Fresh Fig Jam
So yesterday our next-door neighbor presented us with a lovely surprise: fresh-picked figs from her tree. What to do…what to do? So I perused the Internet to see what could be done with beautiful, overripe figs. and you know what? Turns out there are too many recipes to choose from. So I took the dilemma to the family, to ask what they might like to see done with fresh figs, and here’s what I came up with: fig jam.
I haven’t had much to do with figs in forty years, when I had my own fig tree growing beside our house. Of course, there are always Fig Newtons, but why try to emulate them, since it’s almost impossible to improve on the ones I can get at the grocery store.
But jam? What an intriguing idea. I like jam. We enjoy the occasional English muffin with a fresh-made jam and a cup of tea–so very English, you know.
So here’s what I’m doing:
1 whole lemon
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons espresso balsamic vinegar
4 sprigs freshly cut thyme
1 pound very ripe figs
With a vegetable peeler, carefully take the outer layer of lemon peel off the lemon with as little of the white pith as possible. Toss the lemon into a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot. Add the remaining ingredients except the figs to the pot and mix well, until the sugar dissolves. Stem the figs and cut them into quarters, and add them to the pot, mixing again.
Bring the ingredients to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally; reduce the heat to low to medium-low, so that it continues to simmer gently. Stir occasionally, to prevent the jam from burning for 40 to 50 minutes, depending on how thick you want the final product. Remove the lemon peel and the thyme sprigs from the pot and discard. Mash the solids or whizz them with an immersion blender until the pieces are small.
Pour the jam into sterilized half-pint jars—you should get about two—and allow them to cool to room temperature. Place in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about a month. Alternatively, it can be canned and processed in a water bath for 10 minutes. Use normal water-bath canning procedures to do so, leaving ¼ inch of head space before setting the lids. This recipe can be doubled or tripled, but no more.