February 7, 2022

Fig Season is Fleeting, Jam it While it Lasts

Raise your hand if you were one of those unique kids who loved Fig Newtons more than any other cookie on the cookie aisle when you were growing up. Or even if you’re still in love with them now. This one’s for you.

I was definitely that kid. Apparently I fell in love with them before I could even pronounce their name properly. My mom still claims that I’d ask for “Pig Nuke-ums” when the craving for the not-cookies-they’re-newtons hit.

Even with my early exposure to fig paste in cookie form, I don’t think I ate my first fresh fig until maybe five years ago. {GASP} I know! What was I waiting for?! I was a very picky eater once upon a time. Now I’m delighted while I eat juicy ripe figs and pop the tiny seeds between my teeth.

I love them classically slathered with goat or blue cheese and drizzled with honey or balsamic vinegar. I like them pressed into hot brie and ham sandwiches. Sliced on top of foie gras or chicken liver mousse is an incredibly indulgent treat. And I like buying a ton of them at their short peak and turning them into fig jam — which usually only lasts me until the end of the year. That peak is happening right now!

Fig jam is on the incredibly easy end of the jamming spectrum. It’s a thicker jam naturally and doesn’t require the use of any pectin. If you come across a great deal to buy up a couple of pounds in bulk, or discounted fruit that isn’t beautiful but ready and ripe — scoop them up for this jam!

This jam is a little lower in sugar than many other recipes out there. I find that it’s a more balanced flavor that really makes the figs the main event. With that said, sugar is a preservative and since there’s a little less of it in this recipe, it won’t sit for months on end, opened in your refrigerator. If you don’t think you’ll get to all of it within a month, consider long-term canning or freezing your jam.

While this jam is super easy, it will take about 45 minutes simmering low and slow on the stovetop. You won’t need to babysit it — giving it a nice stir every now and then will do. At the end of the cooking process, I hand blend the entire mix — although if you’d like to keep it a little chunkier, that’s perfectly fine as well!

Fig Season is Fleeting, Jam it While it Lasts

Figs are one of the highlights of autumn produce. This jam comes together quickly and is perfect for cheese, sandwiches, and even paired with meats.

  • 1 pound figs — rinsed, stemmed, and halved or quartered
  • 2 sprigs of thyme — picked leaves only
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 lemon — peel and juice
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 vanilla bean — split and seeds scraped in (optional)
  1. Prepare your figs and combine all of the ingredients into a heavy-bottomed pot (I use my enamel-coated cast iron pot to avoid scorching the jam).
  2. On medium-high heat, bring the figs to a boil — this usually only takes about 3 minutes. The ingredients should liquefy quickly. Once boiling, immediately reduce to medium-low or low to simmer. You don’t need to babysit the jam, but do give it a good stir every 10 minutes or so, mashing the figs a little more each time.
  3. After 40 minutes, remove the vanilla bean pod if using, and hand blend. Lemon peels and all (which should have softened and turned translucent.)
  4. The jam will be thick, but if you’d like to reduce it a little more, cook on low for about 5 more minutes stirring regularly with a rubber spatula. Taste the jam and correct as necessary (This is typically where I might add a little more vinegar or honey).
  5. Remove from the stove and can or store as you please. Yields about 1.5 to 2 cups.
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February 7, 2022
This is my favorite fig jam recipe!