I recently had the good fortune of being invited to pick figs from my old landlord’s tree in Davis. After a pleasant visit, I went home with a nice-sized box full of figs and a dilemma on my hands. I loved having all of these beautiful, sweet figs, but how was I going to use them all?

Black Mission Figs

To start, I sorted through them to pick out ones that were overly fermented from being too long on the tree, and I set about half of the fruit aside to give to my family. I saved the other half for my boyfriend and I, and I decided to turn the figs into jam. 

This was only my second time attempting fig jam. The other time was when I lived in the house with the fig tree a few years back. Then, as now, I wanted the simplest route to fig jam possible. The figs were honestly so soft and sweet that there was no need for added sugar or any kind of thickener. I looked at a couple of recipes, but I ultimately decided to try it my own way. 

I washed the approximately two pounds of figs I had kept for myself, and I cut the stem and any rough parts of the skin off the fruit. I did not peel the skin off all of the figs- just where the fruit had attained some damage. After that, I quartered the figs and added them to a non-stick saucepan over medium high heat. I wanted the figs to break down into a mostly liquid form and then to bring the liquid to a boil. I added the juice of half a lemon to help balance out the sweetness. I also helped the breaking down process by stirring and breaking big pieces up periodically with a wooden spoon.

Fig jam in progress

After bringing the figs up to a boil, I dropped the heat to medium low. Then I let it simmer uncovered, stirring periodically, for about one hour. 

Once I was satisfied with the consistency of the figs, I took them off the heat, and I let it cool. The first time I made this jam, I put it directly into jars after cooling. This time, I wanted the jam to have a smoother consistency, so I pureed the mixture in my food processor before storing it. The jam filled ¾ of a quart size jar. 

So far, I have used the jam for PB&J.

Fig jam PB&J

Figs also pair nicely with lamb.

Leg of lamb with Josh’s Fig Jam Dipping Sauce, mint mushy peas, baked potato with garden chives, and goat cheese

Josh’s Fig Jam Lamb Dipping Sauce

Roasting juices from 1 leg of lamb

½ cup fig jam

½ cup brandy

2-3 tbsp butter

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir constantly to combine and prevent burning. Cook about 2-3 minutes. Serve with lamb. 

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