The flavors of Fig Jam highlight the sweetness and gooeyness of figs. It has a sweet, and sometimes tart, berry-like flavor that can be likened to dried strawberries or cranberries. It also has a nutty and earthy texture from all the seeds inside. Depending on the varieties of figs, fig jams can mimic the taste and consistency of amber honey.
Fig jam is an excellent way to elevate any salad, entrées, mains, and toasted, open faces sandwiches such as canapes. It is also perfectly paired with different cheeses and wines, making it the perfect accompaniment to tapas or any bite-sized morsels.
Fig Jams Trivia
- When people think of the Forbidden Fruit in “The Creation Story,” apples usually come into mind. However, some Biblical historians think those were Figs.
- In the US, California is one of the major fig producers which accounts for 100% dried figs and 98% fresh figs.
- Because of its pear shape linked with feminine attributes, figs are often associated with fertility, sweetness, and abundance.
- The world’s oldest fig tree is named Sri Maha Bodhiya in Sri Lanka. It is believed to be planted by a human.
Fig Jams Buying Guide
Everything homemade is better than commercially produced food. In this regard, we recommend you contact your local producers, bakeries, and artisan makers to see if they have fig jams available or if you can make a customized order. It’s always better to purchase artisan fig jams because you can control the sweetness and consistency of the product. The best thing about buying homemade fig jams is that you are assured of the freshness of the products and the quality of the figs used. Overall, you don’t have to worry about the taste as small-time producers are very finicky with their products. This is something that commercially produced jams lack, as most jams in the shelve are diluted and have too much sugar.
If you make contact with your local producers and order a big batch for your consumption or for just gifting, you can customize the consistency and sweetness of the fig jams. Who knows you might get some free fig jellies!
Commercially produced fig jams are mostly sugar, flavoring, and preservatives. They contain very little flavor and nutrients compared to the homemade varieties.
Fig Jams Production & Farming in Texas
Figs are very resilient plants; they can survive long, hot summers, but can only tolerate mild winters. These plants need to have a lot of warmth and sunlight to grow and thrive. A Mediterranean climate is the perfect growing atmosphere for Figs. Sunlight is essential not only for the physical growth of the fruit but also for the development of its flavors. Even though Figs can survive hot temperatures, it’s essential to water them as the fruits might fall off due to dehydration.
This may impede other states but Texas has fig plantations over the State. Figs were believed to be brought to Texas by the Spanish padres who bought the figs on their missions. Some of the fig varieties grown in Texas include the Black Mission, Celeste, Alma, Blue Giant, and the Kadota. For the figs to grow healthily, compost must be used as a fertilizer.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Artisan jam makers traditionally do not use artificial preservatives, because the essence of any jam is to celebrate the sweetness of the fruits and preserve it for long-term storage. However, commercially produced jams contain preservatives and chemicals to keep lengthen the jam’s shelf-life and enhance its flavors.
Pectin occurs naturally in the skin of fruits and is commonly used to thicken mixtures such as jams and jellies. Ripe strawberries and raspberries contain very little pectin which will affect the setting and jellification process. To remedy this, heavy doses of sugar are added to properly the fruit preserves. But doing this will affect the flavor, making the jam having a taste of artificial sugars than the fruit’s natural sweetness. The diluted flavors of the berries and the saccharine sweetness of the sugar make the jam taste unpleasant in the long run.
Citric acid is more than just an acid regulator. It also helps prevent bacteria from breeding in the jam mixture. It is also used as a preservative which expedites any ripening process. As an acid, it slows the oxidation process and prevents crystallization. Citric acid adds sourness and tartness to any recipe. It doesn’t contain calories and helps protect against kidney stones.
Lactic acid is used in fermentation and aids in the production of lactobacillus bacteria. It is commonly used in pickling but can also be used in jams and other preserves. The jam’s lactic acid content makes it difficult for bacteria to breed and grow.
Fig jams must be stored in sterilized glass jars. This is essential to prevent mold and bacterial growth. To properly can the jam, place the canner in hot water and gently boil for 10 minutes, cool the canner for five minutes, and cool for 12 to 24 hours.
Some commercially produced jams are placed in big, plastic buckets. This type of packaging is commonly used in bulk producers such as hotels and restaurants. Some bakeries also use this product but most bakeries prefer to showcase their locally made jams along with their artisan bread.
Enjoying Fig Jam
The best way to eat fig jam is to add it to elevate your humble sandwich. You can use any crusty bread available, generously spread some fig jam, then place lettuce, slices of prosciutto, and gouda cheese. Serve this with any balsamic-dresses salad to cut the richness of the sandwich.
Fig jams goes well with any cheeses and dessert wines. You can also make a dessert bruschetta by toasting slices of crusty bread, then spreading a moderate layer of grated cheese, with small dollops of fig jams, and then sprinkle some blue cheese crumbles. Toast in the oven for 5 minutes or longer, according to your preference. Drizzle with honey and top with sprigs of rosemary.
Unopened, homemade fig jams can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat to preserve its flavors, colors, and consistency. By the time it is opened, it should be refrigerated for at least 6 months to 1 year. Finally, fig jams can be frozen for up to a year.
FIG JAMS IN SMALL BATCHES
Making Fig Jams are a delightful way of using excess fruit during the fig season from July to August
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1½ tablespoon lemon juice
2 sprigs thyme
1 pound ripe fresh Black Mission Figs, stemmed and quartered
- For a very thick jam (as shown) simmer for the full 50 minutes. For a looser jam, simmer only for 40 minutes.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove strips of rind from lemon, being careful not to include the white pith as you peel the strips.
- Place lemon rind strips and all other ingredients into a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine.
- Bring contents in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 40-50 minutes (*see note above) or until mixture thickens, continuing to stir frequently so the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
- Discard thyme stems and lemon peel. Pulse jam with an immersion blender to chop up the fig skins if desired.
- Pour into an 8-ounce jelly jar. Keep refrigerated for up to one month.
- This jam may also be canned in sterilized jars using the water bath method.