I have such strong feelings about fig jam. I mix a spoonful (okay, two) of fig-cardamom-rosewater jam or plain fig preserves into my breakfast oatmeal or yogurt nearly every day of the winter months. I adore my recipe for balsamic fig jam, my go-to hostess gift and one of the very first recipes I shared with you here. Those three preserves are such standards in my kitchen, I never think of experimenting with figs like I do with other fruit. Until this summer– I’ve tried two new recipes just this month and I think both may be worth sharing.
First, let’s talk about fig & orange jam. The combination of figs and oranges is classic; the sweetness of figs is tempered nicely by the acidity of citrus fruit, especially lemons and oranges, and this jam highlights just how wonderful that duo can be. To open a jar is to step into a fragrant orange cloud; I love that the orange scent and flavor is not lost in the sugary preserves. The jam even takes on a nice golden hue. Though intended to be sweet, it holds its own with savory pairings of cheese (gorgonzola is to die for) and roast pork, and I imagine it will be very good with duck, should I get the chance to use them together. My recipe was inspired by a marmalade, but I chose to leave out the rind and go the route of jam– I was worried that the bitterness characteristic of marmalade would overpower the delicate floral flavor of my figs. I think I made the right choice. The fig flavor here reminds me of a perfectly ripe cantaloupe and is absolutely put in the spotlight by the orange. I can’t say enough good things. If you’re looking for a fig jam that’s a little different, a little special, this might be it. How exciting to have a third fig treat to add to my winter breakfast rotation.
Fig & Orange Jam (adapted from Susan Can Cook)
- 6 c. fresh figs, both ends removed, diced (I use Desert Kings)
- 3 c. sugar
- juice and zest of 4 organic oranges
- juice of half a lemon
- pinch of salt
Start the process several hours, and up to two days, before you want to cook your jam by mixing the figs and 1 c. sugar in a large bowl to macerate. This mixture can be covered loosely and left on the counter for a few hours, or refrigerated for up to 2 days.
When you’re ready to cook your jam, start a water bath and sterilize your jars and lids. Into a jam pan, Dutch oven or equivalent, add the figs, any extra juice and sugar from macerating, the remaining 2 c. sugar, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and salt; stir to combine. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat; cook, stirring to prevent scorching, until the preserves boil down and thicken. I prefer a looser set, like a thick applesauce, so I stop cooking mine when the jam thickens enough to fall in sheets from the side of a spoon. You can also tell the jam is a good consistency when you run your spoon in a line over the bottom of the pan and the “hole” you create fills in slowly.
When you reach your desired set point, remove the pan from the heat. I like to leave some chunks of fig; you can (carefully) blend with an immersion blender if you’d like a smooth consistency. Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized jars; wipe the rims of each jar carefully and affix the lids. Process the jars in a water bath for 10 mins.; remove to a clear, towel-lined counter and allow to sit untouched overnight. Check that each jar is sealed; refrigerate unsealed jars immediately. Properly sealed jars will keep in a cool, dark cupboard for up to a year.