Bum. Bum. Bum. Bum. Bumpabum bum bum.
Jam on it. (Yeah yeah, we know, we know)
Like many of you, my first encounter with figs was of the packaged elf-made snack food variety. And like some (and I’m guessing fewer) of you, my first encounter with JAM was the aforementioned 1983 NYC electrofunk classic.
See, in Louisiana we were always about JELLY.
About the jam, I mean.
But I’m serious about the figs.
And how could you not be. Just look at these gorgeous babies!
Dearest reader, have you ever had one of those experiences where, after eating something processed for a long time, like, say, Fig Newtons, you finally find out what the actual ingredient you love looks like in its natural state? I had one of these with figs. It was probably about two years ago when we bought a house that came with 5 big fig trees that I really discovered fresh figs in a meaningful way. Now we eat a lot of figs, which are so amazingly delicious and sweet, especially when they’re perfectly ripe and warmed by the sun. I’d eat them right off of the tree if it weren’t for one little detail.
When the figs are happening (like they are now), the critters come out in force. Raccoons in particular love figs as much as we do. And I don’t care if they do wash their little hands before they eat, any raccoon-fondled fig is a fig that gets thoroughly washed in my book.
But enough about Raccoon fig-raiding mafia.
Let’s talk about fig jam.
My wife’s the jam master at our house, and she makes as many jars as possible during this brief 2-3 week period of fig heaven that we have about this time every year.
Here’s what she does:
2 lbs of fresh figs
1.5 cups of sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
Here’s how she does it:
Wash all the figs and cut them into halves, or 1/2-inch pieces depending on the size of your figs. Put them in a pot and cover with sugar. Mix it up good with a wooden spoon. Let them sit until all the figs’ juice have been released – approximately 3 hours. The idea is to make the jam without adding any water. Next, add the lemon juice and bring to a boil.
Simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the liquid becomes a little “gooey” (that’s a technical term). Then, prep your canning supplies (which are jars, by the way, but apparently it’s still called “canning”). Fill the jars with 1/4 inch of space let at the top of the jar.
From there, just follow the canning instructions, which for food safety and liability reasons, I’d rather you get straight from the experts.
The fig jam is delicious. My favorite use is as a condiment for a nice cheese plate. It goes great with everything from manchego to brie to fresh feta. It’s a perfect compliment to anything that you’d otherwise pair with honey. Then there’s always the breakfast toast, or even better, buttermilk biscuit. Mmmmmmm. Buttermilk biscuit.
Oh, and it makes a lovely gift.
- Shawn Traylor, Farmbox Blog