Let's Make Some Fig Jam! Put your fall fig crop to good use and make some tasty fig jam for the holidays!
Fig jam is a sweet spread or preserve made from figs, a fruit that has been cultivated and consumed for thousands of years. It is created by cooking figs with sugar and sometimes other ingredients like lemon juice or spices until the mixture thickens into a spreadable consistency. Fig jam can be used as a condiment, a topping for bread or crackers, a filling for pastries, or as an accompaniment to various dishes, including cheese platters and roasted meats.
The history and origin of fig jam can be traced back to ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean region and the Middle East, where figs were among the earliest cultivated fruits. Here's a brief overview of the history and origin of fig jam:
Figs have a long history of cultivation dating back to at least 4,000 BCE in regions like Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean. These regions had ideal climates for fig cultivation, and the fruit became an important part of the local diet.
Early civilizations recognized the need to preserve figs to enjoy them beyond the short harvesting season. Drying figs was one of the earliest preservation methods, but eventually, people began experimenting with cooking figs with honey or sugar to create jams and preserves.
The ancient Greeks and Romans were known for their culinary sophistication and appreciation of figs. They used figs to make various dishes, including a precursor to fig jam. In ancient Rome, for instance, they made a sweet paste called "defrutum" or "sapa" by reducing grape juice, which could be similar to modern jam-making techniques.
Fig cultivation and fig-based products, including fig jams and preserves, continued to be popular in the Middle East throughout history. Various Middle Eastern cuisines incorporated figs in both sweet and savory dishes.
With the expansion of trade and exploration, figs and fig products, including fig jam, spread to Europe during the Middle Ages. European monasteries played a significant role in the cultivation and preservation of figs and other fruits.
Fig jam production became more widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries with the development of modern canning and preserving techniques. This allowed fig jam to become a popular household staple.
Today, fig jam is enjoyed worldwide and is made in various ways, with regional variations in ingredients and flavors. Its rich history and cultural significance make it a versatile and beloved addition to many cuisines.
Here is a simple way to use a bunch of your figs in a lovely jam that you can use for the next several months.
2 pounds figs(Here we used Black Mission) Stemmed & Quartered
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup lemon Juice
1/4 cup Water
1 - 4" strip of lemon Rind
1 - 4" sprig of Thyme.
1 - 4" sprig of Rosemary.
In a saucepan, lightly caramelize figs with sugar, honey and cook at medium-low for about 20 minutes.
Once caramelized, add in Vanilla Extract, Lemon Juice, Water, Rind and your optional ingredients to the pot. Bring your pot to a simmer and cook for another 20 minutes stirring frequently.
At this point, you will want to remove the rind and optional ingredients. Here I also took the extra step of immersion blending and reducing further to my desired consistency.
Now you are ready to can the jam which should fit into a couple of pint jars. As is, you can keep the jars in the fridge for up to 3 months or you can pressure-cook the jam to last up to 6 months.
Spread this tasty jam on toasts, enjoy with yogurts, cakes, or even ice cream to add an extra bit of flavor from your garden.
Check out Growing Figs for more information!
Author: Israel Osuna