I love this time of year. Autumn fallen leaves. An abundance of just-picked, produce. Cool, misty mornings… What is there not to love? We headed out to a local orchard and farm shop a few weeks ago to take the kids fruit picking. While they ran around climbing on tractors and picking apples, I scaled the odd fig tree and climbed on ladders trying to pick almost-ripe fresh figs. We came home arms full of apples, figs, and pears to bake with and preserve.
While pondering the possibilities, this balsamic fig jam came to mind. A version that I had made a previous fig season. While it’s a delicious smothered over toasted sourdough, it really comes alive as a perfect partner to a creamy goat cheese.
A good couple of years ago I somehow concocted the most delicious homemade fig jam 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 of homemade jam. And so my quest for the ultimate cheese plate fig preserve began.
Every fig season I tinker away trying to nail that flavor that was so damn good. Not too sweet, not too savory, but with a bit of sharpness! And if we’re lucky, a happy accident occurs and I create something edible and delicious (fingers crossed). And so I give you this year’s contestant… Balsamic Fig Jam! While Fig Jam is good. The additional dimension of adding dreamy balsamic vinegar makes it one of my favorite preserves.
What you need to get started…
- Fresh, ripe figs. Stalks removed
- Golden castor sugar. It’s my go-to sugar, however, you could use regular white sugar.
- Lemon juice
- Balsamic vinegar. Don’t use an expensive, aged balsamic vinegar when it’s an ingredient you are cooking with. Save those ones for drizzling over salads. An inexpensive, bold balsamic vinegar suitable for cooking is what you need.
The nitty gritty
- Wash the figs and dry with paper towel. Roughly chop each fig into 6 pieces. If you don’t like chunky fig jam, you can always pop your figs in a food processor before jamming begins to cut them up into smaller pieces.
- In a heavy-based, large pot, combine all the ingredients.
- On a medium-high heat, 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.
- Skim any scum that comes to the surface of the fruit and sugar mixture.
- About halfway through cooking time, use a stainless steel masher to give the figs a good mash.
- 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! The consistency of the jam should not be runny, but a little thickened and gloopy.
- Ladle jam into sterilized preserving jars.
Do I need to use pectin?
No you don’t. While figs have very little natural pectin, amazingly you don’t need pectin to thicken fig jam.
How long does fig jam last?
If properly preserved, I have had fig jam last a couple of years in my pantry. If you just store it in a container in the fridge, it will last about a month. Once a jar of jam has been opened, it should be stored in the fridge.
Do I need to use fresh figs?
For this recipe, I have only used fresh figs. However, I have seen lots of fig jam recipes using dried figs.
Looking for a more sweet fig jam?
I made this jam ideally for a cheese board accompaniment and was after that balance of sweet/savory. 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.
Six ways to use homemade balsamic fig jam
On toast. Because everyone should start the day with a good breakfast. What could be better than a little fig jam slathered on buttered, toasted sourdough? A pot of tea too please!
On a cheese plate or charcuterie board. This traditional gourmet fig jam is the perfect cheese partner. Add a good dollop to your next cheese platter. Match with hard cheeses or like I do, 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!
Make a simple vanilla ice cream recipe and add a couple of generous scoops of balsamic fig jam for a delicious summer dessert.
As a canape. One of my favorite pairings is 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 flavours to a simple vanilla cheesecake. Add a few tablespoons of balsamic jam to your cheesecake center for flavor. 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.
- Caramelized balsamic onion and thyme jam
- Lemon & Passionfruit curd
- Strawberry & Thyme Cordial
- Bottling Summer Stonefruits
A sweet, yet a little savoury, versatile fig jam. A delicious accompaniment to a good sharp cheddar or triple cream on a cheeseboard.
- 500g figs
- 1 1/4 cups golden castor sugar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 c balsamic vinegar
- Roughly chop each fig in 6 pieces.
- In a heavy based saucepan, combine all the ingredients.
- Bring to the boil and reduce the heat a little to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.
- While it’s cooking, skim any scum that comes to the surface.
- About half way through cooking time, use a stainless steel masher to give the figs a good mash.
- 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!
- Ladle jam into sterilized preserving jars.
Storage – If properly preserved, I have had fig jam last a couple of years in my pantry. If you just store it in a container in the fridge, it will last about a month. Once a jar of jam has been opened, it should be stored in the fridge.
- Serving Size:
- Calories: 53
- Sugar: 12.2 g
- Sodium: 1.4 mg
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.4 g
- Protein: 0.2 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg