I have a fig tree in my back yard. Most of you may think something along the lines of, “how cool is that!” or, “gee, I sure wish I had a fig tree in my backyard.” People, no. I hate that thing. It’s massive and overgrown. Did you know that 350 pound gorillas live in fig trees in the wild?? Imagine the kind of tree it would take to support that weight. And now imagine my small suburban side yard where it grows. Yeah. And honestly, I’m not even a fan of fresh figs. I regularly invite my friend Monica to come fill up a plastic sack with fresh figs in the summer. And the squirrels love our backyard, much to Charlie’s general annoyance.
But this year, I decided I might as well do something productive with my figs. I like fig jam, and since I’ve got free figs just hanging there, I picked a few late season ones for myself and stashed them in the freezer until the right time. In the back of my mind, I had a vague idea forming to do some kind of homemade something for my Favorite Things gift this year. For those of you who haven’t heard of the Oprah party, you really must read about it.
The recipe itself is very simple, requiring 3 cups of chopped figs, 2 cups of honey, and two tablespoons of lemon juice. That’s it! Boil in a medium pan and reduce heat, cooking for one hour. Because I left the skins on, I used my immersion blender for a bit, then added a cup of chopped walnuts. That part was the easy part. The intimidating part was then canning the jam using the water bath method. In the end, it wasn’t that bad! I followed the process outlined on the Fresh Preserving website.
The pressure was on at this point, because it’s important to work fast so the jam doesn’t cool too much. I had my fancy jar funnel and I ladled in the jam. After that, it is important to wipe down the rims of any excess because it can cause the jar to seal improperly. Then, plunk them into the processing water. Crank it up to a rolling boil and set the timer for ten minutes. Set them on a towel and don’t touch them! It’s easy to say, but hard to do! I had set my first jar down and not ten seconds later, there was a pop of the lid sealing. So cool!
I couldn’t resist – I toasted some bread and ate the remaining jam that wouldn’t fit in the jars. And I have to say, I’m looking forward to the next fig growing season a little bit more now.
* So, I was going to insert some really cute throwback 80’s lingo in here about jam, but apparently I’m old and it doesn’t mean what it used to… See this hilarious article by the 818.