsp. (20 ml) calcium water, mixed according to Pomona's Universal Pectin Instructions
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
- 2 cups (383 g) sugar
- 1 Tbsp. (9 g) Pomona's Universal Pecti
- Add the chopped figs, water, vanilla bean and its seeds to a large, non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes or slightly longer depending on how ripe your figs are, stirring occasionally to soften the fruit. Add the calcium water and lemon juice, stir thoroughly.
- Measure the sugar into a mixing bowl and whisk in the pectin powder until it is completely incorporated and even in color.
- Bring the fig mixture back to a boil. Add the sugar mixture and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the sugar and pectin are fully dissolved. Return to a full boil and remove from heat immediately. Remove and discard the vanilla bean.
- Fill the jars to within 1/4 inch (6 mm) of headspace. Wipe rims clean. Center a lid in place and screw a ring to fingertip tightness or fix clamps in place. Put filled jars in a canner filled with boiling water to cover the jars by 2 inches (5 cm). Boil for 10 minutes, then, using a jar lifter, transfer the jars from the water to a clean dish towel or wire rack. Let cool completely. Remove the rings, wipe clean, label the jars and store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once a jar is opened, it is good for about 3 weeks in the refrigerator.