Figs. Not everyone loves a fresh fig but none can deny their lush, velvety beauty, the deep purple, greens and browns on the outside, and the visual burst of ripe redness inside. I love figs on a cheese plate drizzled with honey. I love fig jam even more.
Making jam gives me so much pleasure – the chopping of the fruit, measuring of the ingredients, watching the slow bubbling of the mixture coming together as a thick syrupy jam. Time literally slows down. I adore making jams of all kinds and these days tend to experiment with the flavor and fruit combinations.
I’ve mentioned before my grandmother in Virginia first taught me and inspired me to make jam. She and my grandfather planted fruit trees on their property nestled next to the water of the Chesapeake Bay. Every summer we made jam from the cherry trees, peach trees, apple trees, grape vines and more. She also loved canning. After the summer’s bounty and canning sessions she would fill a large wooden cabinet in the basement with her jars of jam, pickled beans, okra, watermelon rind, bread and butter pickles and more. When those old wooden doors creaked open the rows of colorful jars gave me so much delight. I would sneak down to the cool basement just to open the doors and stare at the beautiful bounty.
Years later, when I came across Marisa McClellan’s book Food in Jars, it was love at first site. If you are new to jam and canning, check our her site for tips and tricks on canning 101 to get started.
Recently I made a fig jam and added fresh thyme and lemon juice. The taste gives it deeper, brighter layers than a typical fig jam. Try it out and let me know what you think.
Lemon Thyme Fig Jam Recipe
8 cups coursely chopped fresh figs
4 cups sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
3 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Remove the stems from the figs and coarsely chop.
2. Wash your lemons, and using a vegetable peeler or pairing knife, cut thin strips of the lemon rind, being careful not to include the white pith from the lemon rind.
3. Juice the lemons.
4. Put the figs, sugar, lemon peel, lemon juice and sprigs of thyme in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir to combine.
5. Bring contents to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and let simmer 45-50 minutes, depending on desired thickness. Make sure the mixture does not stick the bottom of the pan. While the jam is stewing prepare the jars in a boiling water bath.
6. Remove and discard thyme stems and lemon rind (although a few pieces left in give a bright burst of lemon flavor, which is lovely).
7. Add in vanilla, making sure to stir well. You can use an immersion blender to chop up the fig skins – pulse until desired consistency. (I tend to leave it as is.)
8. Remove the pot from heat and ladle into 4 regular-mouth pint-sized prepared, sterilized canning jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Carrie Allen created this site as a way for people to share stories about things they love. She loves chasing quiet, authentic moments and sharing them with her family and friends. Read more about her inspiration here.