Wash the figs. Slice away the stem and a little of the thick base.
Slice the figs into even sized pieces, about ½ an inch in height.
Weigh the sliced figs.
Squeeze lemon juice and keep it ready for use.
Place the figs with 50% of their weight in sugar. If the figs are not very ripe and sweet you can go upto 55% - 60%.
Add ½ tablespoon lemon juice and stir it all in till the sugar is moist all over and no dry bits of sugar remain.
Let the figs sugar lemon juice mixture stand for 15 minutes.Alternatively:If using semi ripe figs, first cook them on low heat in very little water – about 30 ml or ⅛ of a cup, for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add a little more water (a tablespoon at a time) if you find it becoming dry. When the fruit softens up, transfer it to a bowl, add the sugar and lime juice and let it stand for 15 minutes as in the instructions below. Continue as per the instructions.
Meanwhile keep a few spoons in the freezer for the spoon test ( I will explain this in a bit, if you are not already familiar with the test.)
The chopped figs and sugar mixture would now have released some liquid.
Transfer the mixture to a wide thick bottomed pot. Check that the volume of fruit is not more than half the height of the pot, as it needs space while cooking.
Cook on high heat for a minute and then reduce to low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, till the sugar melts and the mixture begins to bubble (mine took just 5 minutes, but with larger volumes it could take upto 10 minutes).
Add the fresh mint leaves, finely minced, stir them into the fruit.
In about 5-7 minutes as you continue to cook the fruit on low heat (stirring frequently to prevent the fruit from sticking to the pan and getting scorched), you will see foam forming on the surface.
You will now get the lovely aroma of the fruit (and the mint!)
Remove the foam lightly with a metal spoon (I used a stainless spoon with a longish handle) and discard.
Its ok if you don't get rid of all the foam. Occasionally no foam may form. Thats okay too!
Cook, stirring off and on until the foaming has subsided - about 15 minutes or so.
Taste the jam. (Mine was quite sweet, so I had to add more lemon juice). Add a teaspoon full of the lemon juice, stir it in and taste again.
You want to get it right now - sweetness with a hint of tartness -just barely there. If its still only sweet, add a little more lemon juice (careful now, you don't want it all lemony). Stir well.
Cook the jam on low heat for another 10-15 minutes till the bubbles begin to reduce and the jam thickens at the sides of the pan. Keep stirring at the edges and the bottom - you don't want to jam to catch and scorch!
Once the jam thickens, take it off the heat. Its better to take the jam off the stove early and test for 'doneness'. Once the jam is overcooked, there is nothing you can do but if it is not yet done, you can always put it back on the stove again.
Now for the spoon test (see the link to the Serious eats post that I have given in the write up above the recipe).
Remove one of the spoons from the freezer. Drop a little jam on the spoon and set it back in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Take out the spoon, tilt it and check- if the jam moves slowly but does not run down the spoon, it is done. If it slides down fast and is runny, take the pot back on the heat and cook for a few minutes and then do the test again (don't forget to keep stirring, every time the pot is on the stove)
Once the jam passes the test and its ready, transfer when still hot to clean jars. Wipe the top of the jars with a clean tissue. Close the jars when the jam is cool.