If a fig tree is anywhere near a sidewalk or roadway in Greece, any fruits over the property line is fair game for passers by.
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Figs (συκα pronounced SEE-kah for plural, συκο pronounced SEE-koh for singular) are a summer staple across the countryside and in Greek villages. They are perfectly adapted for the Mediterranean climate and produce an obscene abundance of tasty fruits each season. Trust me that no one would really notice if the occasional fig was snatched up by a hungry person walking by. My own tree, and that of my parents’, bury us in an avalanche to the point I don’t even mind when the birds get to some. Some, not all. I will fight them if they start getting a little too greedy.
Much of our harvest makes it to the dehydrator for snacks, as well as to the freezer for use in treats throughout the year. There is always plenty more for fresh eating, as well as for making an easy jam that is just as perfect for a pb&j, as it is for toast or even slathered on pancakes and waffles.
Some quick notes before you begin:
Figs are not a high pectin fruit, but have just enough that they can be made into jam more-or-less in the same manner as other fruits. The problem is that it requires an un-Godly amount of sugar to do so. In fact, more sugar than fruit! However, if you make it more like a fruit “butter” with a cook down method rather than setting it by temperature, you get a sweet and chunky spread just as good as any other style of preserve.
If you are new to canning, you should also read my post on Food Canning 101. This goes over the basics of equipment and resources that you’ll find helpful.
I have created a post that gives all the information needed for those of you that may be brand new to making jams and jellies. It also has tips for those of you who may have struggled getting good results in the past. I have removed all that information from the original instructions below, just to make things less cluttered. Check that post out here!
This method of jam making does not reach the same high temperature as typical jam, so it is necessary to do a “hot water bath” to ensure a proper seal and for food safety after the jars are filled.
Since this recipe does not rely on reaching a set temperature in a critical time frame, you can work with larger quantities than a typical jam recipe. However, the more material you start with, the longer it has to cook in order to reach the proper consistency. You will still be better off working with no more than 8 cups of mixture at a time.
Fig & Honey Jam Recipe
For every one packed cup of fresh figs, peeled and cut into small chunks, you will need:
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Put all your ingredients into a large stock pot and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes to extract out the liquid from the figs. You can even put the pot in the fridge, covered, for several hours if you need to space out your time.
It will be best to start with no more than 8 cups of your fig mixture. Add this to a large pot, bring just to a boil, then drop the heat down to maintain a strong simmer. The mixture will have a tendency of wanting to bubble up and out of the pot at first so you will need to stir occasionally and don’t leave it unattended. You can remove the pot from the heat until the foam subsides as needed. As it thickens, this will stop happening, but it will require more stirring to keep the jam from sticking and burning on the bottom. You will also need to lower the heat gradually as it begins to thicken to keep it from splattering on you. It’s hot and it hurts.
The jam is ready once the mixture is thick and can somewhat mound up on a spoon. Remember that it will thicken up more as it cools, so don’t be tempted to keep going until it is stiff goo. Unfortunately, there is no definitive way to know when it is done, but if your jam turns out too thin, you can always cook it down again later.
Once the jam is ready to go into the jars, work quickly to fill them. Process your jars in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and set someplace where they can cool, undisturbed. If you used two piece lids, remove the screw ring and wipe down the jars and the screw rings from any trace of jam. Check that the jars are sealed, then you can put the rings back on. Now you can enjoy the lovely taste of fresh fig any time of the year!