Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ragged Robin and Fig Jam with Secrets

We were in the country when I spied this field of "Ragged Robin" and Joe nicely stopped so I could take a picture. Thankfully it was a country road with hardly any traffic. Ragged robin seems to have many "nicknames" - you may see it referred to as Meadow Spink, Polly Baker, crow Flower, Shaggy Jacks, etc. Have you ever seen a field of Ragged robin? This was a first for me. 

I was looking for information about Ragged robin, and happened upon the history and uses on this blog. Learn something new every day ;o)
This is what Ragged robin looks like. 

Once in a while, I have a few minutes to go through my news feed of favorite blogs and today I discovered the dates of "our" Lavender Festival. That field of Ragged robin reminded me of lavender fields!

When I was asked to consider reviewing Preservation Society Home Preserves by Camilla Wynne, I knew her preserve recipes were just what I needed to get out of my strawberry jam slump. 

 {Although I will always love strawberry jam.}

Camilla Wynne is a writer, home preserving teacher, and the founder of Preservation Society, a small batch preserves company based in Montreal. She has been a pastry professional for over a decade and is one of Canada's only Master Preservers.
I was drawn to her recipe FIG JAM WITH SECRETS which she has been making since 2006 and I've had a fig tree from CNY Figgery on my list for a few months now.  Hopefully will take a drive in a few weeks to pick up my fig tree.
I chuckled when she said she can’t remember what the “secrets” were back in 2006, but the new ones are perfect. The secret ingredients are orange, vanilla bean, cinnamon and Amaro Nonino (an Italian bitter) — all to enhance the taste of the figs.  Camille's assistant Ariane, says this jam looks like a starry night sky, which is perfectly, poetically apt, and just one more reason to make it as soon as possible.

I'm sharing her original recipe, although I made half a batch and didn't can it. And I had to use dried figs since our markets don't have the fresh figs yet.

3.3 lbs fresh black figs (about 25 large) (I used dried)
3 1⁄4 cups + 2 tbsp granulated sugar 
       grated zest and juice of 1 orange
1⁄2 cup bottled lemon juice 
      vanilla bean, split and scraped 
              1-inch piece cinnamon stick (preferably Ceylon) 
1⁄4 cup Amaro Nonino liqueur (I didn't have this so added a splash of Limoncello just for the heck of it)

Remove the stems and coarsely chop the figs. You should have about 
7 1⁄2 cups. 

In a large pot or preserving pan, combine the figs, sugar, orange zest and juice, lemon juice and vanilla bean. Crumble in Ceylon cinnamon or, if using cassia cinnamon, just throw in the stick. Cover and let stand to macerate for anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week).

In the meantime, prepare the jars and lids.
Bring the fig mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often. Boil hard, stirring often, until the setting point is reached. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the vanilla bean and cassia cinnamon (if using).

Ladle jam into the hot jars to within 1⁄4 inch of the rim. Remove any air bubbles and wipe rims. Place the lids on the jars and screw the bands on until fingertip-tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.


Do not substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice in this recipe. While acidity varies from one lemon to another, bottled lemon juice has a constant pH and will ensure a safe pH level for these figs, which are a low-acid fruit.

If you can find Ceylon cinnamon, splurge on it. Most cinnamon sold in the grocery store is cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is softer, almost crumbly. You can find it in spice stores or gourmet shops.

© The recipe was reprinted with permission. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Debbie@Mountain Breaths
Debbie@Mountain Breaths

Hello, I'm Debbie.I enjoy hiking, kayaking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing in the Adirondack Mountains (thus Mountain Breaths). I live in Upstate NY with my supportive husband and have three precious sons..


  1. What a great shot of that field of ragged robin, Debbie!

  2. I love that field!
    So pretty and I love the ad for the lavender festival so pretty!
    I made fig jam last year and Jacques loved it..your recipe is different..Thanks Debbie!

  3. Beautiful field of flowers...such a pretty color.
    I love fresh figs, right off the tree or bush...not crazy about the fig jelly or Fig Newtons..:)

  4. Just love everything all my favourite summer things. We have ragged robin here in France, but not en mass in fields, it looks so pretty. Loved the poster for the lavender mine is a bit slow this year, and i adore fresh figs, I could eat them, at every meal. thanks for letting me see all my summer favourites in one go.

  5. Ooh Debbie, the field of Ragged Robin is sooo pretty. I can see why you asked Joe to stop.
    The fig jam sounds fabulous. I love figs and fig newtons, so I'm sure I'd love this jam. The list of ingredients makes for a special taste and looks so pretty on toast.

  6. The flowers are beautiful, a carpet of pink! Your jam sounds great, I still haven't tried fig... Gotta get on that:@)

  7. Gosh that jam looks delicious

  8. I've never seen a field like that nor have I heard of any of the nicknames! It is beautiful! I made fig jam three or four years ago and I haven't seen beautiful figs here since. It was delicious and this recipe sounds terrific too!


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