we be jammin' (& i hope you like jammin', too)

canning fig jam home made jam recipe

Just off of the back porch, nestled against the window of my son's bedroom, and currently saturated with pounding rain from Hurricane Ida sways the best producing fruit tree on our acreage--she's a fig tree, and she's extraordinary.

*spoiler alert*, if you'd like to skip my droll and get right to the recipe, just scroll on down to the bottom!

I've said this in a previous blog, but honestly--our first seasons in our farmhouse have been sprinkled with a fairy dusting of wonderful surprises, particularly when it comes to the foliage.  Sure, the listing said we had a fig tree.  And yeah, I was excited to see it green up and fill in over the spring.  But the sheer volume of figs that this thing produces is mind-blowing, and I've found myself in the kitchen making a batch of jam every other week all summer long.

Every day, armed with my trusty little hand-woven basket, I pop out to the back porch, say "hey-o" to the pair of hummingbirds that hang out near our bonsai tree, and see what I can see, popping fig after fig into the basket until I grab all of the ripe ones (or can no longer reach them--I'm a hobbit).  Into the fridge they go until I've accumulated at least a pound so I can whip them into jam.  Of course, many of them don't make it into the glass jar, because they're so damn good that Rowan and I eat them like candy.  They're juicy and sweet and there's just something about picking your own fruit that's childlike and wholesome and makes you feel good inside, especially in the oppressive heat of August in the deep South.

It's safe to say that I've perfected the jam recipe (it's not difficult and I'm sure you'll agree once you try it), but how many jars of the same jam does one family need?  So.  Here we are, on the last day of August, with hundreds of figs left to ripen on good ol' Figgy the Tree (thank you, Ralston, for the incredibly creative name!) and a new, surprising, and freakin' delightful twist on this still-very-simple home canning concoction.  What do peanut butter whiskey, jalapeno, and figs have in common?  Literally nothing, but they're AMAZING together!  Think peanut butter and jelly sammich, with a teensy kick of sweet heat and a shot of whiskey on the side.  Seriously.  Don't knock it 'til you try it.  My favorite family bartender, Ericka, gave me the idea to make a jalapeño Skrewball cocktail when I was feeling overwhelmed by the presence of dozens of pounds of fresh figs, and the idea evolved into this sticky, smokey, sweet heat deliciousness.

Our little farm allows us the opportunity to grow our own food (a plethora of lovely benefits including valuable lessons for our children), but my favorite opportunity is the one to preserve our bounty for the upcoming seasons, honoring the traditions that the families before us in this very home relied upon.  Not for their little eco-apothecary business, not for their blog content, not for the pleasure of having fig jam to schmear onto veggie burgers with butt loads of brie cheese on brioche buns or to champion their charcuterie boards, but to literally survive.  There was no electricity in this farmhouse until the 1970's.  They shared beds for warmth.  They grew and preserved their own food to SURVIVE.  

Well, shit.  So you don't have a fig tree.  Ask around at your local farmer's markets and produce stands for some, or be bold and try this recipe with a different fruit (cherries, strawberries, and raspberries are the first ones that come to mind because they'd pair soooo well with that peanut butter whiskey--remember, think PB&J!).  And then let me know how that goes, pls and ty.

Suffice it to say, I'm a little spoiled.  But sustainably so.  We may not be Bezos/Musk space race rich, but we're rich in figs today and that's enough for me!

So, here ya go.  A recipe that allows you to make both the original version and the one with moxie--all in one pot!  

FIG JAM, WITH A TWIST (makes 6 small mason jars)

Ingredients ::
  • 2 pounds fresh figs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Skrewball peanut butter whiskey
  • 1 large jalapeno, chopped
  1. Trim the figs by cutting off the top stem (just barely slicing into the bulb of the fruit), then quarter them
  2. Add figs, sugars, lemon juice, honey, vanilla, and water to a large stock pot
  3. Over medium heat, stir well to combine.  Mix often as you bring to a boil, then reduce immediately down to a simmer (this helps the sugars to caramelize a bit as the fruit softens, giving it enough juice to stew in)
  4. Stir frequently as it simmers, approximately 20-25 minutes or until very well softened 
  5. As the jam simmers, prepare your canning station--you'll need an immersion blender, 6 small mason jars, a spoon, and a damp cloth
  6. Using your immersion blender, pulse the jam to your desired consistency (I like a smooth, thick puree, personally)
  7. Spoon the jam into jars--but fill only three, the other three are gonna have MOXIE!--using your cloth to wipe any reside that you get on the lip of the jar (you can't create an effective seal if it's interrupted by drips of figgy goodness)
  8. Add the Skrewball and jalapenos to the pot, bring back to a simmer
  9. Stir frequently as it simmers for 10 minutes
  10. Give the immersion blender another spin, and can it up!

One trick I use when canning both a mild and "spicy" version of the same recipe is to drop a jalapeno slice down on the bottom of the jar before filling, that way I can just take a quick peek at the rear end of the glas to see which one I'll serve to the kids! ;)

And that's it!  We be fig jammin' over here...and I hope you like fig jammin', too!

Best Wishes :: Warmest Regards,

Danielle

xo


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