If you're one of the lucky ones who has ready access to a flourishing fig tree, I'm sure you're up to your eyeballs in sweet, ripe figs right about now. One easy way to use up some of your bounty is to make some fig jam. This is a super easy recipe that utilizes honey instead of sugar. I just made a batch this week with a bag of plump Mission figs my friend Dawn gave me and some local honey I buy from another friend, Neal. Since it was a small batch I skipped water bathing the jam and just popped it in the fridge. It'll keep there for about a month, but I'm sure it'll get eaten up much sooner than that. Plopped on some Greek yogurt, spread on some fresh-baked bread or accompanying a simple cheese platter...mmm...I'm getting hungry just thinking about the uses!
Small Batch Honey-Fig Jam
2 pounds fresh figs, cut into quarters
1.5 cups good quality honey (go for the lighter color honey, so that it won't overwhelm the flavor of the figs)
6 tablespoons of water
lemon zest of 1 lemon
4 tablespoons of lemon juice
1. Sterilize your half-pint jars in boiling water. Place your lids in a pan of VERY hot (but not boiling) water for at least 5 minutes.
2. Wash figs and remove stems. (I don't peel them as the skins get quite soft during the cooking process and I like the texture.) Slice figs into quarters.
3. In a large saucepan, combine the figs, honey and water. Let sit (unheated) for about 25-30 minutes.
4. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat immediately to a simmer and cook for about 30-40 minutes. Stirring frequently (you don't want the honey to burn). You'll notice that the figs will start to break down and the mixture will thicken. (Optional: If you want smaller bits, you can mash them up a bit with a potato masher at this point.)
5. Add lemon zest and juice. Stir. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Ladle into hot-sterilized jars. Place lid on. Allow to cool, place in fridge.
7. Will keep for about a month, refrigerated.