We have a huge fig tree next to our garage. Since this is our first summer living here, I was excited to get my hands on those figs once they were ripe. Last summer, when we were remodeling this house, I wandered out to the fig tree a couple times, lured in by the sweet smell. I did pick a handful one time and used them to make fig and Vidalia onion chicken breasts for dinner one night, but other than that I just didn’t do much with them.
Last weekend, I wandered out to the fig tree and was delighted to see that there were many ripe ones just waiting to be picked. Sadly, I noticed that there were also lots and lots of half-eaten and completely eaten figs. Apparently the squirrels and deer that frequent our backyard are feasting very well on them! Additionally, the tree is so tall, that many of the figs are entirely out of my reach. Once those start ripening, I may have to drag a ladder out there to retrieve them.
I ended up with just about a pound of figs. I washed them, removed the stems, and quartered them, the searched online for a good sounding fig jam recipe. I landed at this Small Batch Fig Jam recipe on A Family Feast blog. I cooked it for a good 50 minutes because I wanted it nice and thick. It made exactly one small jar of jam, which is perfect. And since it was such a small amount, I did not process it, however if you most certainly can adjust the recipe to make more and use sterilized jars and a water bath to preserve them. It’s delicious on plain toast, with goat cheese, on a charcuterie board, or on ricotta toast. I plan on using some to top chicken again one of these days as well.
Hopefully the squirrels don’t eat all of figs – there’s a lot of green ones out there that should be ready in the coming weeks and I’d love to make a fig and prosciutto pizza with them!
Small Batch Fig Jam
1 pound figs, quartered and stems removed
1 lemon (you’ll use the rind as well as the juice)
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Using a vegetable peeler, slice off about 4 nice strips of lemon peel, careful not to get the white pith. Place the figs, the lemon peel, sugar, honey and thyme sprigs in a sauce pan. Pour about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice over the ingredients, and stir to combine. Bring it to a low boil over medium heat, stirring continually to ensure the sugar dissolves and the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring it every 5 minutes to make sure it’s not burning. Once the sauce is thick, remove it from the heat and carefully remove the lemon rinds and thyme. Allow it to come to room temperature, then pour into a small food processor and puree it until it’s of a nice, spreadable consistency. (I use a Cuisinart Mini Prep – it’s awesome for small jobs!)
Spoon into a jar and store in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks.