Friday, September 19, 2014

Fig & Balsamic Jam

We have a few fig trees in our new yard here.  They were ripe when we moved in (over a month ago!) but we were so busy we didn't do much with them, except eat a few (two of our sons love fresh figs).  There were so many they couldn't keep up, though, and sadly, a lot of them rotted on the tree. Then, a friend who also lives in Italy posted on Facebook that she made some fig jam with her neighbor's figs, and I thought it would be a shame to let all of mine go to waste. So she inspired me to make jam the very next day.  I hope I'm not posting this too late; this was made about 2 weeks ago, and I think the fig season is over now, here, at least. Hopefully somebody can still use this recipe.  :)  
I was going to make the same recipe my friend posted, but I didn't have enough fresh lemon juice on hand.  So I had the idea to search for a Balsamic Vinegar jam recipe and was happy to find this one! It smelled pretty "earthy" when it was boiling away, but it tastes awesome; not earthy, and not even vinegary; it's nice and sweet.  The Balsamic adds a really nice flavor.  I also added a few cinnamon sticks to the mixture.

This jam is really good on bread, but I also want to try it paired with different cheeses.  Fig jam always reminds me of fall.  :)  My 3-year old absolutely LOVES this jam.
Fig & Balsamic Jam
adapted from Food

2 lbs fresh figs, (any variety) stems removed and coarsely chopped (do not peel)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (use a good-quality sweet balsamic)
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Combine the figs, sugar, balsamic vinegar, and a cinnamon sticks in a large saucepan and attach a candy thermometer to the pan (optional). Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook, stirring to break up the large pieces of fig, until the jam reaches 220 degrees F. Remove from the heat. (I just cooked until about 215, because it was super thick already.  I would just cook to whatever consistency you like in jam.  At 215, the jam is not runny at all.)   At this point, you can choose to puree with a stick blender or leave chunky.  I made this 8/2015 and pureed it and I really, really prefer the smooth, pureed version.

2.  Remove the cinnamon sticks and stir in the lemon juice to taste. Spoon the jam into a canning jar or other storage container, cover, and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 1 month. (Store in the freezer for longer, probably up to one year.)
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