I don’t eat too much jam, but fig jam I do eat with some regularity. You see, I have a black Mission fig tree in my yard that I planted in 2004, and it has grown large enough now that I am getting tons of figs.
Too many to eat fresh, in fact. So I need to do something with them besides drying them. I know, I know. I can hear you all weeping through my computer screen.
The other reason I like fig jam so much is that it is a little different from most recipes. Technically, this is probably more of a spread than a jam, as it’s pretty loose — and it is most definitely an adult indulgence. I add a bit of salt and bay leaves to make it a little more complex. Then I spike it with ouzo.
It’s still sweet enough for a breakfast spread, but the herbal note from the bay lets this fig jam come into the dinner menu, too. It is a good side for roast pork or wild boar, and makes an excellent tart filling or a filling for a hand pie.
The citric acid adds a little zing to the fig jam, and it helps preserve it, too. You don’t have to use it, but you can find pure citric acid online or through beer brewing shops, and there is a product called Fruit Fresh that is mostly citric acid; it works, too.
I’ve kept this jam in the fridge for months, with no problems, but if you want it shelf stable, water-bath can it for 15 minutes.
Looking for more fig recipes? Try my fig bread and fig syrup.
Fig Jam with Ouzo
- 4 pounds figs
- Juice of two lemons, about 1/2 cup
- Zest of two lemons, about 2 tablespoons
- 1 tsp . citric acid (optional)
- 4 cups sugar
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup ouzo, divided
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Zest and juice the lemons and set aside. Chop the figs roughly into small pieces. The skins of the figs tend to stay the same size no matter how long you cook them, so be mindful when you are chopping -- you don't want big hunks of fig skin in the jam when you're trying to spread it on toast, do you?
- Add the bay leaves, salt, sugar, lemon juice and zest and half the ouzo to the figs and mix well. Let stand at room temperature, covered, for at least an hour but no more than five hours.
- Get a big kettle of water ready to can the jam. Sterilize your jars and lids.
- Bring the fig mixture to a simmer over medium heat and let this cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how loose the mix was at the start. This recipe makes a loose jam anyway, but you do want it to be spreadable. Stir the mixture often, otherwise the figs and sugar will fuse to the bottom of the pan and burn. Not good. When the jam is done, turn off the heat, wait for it to stop simmering and then stir in the rest of the ouzo and the citric acid, if you're using it.
- Pour the fig jam into sterilized pint jars and seal. Process in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove, let dry and check the seals when the jam is cool. The jam should last at least a year.
ANNETTE Martina ANDERWALD says
Just made this jam and it is a winner. Had tried fig jam before and found it boring and uninteresting but the ouzo and bay leaf work wonders. Used malic acid instead of citric acid and it also gives a nice tang. Was wonderful with jalapeno sausages as a condiment.
Richard Lynch says
Looks like an interesting site. I started foraging in the last three years and it is ridiculously easy because I live by abandoned orchards in Spain.
I might try this without the sugar. I’m pretty sure I don’t need it.
Hank Shaw says
Richard: You need it. Jam requires a high sugar content to be stable. If you don’t add sugar, it might taste good, but will mold and rot fairly quickly.
Guy Balestrieri says
If you do not like anise flavor or Ouzo, I used 3/4 cup Jagermeister and 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar mixed as a substitute for the Ouzo as my wife does not like anise flavor and the spread turned out complex and tasty.
Lovely recipe—but hurricane Isaac just killed my fig tree, which was laden with unripe fruit.
Sounds very interesting! Not sure I can find any fresh figs locally still but there is a very neglected bottle of Ouzo here! If I can’t come up with figs, can you suggest a different fruit to pair it with? Before your post I never even thought of making a jam to use it up…you are brilliant! Thank you for sharing the recipe.
i find typical fig jam way too sweet but this recipe looks amazing..i’m looking forward to fig season so i can give it a try..jane
Sorry to hear about your fig problem.
Betcha rhubarb fig wine would be good.
How about fig yogurt too?
I just made an ancient dessert with fennel and rose and apples and absolutely loved it. Who knew? Can’t wait to make this jam… fabulous idea!~~ I can see it with great cheeses in a snap!
I added fennel seeds; they softened quite a bit. You still feel them, but it’s not unpleasant, it’s a burst of ouzo-ness 😉 when you get one.
You might also try star anise in the jam instead of ouzo. Looks prettier than fennel seeds! This recipe looks fantastic. Just might have to indulge in enough figs to make it!
Susan Covey says
This looks great and I love the color. Dan might try putting the fennel seeds in a wire mesh tea ball to cook with the jam. I often infuse jams this way.
Hank Shaw says
Dan: You might not like the texture of the fennel seeds in the jam, but the flavor will be good. Maybe grind them?
I have this on the stove right now.can’t stand the bay flavor so I left it out… but I can’t help wondering, what if I add a teaspoon of fennel seeds.
Ricardo Rodríguez says
Dee G says
Do you think I could sub Absinthe for the Ouzo? I have a bottle that I extract 5 drops at a time for a cocktail recipe and would be happy to pour off a cup. This looks divine!
That sounds abso-flippin-lutely lovely! And this poor Minnesotan is very envious of your “fig problem”
David Price says
I wonder if this would work with our southern Brown Turkey figs…don’t see why not.