I've been fig picking with Mama twice this week out to Mrs. Sue's house. Bless her heart and mine too; she's slower this year getting around the same tree the snake ran me out of. She carried her wooden cane to pull the limbs down to reach the figs easier.
I was going to get up this morning and make it, having picked figs again yesterday specifically for a batch. Mama had a doctor's appointment down in Pascagoula right after lunch so I put the figs in the refrigerator to keep. They soured. I wasn't going to make strawberry figs and do a tutorial. Then I remembered the ones Lindsey brought last week off Libby's tree in the freezer!!! YAY! They worked great so without any further ado, I present strawberry figs also known as mock strawberry jam.
This is Mrs. Edna Brewer's recipe for Mock Strawberry Jam. It's written in the front of the Unity Baptist Church cookbook. Mrs. Edna's a member there. When I call these incredible Southern cooks for a specific recipe they make I always write it in the front of the church cookbook where they attend church. I've lots of recipes written in handfuls of cookbooks in the county.
I called Mrs. Edna for her recipe a few years ago when she told me about the difference in hers and the one I was using at the time. I had entered a jar of strawberry figs in the local Two Rivers Festival canning contest. It was summarily dismissed by Mrs. Edna (retired Extension office secretary) as being too thick for jam. She didn't even judge it! It didn't hurt my feelings 'cause the vanilla bean-pear jelly I make won a blue ribbon and you really can't win them all, now can you? I did call Mrs. Edna up the next week for her recipe and have been using it ever since. Figs, sugar, and jello are all the ingredients necessary. You can use fruit pectin; I threw a box in the photo just for good measure but it isn't necessary.
Eight cups of figs, mashed; six cups of granulated sugar; and two LARGE boxes of strawberry jello are all put in a non-reactive pan.
I put the figs, unmashed, into the pan with everything else and smash through them with Grandma's old potato masher. I'm a sensate sort of person: I can feel the grains of sugar smashing fig seeds all against the bottom of the pan; the sludge-y sound of working the masher through the mixture is peculiar to my ears; the smell has got to be heavenly -- I can't imagine anything smelling better.
Mine looks like this when I get through
The jars are washed in hot soapy water, rinsed well, and put into the microwave.
Put the figs/strawberry jello/sugar mixture on to cook, bringing it to a slow boil. You'll want to stir constantly. This stuff sticks quickly if the heat is too high. Ewwwwwwww... and there is NOTHING worse than scorched figs in any way shape fashion or form. Unless it's scorched tomatoes. I promise...
I have a very large pot on a very large burner. It will only take these eight minutes or so to become nice and clear and thick. Adjust the cooking time accordingly to your stove and container. See the little pot the lids are in? It's the lid pot. I don't think I've ever cooked anything in it.
When the syrup is thickened slightly and all the fruit has cooked clear the strawberry figs are ready to be jarred. Skim the foam from the top and RESERVE for the cook's treat: white bread with fob! Mama's always called the foam fob. I do too. We love fob with fresh white bread. When I was young, my brother Joe and I always fought over who was going to help Mama with the lids and bands 'cause THAT person always got to eat the fob.
This was the batch: four pints and a cup. I could've grabbed a half-pint jar but then I wouldn't have had anything to share with Mama when she comes to town tomorrow to vendor her eggs.
I always cover cooling jars. Years ago Mama and I had canned pink-eye purple hull peas. Coming out of the water bath a jar exploded just from contact with the cooler air. I've never forgotten the loudness of the event, how far the glass shattered in the kitchen, or the mess we had to clean up. Y'all be careful when you're canning. It's enjoyable and gratifying but respect the heat and glass, please.
Mrs. Edna's Mock Strawberry Jam
8 cups mashed figs
6 cups granulated sugar
2 large boxes strawberry jello
Mix all ingredients and let sit until figs begin to draw juice. Cook on medium heat 8 to 15 minutes or until all fruit is cooked clear and syrup has begun to thicken. Jar as any other jam or jelly. Pectin is optional.
Y'all enjoy! I know I'm tickled just knowing it'll be waiting for me tomorrow!!!