It’s fig season on my homestead and I’m harvesting these delights daily. Just like pears, I don’t really like figs fresh. The seeds are a bit too much for me, but I do love the flavor, and I find all kinds of ways to cook with them.
My tree is most likely a Mission fig. The fruit are a dark dark inky purple on the outside, sometimes blushed pink where it was hidden from the sun, and a pink or ruby on the inside. Even if I didn’t eat them, I’d be content with having the tree just for its ornamental value. My tree is ancient and is gnarled and bent and twisted. The branches are covered in lichen and grow up then bend back down to the ground, creating a secret garden under its boughs.
Every fall, I can count on a bountiful harvest from my tree. It produces a spring crop, but they drop before they are ripe. It makes up for it in the fall; come September, the dark tear drop shaped fruit line up and down the supple new growth of the season. I pick all that I can reach while standing from the ground, make a pass or two with the ladder, and then leave the ones on the top of the tree for the birds.
My absolute favorite way of taking advantage of the harvest is to make Cinnamon, Orange & Fig Jam. I love it with a sharp white cheddar and crackers, and I bet it would be great on a charcuterie board.
Figs spoil fast, and should ideally be eaten or processed the same day of harvest. I often don’t have time to deal with them right away, so I invoke the classic jam-maker’s procrastination skill: maceration. Simply combine the fruit with sugar and put in the fridge, and you’ve got at least another 2 days until they need more attention. This is a handy trick for any jam.
As mentioned in the recipe below, I blend mine with an immersion blender to get a smooth jam. I also don’t chop my figs evenly, as they will get all blended up. However, this step is totally optional. If you’d prefer a chunkier jam, you can forgo this step, or only partially. My recipe uses 12 cups of chopped figs, which is around 5 pounds of my figs, but it varies from season to season and the type of figs you use. This makes a semi-sweet jam, and if you don’t like as much sugar, feel free to reduce. The sugar helps set the jam, but it isn’t required for canning safety. However, it will shorten the shelf life once the jar is open.
If you’re new to canning, check out my Introduction to Home Canning ebook!
I hope you enjoy this, please let me know what you think!
- makes about 8 half pints
- 12 cups chopped ripe figs, ends removed
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- zest of 4 oranges
- 2 cups orange juice
- 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- Mix your chopped figs with the sugar in a large bowl. Let set for a few hours on the counter, or up to 2 days in the fridge, to macerate and get out all that figgy juice goodness.
- Add the figs and sugar mixture, plus any juice that was released, to a jam pan or large stockpot. Add the orange juice, orange zest, lemon juice and salt, stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and cook, stirring regularly, until figs are soft. If desired, use an immersion blender to blend until smooth.
- Cook until desired set point. I like a consistency that's not too runny, so I can spoon on cheese. I cook until I can barely see a line when I drag a spoon though it. To check your consistency, spoon a small amount on a chilled plate, then place in the freezer for a few minutes.
- Once the desired consistency has been achieved, stir in the cinnamon.
- Fill your sterilized jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace, and process in boiling water canner for 10 minutes.