Balsamic Fig Jam

I love Autumn. Fallen leaves. An abundance of just-picked, produce. Cool, misty mornings… What is there not to love? A few weeks ago we headed out to a local orchard and farm shop to take the kids fruit picking. While they ran around climbing on tractors and picking apples, I climbed on ladders trying to pick almost-ripe figs. We came home arms full of apples, figs, and pears to bake with and preserve. Ahhh the possibilities!

The Inspiration

A good couple of years ago I somehow concocted the most delicious fig preserve ever. It was freaking amazing! And as many good recipes go, I was too busy playing with ingredients and throwing in a bit of this (and a bit of that) with no clue I should write down EXACTLY what I put in that pot. And so my quest for the ultimate cheese plate fig preserve began. Every fig season I tinker away trying to nail that flavour that was so damn good. Not too sweet, not too savoury, but with a bit of sharpness! And if we’re really lucky, a happy accident occurs and I create something (fingers crossed) edible and delicious. And so I give you this year’s contestant… Balsamic Fig Jam!

What you need to get started…

  • Fresh, ripe figs. Stalks removed

  • Golden castor sugar. It’s my go-to sugar, however, you could totally use regular white sugar.

  • Lemon juice

  • Balsamic vinegar. Don’t use an expensive balsamic when it’s an ingredient you are cooking with. Save those ones for drizzling over salads.

The nitty gritty

  1. Roughly chop each fig into 6 pieces. 
  2. In a heavy-based saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat a little to simmer for 30-40 minutes stirring continuously to ensure none of the jam sticks to the pan.
  4. Skim any scum that comes to the surface.
  5. About halfway through cooking time, use a stainless steel masher to give the figs a good mash. 
  6. The jam is ready when it coats the back of a dessert spoon. If you can swipe your finger in a line over the back of the spoon and it leaves a clear line, then it’s good to go!
  7. Ladle jam into sterilized preserving jars.

Tips & Tricks

Knowing how to properly sterilize a preserving jar will save you from finding moldy jam jars in the pantry. I have written a post here to guide you through the process.

When removing scummy bits from the simmering jam, run either a soup spoon or small ladle around the inside of the pot, just skimming off any unwanted bits. You can skip this step, but it can taint the flavour, as well as make the jam appear cloudy.

Looking for a more sweet fig jam?

I have made this jam ideally for a cheeseboard accompaniment and was after that balance of sweet/savoury. If you want to make a more sweet-style, traditional fig jam, just reduce the amount of balsamic vinegar. Instead of 1/3 cup of balsamic, try 1/4 cup or less instead.

Fives ways to use balsamic fig jam

On toast. Because everyone should start the day with a good breakfast. Any what could be better than homemade fig jam slathered on buttered, toasted sourdough? A pot of tea too please!

On a cheeseboard. Add a good dollop to your next cheese plate. Match with a good sharp vintage cheddar (try Barbers 24month Vintage) or triple cream (try Jindi Triple Cream). Total Heaven.

With Scones… and lots of double cream! Enough said!

As a canape. On top of a sourdough crisp, smear some fig jam and crumble some fresh chevre goat’s cheese on top. Add some micro herbs to garnish and you have a really easy canape to serve at your next party.

Swirled through a vanilla cheesecake. I love adding different favours to a simple vanilla cheesecake. Add a few tablespoons of jam to your cheesecake center for flavour. Once your center is in the base and before chilling, dollop 5-7ish teaspoons of jam on top. Then run a skewer through the jam blobs into the cheesecake mixture to create swirls and patterns.

Love preserving? Here are a few more recipes you might like.

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Woman holding a jar of balsamic fig jam with both hands

Balsamic Fig Jam

  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 40
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: approx. 500ml
  • Category: Preserves
  • Method: Stovetop

Description

A sweet, yet a little savoury, versatile fig jam. A delicious accompaniment to a good sharp cheddar or triple cream on a cheeseboard.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 500g figs
  • 1 1/4 cups golden castor sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/3 c balsamic vinegar

Instructions

  1. Roughly chop each fig in 6 pieces. 
  2. In a heavy based saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
  3. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat a little to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
  4. While it’s cooking, skim any scum that comes to the surface.
  5. About half way through cooking time, use a stainless steel masher to give the figs a good mash. 
  6. The jam is ready when it coats the back of a dessert spoon. If you can swipe your finger in a line over the back of the spoon and it leaves a clear line, then it’s good to go!
  7. Ladle jam into sterilized preserving jars.

 


Keywords: Figs, Preserve, Balsamic

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