We have an overabundance of fresh figs. I mean a serious overabundance.
A bunch of you are probably wondering how I could ever think of that as a problem, but, really, I don’t even like figs. I’m not big on the flavor, and the seeds just weird me out. Let’s not even talk about their shape and what they resemble… I’ll just eat other fruits, thanks.
But when you have a giant fig tree in your backyard that produces infinitely throughout the summer, well, you gotta find something to do with them. So I give them away (I’m considering selling them, due to the fact that I saw them at the farmers market this weekend for four dollars a pound!), feed a few to the dog, and then give up when the tree is about to fall over with the weight of its ripe fruit and make jam.
The funny thing? The jam is actually pretty good. It’s still too figgy for me, but I know some fig-loving people who adore the stuff. And when combined with a bunch of peanut butter and smashed between some bread, it’s actually kinda good. In a weird I-don’t-even-like-this-stuff kind of way.
I somehow keep finding myself sticking the spoon back in the jar for just a little more. And the best part is that the seeds aren’t so noticeable and there is no off-putting shape! So that takes care of those two problems right there.
A lot of people are scared of making jam because of the need to “can” it, putting it in special jars with special lids and boiling them until you’re sure everything that might hurt you is dead, so that you can stick it in the back of your pantry and eat your carefully prepped and preserved harvest a year later without getting sick.
Sounds fun, right?
The truth is, I really do like making jam – when I can afford pounds of fruit and if AJ doesn’t get to it first (the guy really likes his fruit). But, there are easier ways!
If you just make a small batch of jam, then stick it right into the fridge, you skip the need for all of that the fancy equipment and don’t end up with enough jam to last you eons. Someday you’ll end up wanting to do the whole shebang, but this here recipe is good enough to get you started.
SO! If you are of the fig-loving variety, I wholly recommend you make this. I made it last year and gave it away as gifts to a few people who I knew loved figs. Each one raved about it, so I feel pretty confident about putting this recipe on here, even though figs aren’t really my kind of thing.
So get to makin’ this jam – even if you don’t really like figs – because you’re going to love what’s coming! In addition to sweet preparations, it’s also delicious in sweet and savory combinations, and it makes a tasty addition to a meat and cheese platter.Print
- Pull the stems off the figs, then puree them in a food processor until mostly smooth (a few chunks are okay to give it some texture).
- Transfer the fig paste to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed (but not cast iron) pot. Stir in the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium.
- Boil, stirring nearly constantly, until it becomes jam-like in consistency. At this point it’ll look kind of shiny and will fall off a spoon in bigger clumps or sheets, as opposed to small drips. If you are unsure, turn off the heat and place a bit of the jam on a cold plate (stuck in the freezer before you begin), let it sit for a minute or so, then check the consistency to see if it is jam-like. If needed, return to the heat for a few more minutes.
- Once it is finished cooking, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Carefully transfer the jam to a clean jar. Screw the lid on a bit, but don’t tighten it. Let it cool for an hour or so, then transfer to the fridge (still with a semi-loose lid). After it has cooled completely you can tighten the lid – it just gets stick if you tighten it while hot. Store in the refrigerator.
Do not tighten the lid and store at room temperature. The jam at this stage has not been sterilized and is meant only to be stored in the refrigerator – this is a quick jam, not a true canning recipe.
You could most likely go ahead and can this if you wish, but I have not tried it with this exact recipe, and therefore make no promises. The proportions of ingredients may need to be altered, and the batch is small.
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Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 25th, 2014. Last updated: June 8, 2018 at 19:33 pm.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Raquel Smith
Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now being merged into Foodal).