Sunday, September 19, 2010

Jammin! Go fig-ure.

Fresh fig jam
I've often thought how fun it would be to make jam.
  1. the choices and combinations are endless;
  2. i love the idea of using fresh fruits (especially summer fruits) and enjoying them all year long; 
  3. how wonderful to make something delicious, made with love and enjoy it for weeks or months to come; and
  4. probably my favorite reason -- those cute hats and bows that you can do to decorate the jars!
Sweet and delicious mission figs
 So a few weeks ago i decided i would make a fig jam since i so love figs and they're in season right now. I kept thinking a fig jam with balsamic vinegar and vanilla would be good. Although it has no vanilla, i was leaning towards Thomas Keller's recipe in ad hoc at home.  In fact, last week i was in the Santa Ynez Valley and found a fun little olive oil and vinegar store.  The store was darling - about the size of my kitchen (tiny) and you could sample the various vinegars.  I immediately saw a balsamic with vanilla and fig and had to try it.  YUMM!  This was the best.  It was also aged 18 years so it was nice and thick.  This over ice cream or grilled stone fruits would be wonderful.  Or even on a piece of french bread.   And if you still haven't figured out how much i enjoyed it, let me tell you that straight from the little tasting cup was perfect for me.  The deliciousness of this vinegar confirmed that i had to make a vanilla balsamic fig jam. 

Other than adding a vanilla bean, i stayed pretty true to Thomas Keller's recipe from Ad Hoc at Home. Let me tell you, this jam came out absolutely DELICIOUS!!! It would be wonderful with goat cheese, on a slice of toast, or just a spoonful out of the jar.  Perhaps even on a piece of turkey.

Figs and company macerating before turning on the heat.
And i had a lot of fun with the fabric and the bows.  I'm really looking forward to giving my mother a jar.  She's the ultimate fig lover, and taught me, whether a fig newton or a fresh fig, they're all pretty delicious!

Ingredients -
  • 2 pounds of fresh figs (i used mission figs)
  • 1 lemon (both zest and juice)
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1-1/2 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of black peppercorns tied in a sachet
Mix all ingredients in a large pot and put on medium-high heat on the stove.
After the mixture comes to a rolling boil, turn the burner down and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the consistency is syrupy.
Remove from the heat use an immersion blender to chop up any large chunks, then pour into sterilized jam jars.
That's it for the cooking... now you get to find cute ribbons and fabrics and go to town.

I'm looking forward to making more jams.  In fact, next on the list is a blackberry bourbon jam that Laurence's name on it!


  1. I once was starting a jam company called Diablo Farms, Pepper jelly, Chutney, pickled carrots and beans, I used all farm fresh product. I baked all day it was fun.

  2. Karen, i can't wait to hear more about your jam company. It sounds so fun!

  3. Figs are a #1 favorite of mine. I love the burst of seeds in my mouth. I used the jam on ice cream and it was delicious. Thanks for a real treat. I love it!

  4. I'd love a gift like this, figs are the best, your jam looks wonderful!

  5. Rhonda, i'm glad you love it. I enjoy making these jams. It's so much fun.

    Marie, figs are delicious on anything! I wonder if you can freeze them so that you can use them in mid-late fall.

  6. Hi there

    Just wanted to show my appreciation for your time and hard work

  7. Yum, this sounds great. I wish I could get some fresh figs.