I wasn’t always a fan of figs — that is, until my grandmother invited me to pick figs from her tree one afternoon. I found them rather unappetizing with their veiny purple exteriors and mulchy, seed-filled insides. Until I took my first (reluctant) bite, I had no idea what I had been missing. Contrary to popular belief, figs are much tastier than they let on. If you pick or buy them at their prime season, they are sweet and delectable. Figs are a wonderful fruit because of their versatility. You can roast them with honey, top a salad with them, bake them into a tart or just eat them as is. One of my favorite ways to transform figs is by making spiced fig jam. I enjoy making homemade fig jam as opposed to buying from the store because it contains much less sugar and preservatives when made from scratch. Jams also make great gifts because of their long shelf life. This fall-time recipe can be made in bulk and only requires five easy ingredients.
Ingredients (yields approx. 16 oz. jam):
2 cups ripe chopped figs (black mission figs recommended)
¼ cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
½ tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsps. water
- Rinse figs with cold water and de-stem. Chop figs into fourths: once down the middle and then again. If you want your jam to have less fruit chunks, continue to chop them into smaller pieces. Measure 2 cups of chopped figs and place into a pot over the stove.
- Turn the heat to medium and add water. Let figs simmer until slightly softened, stirring often to avoid burning.
- Add brown sugar, lemon juice and cinnamon to pot. Stir until the ingredients dissolve and are incorporated. Keep on medium-high heat and continue to stir as everything comes to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover pot with a lid and let jam simmer for 30 minutes (or until it has reached a jam-like consistency). Be sure to stir and check your mixture frequently to avoid burning and clumping.
- Once it has reached a jam-like consistency and the figs have softened and caramelized, turn off the heat, let it sit for two minutes and transfer into glass jars.
If you’re feeling extra creative with this recipe, feel free to add more fall spices such as ginger, cloves, nutmeg or allspice, and experiment with what tastes best. The amount of brown sugar added can also be reduced or increased based on personal preference. Once opened, the jam will last for about one month or so in the fridge. If packed into airtight mason jars or containers, it can last for several months if the seal is not broken. This spiced fig jam pairs well with just about anything sweet or savory. Here are a few of my favorite pairings:
- Plain Yogurt + Granola + Spiced Fig Jam
- Cracker + Goat Cheese Spread + Spiced Fig Jam
- Oatmeal + Green Apples + Spiced Fig Jam
- Brie + Spiced Fig Jam + Walnut + Honey
Recipe adapted from foodal.com.