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Mission Fig Jam

Fig season is one of my favorite times of year. It reminds me that the Fall season is soon on its way, that the intensity of the summer heat is over {usually} and it’s almost time to wrap myself up in a comfy sweater and curl up with a good book food magazine. It’s not dark very early or very late; it’s not slushy and freezing outside; it’s simply perfect.

gorgeous fig jam in jar

Mission Fig Jam 

A couple of Fridays ago I invited a close friend over for dinner and my neighbor also came by right around the same time, each one bringing the gift of fresh produce, both of which contained beautiful fresh figs.

figs in mediterranean store

Mission Figs at a Mediterranean grocery store near Cleveland, Ohio

My dear friend lives nearby and knows how excited I get over her garden fruits. Among many other things, she has a fig tree in her Chicago backyard. Her Sicilian family bends and buries the tree every winter and brings it out to bear fruit at the first chance possible- very dedicated to keeping Mediterranean fruits close to home!  It’s so amazing how flexible and strong fig trees are. Who knew they could successfully grow and bear fruit in the Midwest?

neighbor basket

Neighborly Love Fall Produce and Flower Gift Basket

My neighbor surprised us with this lovely basket {Instagram photo above}, just because. There wasn’t a special reason; she just wanted us to know how glad she was that we had become friends and were there for one another in so many difficult situations. She even added a $100 gift certificate to a local grocery store.  Who does that anymore?  I was so touched by both of these incredibly generous and thoughtful gifts that I became overwhelmed with the thought of how exactly I would be able to repay them. The laughter, smiles, positive energy of just being around people who care enough to visit you and give of themselves is something you can’t put a price on. I felt so rewarded and enriched that night…so much so that we ate all the backyard garden figs without taking one photo of their brilliant pink flesh. Shame on me.

fresh figs

The basket of figs above was saved for jam. I knew instantly that I wanted to make a quick jam or preserve since fig jam isn’t the easiest to find and typically it’s a little too sweet for my taste when I find it at stores. I simply love the taste of figs and want to actually taste them, not the sugar.  Here are the steps I took to make the jam and it’s so easy you should go out and get a basket right now to make this. If you wait too long, the season might be over…

boil the figs

First the figs have to be boiled in some water. I’m not sure why, but the jam does taste better this way; I’ve done it before without boiling them first and even though the outer skin isn’t too tough, it is so much better to break it down by boiling first. You could also chop the first, but I didn’t do that.

boiling the figs

This (above) is what they look like after they’ve boiled long enough to break down just enough, about 5 minutes.

softened cut figs

Instead of chopping ahead of time like I mentioned, I chopped them after they were boiled and cooled, which is why they look a bit mushy here but it wasn’t a messy job. That surprised me.

boil the figs down

Next I put them back in the pan with fresh water and add some lime juice. You can use lemon juice instead; I just didn’t have it at the time. I also added sugar.

add the lemon juice

Now you can watch the color change to a deeper red, it’s so beautiful.

figs cooked down

And it’s even deeper red over time.  You can also crush or chop the figs {just use kitchen shears} if you don’t like them in such large pieces.

figs cooked after a while

After about 40 minutes (eyeball it), you’ll see the texture change to become thicker and just like the jams you find at farmers markets and fancy gourmet shops. But it’s yours.

fig jam pan

All yours.

inside jar of fig jam

For much less.

fig jam vertical

But feels like so much more…

Fig Jam on Plate

Is this something you would share with a neighbor?

Mission Fig Jam

Please note- this is not a recipe for a long-term jam preserve. This is a quick recipe to make a jam that stores in the refrigerator and should be consumed within one to one and a half weeks. 

Makes 1 Jar

Special Equipment

glass jar with tight-fitting lid

Ingredients

1 pound fresh Mission figs

4 cups water

1/2 fresh lemon or lime

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

Directions

Boil water in a deep bottom sauce pan that will just about cover the amount of figs you have on hand.

Remove the stems of the figs. You can proceed to chop them now or after they are boiled.

Add the figs to the water and boil for five minutes.

Remove the figs and discard the water. Let the figs cool and chop according to the size you’d like them to be in the finished jam.

Bring four cups of water to boil in the same saucepan you previously used.  Add the figs, lemon or lime juice, plus the sugar. Quickly reduce to a simmer and stir occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the jam thickens and remains at the desired texture for several minutes.

Immediately transfer the jam to a glass jar or container. If you leave it in the sauce pan, it will stick and be more difficult to remove.

Let cool before closing with a tight-fitting lid. Store in the refrigerator, which keeps for about 1-1/2 weeks nicely.

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4 comments

  1. So blown away with this one….Thank you for this wonderful fig jam recipe & the beautiful writeup which makes the figs even tastier.I have always wanted to learn how to make jams/preserves since I have heard so much about them here…you introduced me to the concept of fall preserves:) Thank you for always keeping us motivated with your wonderful recipes, this will be my first , very own preserve in my life:)God bless you & the lovely friend who gifted you that basket of love,now its contagious:)).

  2. Assalaamu’alaykum Yvonne! Your fig jam recipe looks sooo professional and delicious (if you just showed me the jam in a labelled jar, I’d swear it was a gourmet jam!). I have two questions about the jam, though: 1) If you wanted to make this jam into a halaal long-term preserve, how would you do so? and 2) What kind of food items/flavours would this jam go well with? Would you be able to use it to marinate meats?
    JazaakAllah :) ~

  3. @Maya- thank you so much for your beautiful comment. I will pass along your kind words to my neighbor, too :)

  4. @Naheer- wa’alaikum as salaam- thank you! Maybe we should bottle it? :) To answer your questions, 1) to preserve it long term you would have to sterilize the jars and make sure the seals were properly tightened, which is essence canning. Try this website for more details: http://www.freshpreserving.com/home.aspx 2) I would use this jam with sweet breads like brioche or even a coffee cake or multi-grain bread- something earthy/rustic/natural; It’s such a Mediterranean-inspired recipe that I would pair it with something that speaks to that region, too, like a mascarpone cheese or creme fraiche (think Provence and Sicily!). I would not use it to marinate meats, as this is a very sweet condiment, not one that is acidic enough to actually marinate anything.

    I hope that has helped!

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