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Paul L. Storey's Fig Preserves
4 cups figs, washed in cold water
2 cups sugar, reserved separately
Pour sugar into any kind of cooking pot. Add barely enough water to liquefy the sugar to a thick paste. Place the pot on low heat, stirring the mixture constantly until completely liquefied. This step is a preventive measure to keep figs and sugar from scorching or burning.
Dump the figs into the heated sugar-water. Cook on low to medium-low heat. Do not cover the pot. You want some of the water to evaporate.
Watch for the first signs the mixture has reached the boiling point. From this first boiling time, cook about 30 minutes, until the first few fig seeds adhere to side of the pot. Remove from the fire and cool.
When figs have cooled, preserve them the easy way by pouring them into plastic containers and freezing them. They will keep for at least one year, or even longer.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Current Extension Service recommendations for fig jam and fig preserves: Add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice to each quart jar, or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid.
Some people cut off the stems, but Eula Mae said to keep a bit of the stems for better presentation. By no means peel the figs.
Eula Mae's Fig Preserves
Makes about 6 pints
1 gallon of figs
1 gallon (8 cups) sugar
2 cups water
Put figs in a colander and rinse 2 to 3 times with cool water and drain well.
Combine the sugar and water in a large, heavy pot and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar and cook until thick syrup forms. Add the figs and reduce the heat to medium. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is very thick and a foam appears around the edges of the pot, about 2 hours, depending on the size of the figs and the weather conditions. It will take longer if the weather is hot and muggy.
Eula Mae's test is to lift a spoon full of syrup out of the pot and let it drip out. When two drops meet at the rim of the spoon, it's ready.
Spoon the mixture into sterilized preserving jars, filling to within 1/2-inch of the top. Wipe the jars and rims with a clean, damp towel. Fit with hot, sterilized lids. Tightly screw on the metal ring. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Remove and let the jars stand in the water until it cools to the touch. Remove from the water and put on a towel on the counter and cool completely.
Tighten the rings and store in a cool dark place for up to 3 months.
Warren Leruth's Fig Preserves
Makes 10 to 12 half-pint jars
1 gallon local figs, small, ripe, on firm side
7 pounds sugar, divided
2-1/2 quarts water, divided
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cover figs with boiling water and soak for 15 minutes.
Drain figs; add five pounds sugar and two quarts water; boil until syrup registers 214 degrees. Remove from heat. Allow figs and syrup to cool overnight.
Next day, add one pint water and two pounds sugar. Boil to 218 degrees. Add vanilla extract.
Immediately fill jars and have someone apply the lids tightly. Place jars upside down. (This is very important, as by turning upside down, lids are pasteurized.) After about 15 minutes, try to give the lids another tightening and leave upside down until cool.