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Figs are my favorite fruit to use in savory preparations, especially jam– fig preserves are simply elegant with many different kinds of cheese, charcuterie, rustic breads and crisp crackers. A twist on the balsamic fig jam I’ve been making for years, this is almost purely intended to be part of a cheese plate, roasted turkey sandwich, decadent grilled cheese or something similar, though it wouldn’t ruin a good piece of toast. The rosemary is subtle but the preserved lemon is bright and strong, balancing the sweet, sweet figs nicely with saltiness and acidity. Here is the link for my method of making preserved lemons, and you can often buy them in the deli of a larger grocery store (the Whole Foods in my area has them) or in a specialty grocery with a good selection of ingredients for Middle Eastern or Northern African cuisine.

This recipe makes a very small batch, yielding just a little more than a pint. Though I will include instructions for water bath canning, when I make it again I will refrigerate and plan to use it up quickly, skipping the canning steps. In September, figs are still lovely in my neck of the woods and you can use any variety for this jam– grab a few pints of figs at the market this weekend and set yourself up for some posh snacking in the near future. You’ll want to grab some Brie, maybe Gruyere or Humboldt Fog, and a bit of prosciutto or pate, too– so you’re ready.

fig jam with rosemary & preserved lemon

Fig Jam with Rosemary & Preserved Lemon

  • 4 c. figs, washed, stemmed and diced
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 generous sprig of fresh rosemary
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 3 T. red wine vinegar
  • 3 T. minced preserved lemon (rind only)

If you like, you can start the process several hours (up to two days) before you want to cook your jam by mixing the figs and 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. I generally recommend taking the time to macerate your fruit with sugar before proceeding with a jam, but this recipe can be done with or without maceration.

When you’re ready to cook your jam, if you plan to can for shelf stability, start a water bath and sterilize your jars and lids. (I would use half-pint (8 oz.) or quarter-pint (4 oz.) jars.) Add all ingredients to a jam pan, Dutch oven or equivalent, making sure to scrape out any extra juice and sugar from the container if you macerated the figs. Stir to combine and bring to a rolling boil over high heat; continue stirring frequently to prevent scorching as the preserves boil down. When the jam has thickened enough to fall in sheets from the side of a spoon, it’s ready. 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. 

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully remove the rosemary sprig. It’s okay if some of the needles are left in the jam, but you don’t want the woody stem. If you’re canning, 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. 

If you choose not to can, ladle hot jam into a clean container and allow to cool slightly at room temperature before refrigerating. Tightly-covered, it should keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. Warm to room temperature before serving if you can.

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