Working with Summer’s Fig Bounty
This past week I was fortunate enough (and by fortunate I mean I was through the roof excited) to meet a new neighbor with her own fig and peach trees. Here in the city that is quite the friend to come across! (She’s also 65, makes her own fig, peach and grape wines, as well as all her own cheeses and preserves: she’s someone that I aspire to be.) I stopped by her house after work and loaded up. I don’t think that will be the only time I’m making a fig run this summer — her tree was producing lots and not stopping anytime soon.
I came home, proudly parading a basket of gorgeous, giant, green figs down H Street while dreaming of my future fig jam and goat cheese snacks. I ate some, dehydrated some, then jammed some. Tuesday was good.
Balsamic Fig Jam
This is a pretty basic recipe that I whipped up quickly with things I had around the house. Next time I’ll plan to be a bit more creative. Also, the figs that I harvested were much bigger than most figs I usually see; I would say they weighed roughly 1.5 pounds.
- 1.5 pounds figs, washed, dried, stems removed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
- Juice of one lemon
Place the chopped figs, sugar and balsamic vinegar in large pot. Bring to a boil, stirring every so often. Bring to a low simmer, partially covered for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly (I added a bit more sugar as I went along) and add lemon juice. Continue to cook until it reaches a thick consistency. Here you can choose to blend it to make a smooth consistency, but I kept my whole because I prefer chunkier jams.
I didn’t add any pectin to my jam, which is used to keep the jam together. To test whether your jam will gel or not, you can spread a bit on a plate, allow to cool and see if it gels. If it doesn’t, continue to cook for a bit longer. Mine didn’t gel completely, and I had to run out of the house, but I liked the taste and will still happily use it as a spread or a chutney.
As for canning, I let this cool and then threw it in the fridge in a plastic container. It should keep for a few weeks, and since I knew I would be eating it soon, there wasn’t a need to can it. As more figs come in, however, I’m sure there will be.