Dirt to Table Experience: Fig and Vanilla Jam

My fig tree is loaded down with ripe figs. The feeling when I am pulling the branches down low to pull the fruit is a delightful one.  I am not even cussing at the birds who steal their fair share of the fruit. The small figs are perfectly ripe and their brown skins are soft to the touch. This season included a good amount of rainfall (thanks tropical storm Debby) and with that good early summer rainfall, our fig tree did not disappoint.
This year we picked  about 15 -20 lbs of ripe figs off our single tree.
What the heck do you do with pounds and pounds of fresh figs that have a shelf life of almost zero once picked from the tree?  Of course silly, you make jam!

This is a densely fruited jam that can be served with sweet or savory food, or with cheese and cold ham sandwiches. The hint of vanilla is a really nice addition.  Did I mention how easy this jam was to make?

Fig and Vanilla Jam
Makes about 2-1/2 lbs. or 3 medium jars

1-1/2 lbs. (675g) ripe figs with soft skins, trimmed and cut into quarters
Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon, washed
1 small cooking apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise
3-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1.  Put the figs in a preserving pan or a large heavy-bottomed saucepan with lemon zest and juice, chopped apple, and vanilla pod.  Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes or so, stirring occasionally, until the figs have softened and broken down.
2.  Add the sugar and cook over low heat, stirring continuously, until the sugar has all dissolved.  Then bring to a boil and cook at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 15-20 minutes or until it reaches the setting point.  Skim away any residue as it cooks.  Remove the pan from the heat while you test for a set ( temp at 220 F.)
3. Carefully remove the vanilla bean, then ladle into warm sterilized mason jars, leaving 1/4-inch (5mm) headspace.  Process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes then cover, seal with two-part top, and label.  Store in a cool, dark place, and refrigerate after opening.

42 thoughts on “Dirt to Table Experience: Fig and Vanilla Jam

  1. Figs are so adaptable. I love them. My Son recently picked a fig from a tree near the golf course he was playing and loved the taste. He thought he hated them because of the fig newtons I gave him as a child. LOL.


  2. Gosh what a delicious recipe. I cannot wait to go to Italy. Figs are ripening now and I will gorge on them. Love the addition of vanilla here. Yum!


  3. I am a fig lover! In Italy I eat figs every day in August. I was deilighted when I moved to a house with a garden with 3 fig trees (2 months ago!). Sadly, my trees have produced only 6 figs, not even ripe yet (thanks to this cold, rainy British summer, I guess). I like your recipe, it seems so easy and deliciously sticky! does it also work with 6 unripened figs??


  4. I was eyeing our fig trees and it looks like we're going to have more than the 15 pounds to deal with, even after giving most of it away, so your recipe will be tested here with all the extra apples as well! Great idea, thanks!


  5. I am yearning for a fig tree. Minnesota is not kind to them and I am not sure how one would fare wintering in the basement! This is just divine – a summer offering of nourishment and deliciousness. What a photo, Velva! Just want to dip into it.


  6. Thank you Velva for the fig jam!! That's A LOT easier to make then the fig newtons that I was hoping to make! Maybe next summer I'll have more figs to pick!! Those birds are selfish though! I don't mind sharing (unlike Dad), but they take one bite and go to the next one, take one bite and go to the next fig. Wish they'd just eat up one whole fig and get a belly full on fewer figs :-}}


  7. You are ROCKIN' in the kitchen Velva with your canning skills! This must be incredible! I have found it so difficult to find fig jam in the market! SC has an initiative to try and introduce more 'exotic' trees including fig trees. I'd be really interested to see how they do in our crazy weather here! KUDOS to you and your culinary expertise in so many ways!


  8. i can picture me eating this all over my toast, muffins and biscuits in the morning – heck all throughout the day! the flavor combination of the vanilla and fig looks and sounds unbelievable!


  9. Lucky lucky you! I would love to see a fig tree much less have one. Fig jam is my most favorite jam of them all. I have strong memories of growing up in Louisiana and picking the figs out of the jam jars. I thought it was as easy to find as strawberry jam. Then, when I moved far away from Lousiana for 20 years plus, I realized that fig jam is pretty rare in the U.S. Now, back down in the So. (TX), I do come fig jame here ….imported from Spain!!


  10. Figs grow in trees all over Southern California. It's so nice to have them right at your fingertips like that. You are forced up develop delicious recipes all the time. Love the flavors here!


  11. I have never even tried a fig! And you have a tree? Does this mean come christmas, there will be some figgy pudding? (I've always wondered about that song. I have never seen anywhere sell a \”figgy pudding..)This sounds like an awesome jam (even though I don't know what fig tastes like) because with vanilla, how can you go wrong? 😉


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