I have not made as much jam this year as last year – mostly because I still have lots of jam left from last year.
But when an offer to come over and pick ripe Brown Turkey figs came recently, I had no choice but make fig jam. The figs were really ripe and soft and were not going to keep.
Figs are naturally very sweet, so I don’t use quite as much sugar as other jams. They are, however, one of the few fruits not acid enough to can using a boiling water-bath method without acidifying first (elderberries are another such). So I always use lots of lemon – and wine also adds some acidity.
So yes, it is sweet, but it still works quite nicely with cheese or cold meat.
But I am going to have to be careful: last year, I made a lot of fig jam. Or so I thought … so was handing jars left and right for the holidays… until I realized – way too late in January – that I had given them ALL away! I maybe fig-jam selfish this year!
Fig Jam With Lemon & Sweet Wine
1.5 to 2 pound ripe figs (1.5 kg)
1 large organic juicy lemon, sliced very thinly (about 150 g – 5 oz)
About 6 cups sugar +/-, preferably demara ( +/- 1.2 kg)
1/2 vanilla bean
2/3 cup floral white wine or sweet white wine (175 ml)
1/4 c fresh lemon juice (60 ml)
Remove stem from figs and trim away any bad spot. Quarter figs (or chop if they are large – Brown Turkey which is what I used are small). Weigh them along with the lemon. Weigh an amount of sugar equal to 70% of the weight of the figs and lemons. This is easier to do in grams. I had 1,440 g of trimmed fig and 150 g of lemon for a total of 1,590 g of fruit. 70% of which is 1,113 g. I rounded up to 1,200 g (to account for the wine) or 6 cups of sugar.
Layer the fig/lemon mixture with the sugar in a in a thick bottom non-reactive pan (like a Le Creuset). Add the vanilla bean, split lengthwise; scrape the seeds with the tip of a knife and add them to the mixture too. Pour the wine over. Let rest overnight (in the fridge if you like).
Slowly bring to a gentle boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar at the bottom. Add lemon juice. Carefully mash some of the fig pieces. Boil for about 10 minutes, stirring almost constantly to avoid scorching.
Lower heat to low-medium and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the liquid is syrupy. Do stir often and thoroughly – especially towards the end: it is remarkably easy to scorch jam and impart a detestable burn flavor to it (not to mention a royal pain to clean the pan). It may take longer depending on your burner and your figs – and how set you want the jam to be. But remember that this jam is a little loose – it will not jell solid like a commercial jam. Also, as the jam cools it will solidify. SO act accordingly.
While the jam is cooking, prepare your jam jars, lids, rings and your canner
When the jam is reduced to your liking, laddle it into the hot clean jam jars and process in a boiling water-bath for 15 minutes.
Locavore: figs from a friend’s garden