Food, Recipes

Easy Fresh Fig Jam

South Carolina is ripe with fresh local figs in the month of July and August. If you haven’t tried a fig, or you just aren’t quite sure of what to do with them, there are recipes galore for cookies, breads, oatmeal bars…the sky is the limit for this tart, sweet fruit in terms of preparation.

One of my very favorite uses for figs when they are in season is, hands down, FIG JAM. If you haven’t had it, I will venture to say you are just plain missing out. Pairing fresh fig jam with a freshly baked baguette, good creamy goat cheese and a drizzle of fresh local honey on top is a can’t miss combo.

And, if you are a fan of the latest charcuterie board craze and find yourself assembling your own decorative platters, fig jam is a must have. It pairs well with a variety of cheeses, breads and crackers and offsets the sharpness of your stronger cheeses beautifully by providing just the perfect hint of sweetness.

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Image courtesy: Eating Bird Food.

If you haven’t yet tried your hand at this trend and are interested in learning to perfect your own boards for entertaining, be sure to reach out to local Board and Basket located in Main Street Shopping Center on HHI. They recently opened this beautiful new home base, and offer a variety of workshops on the art of charcuterie. They are seasoned pros at creating decorative displays and dreamy beach picnics.

As for the hunt for fresh figs, I was recently shopping in Lowcountry Fresh and found some beauties. This is admittedly one of my favorite local, specialty grocers here in Bluffton. I love it there so much because you can be certain that their local produce is indeed local and sourced responsibly to support small, local farmers and producers from our region. They currently have the most colorful, healthy figs stocked in their produce section that would be perfectly flavorful for this recipe.

Now, when I say make a jam, I know that most folks will immediately tune out. I get it, jams seem intimidating and complicated with boiling jars and juggling thermometers, but trust me. This recipe from Eating Bird Food is the perfect entry point, as it uses only a few organic ingredients and is a cinch to make and serve for company or just for a light summer dinner.

Be sure to scoop up some fresh figs now, while they are in season, and give this one a try. Grab a fresh loaf of bread, or make one if you are really ambitious! Be sure to get a really good, creamy goat cheese. Don’t skimp on the quality there, as the flavor is a centerpiece in this simple pairing. I also recommend a good local honey for the best flavor.

If you see T’s Bees of Savannah at the local HHI/Bluffton Farmer’s Markets, pick up a jar of their honey with the comb inside. It is chewy, sweet deliciousness that you won’t be able to do without once you try it for the first time. I was a skeptic and reluctantly tried a piece of the comb while at the Palmetto Bluff Farmer’s Market recently. I was instantly in love with the chew and rich sweetness. Mom was right that you really should try things at least once. You never know what will surprise and suit you!

T’s Bees product is amazing for cheese boards. The piece of comb is nestled in a bath of honey, so it will be a delicious and perfect mix of traditional liquid honey for drizzling, with the option of adding a bit of the chewy comb for texture.

As an added bonus, fresh local honey is also quite healthy and beneficial for the immune system and tampering allergies. The figs are also packed with nutritional benefits, as a good natural source of potassium, iron, beta-carotene and soluble/insoluble fiber.

Lowcountry Fresh is also a great one-stop shop for all of these ingredients. They have fresh baguettes baked daily and an absolutely superb cheese collection with options from many local creameries as well.

Now for the recipe so you can get to eating!

Easy Fresh Fig Jam

Kristen
A super simple, all-natural jam recipe, perfect for using up an abundance of fresh, ripe figs during the summer season. A fruit forward, delightfully chunky, sweet jam that pairs perfectly with tart cheeses and fresh local honey.
Photo and recipe courtesy: Eating Bird Food
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 1 medium/large saucepan
  • 1 large spoon
  • 1 pairing knife
  • Measuring Cups/Spoons
  • 1 small serving bowl or mason jar

Ingredients
  

  • fresh figs a fresh, farmer's bundle from the market will do
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup preferably organic maple
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract optional for added flavor
  • 3/4 cup water additional liquid to reduce the figs
  • fresh lemon juice about one small lemon, de-seeded

Instructions
 

  • Remove stems from fresh figs and cut into 1/2 inch pieces. You can leave the skins on, as they will add a natural pectin element to your jam.
  • Place cut figs into the saucepan and add in the syrup, lemon, water and the optional vanilla (if desired for little extra rich sweetness).
    (Alternative: You may substitute 1/4 cup of sugar & 1/4 cup maple syrup in place of the 1/2 cup maple syrup, if a sweeter outcome is desired.)
  • Give the mixture a stir with your spoon to coat the figs. Add high heat to bring to a boil.
  • Once the mixture reaches a boil, reduce the heat to a medium-low simmer, stirring occasionally until the figs are soft and a jam like consistency is reached. (about 20 minutes).
  • To test, the liquid should run off of your spoon in thick drops. If it is still too runny, simply return to the simmering heat for a few minutes to thicken until desired consistency is reached. (If you prefer a less chunky jam, you could also use an inversion blender here to macerate the figs a bit for a smoother jam.)
  • Spoon into serving dish or mason jar. Let cool and serve.