Canning Project: Sticky Figgy Jam

Brooklyn Fig Tree

From the moment I realized a fig tree grows in Brooklyn, I’ve been dreaming of Brooklyn-grown figgy jam. I’ve stalked the greenmarkets, traveled to Williamsburg where I know the Brooklyn Kitchen often carries them and tried to forage for my own in trees around Brooklyn. All fruitless ventures. Last year, I thought I finally figured it out. We moved from a 6-story apartment building to a two family rowhouse. While the new apartment doesn’t give us backyard access, our landlord’s luscious garden has a pear tree and not one, but two fig trees. I finally had access to my very own figs. Then winter came.

I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the fig trees dying out all over Brooklyn. The winter was a bit harsh for these Mediterranean plants. Back in April and May when every other tree was sprouting it’s greens, fig trees around the borough remained bare. Luckily the rumors of them completely dying off aren’t true. Eventually the leaves started coming back and just a few weeks ago I saw some green fruit hanging off a few dozen recovering branches. But still a bit too late to harvest any ripe fruit this year.

So I did the unthinkable. I caved and bought a few pints of California grown figs. Far from local, I tried to justify my purchase by telling myself the labor was still local. Not the same, but I’ve been denied local figs for far too long. Of course, before making the jam I had to sample some of the ingredients. I realized that I had never eaten a fresh fig before. Sure, I’ve had plenty of dried, baked and roasted figs, but never one fresh, right off the (3,000 miles away) tree. They were sweet but still a bit green tasting, and much softer than I expected. On their own they were nothing to write home about, but split open, filled with goat cheese and drizzled with honey? Yes please!

This jam is super easy, but takes time, as it needs to simmer over low heat for some time to achieve the sticky jammy consistency. My California jam came out perfect. A great practice batch for when I get those Brooklyn figs next summer.

Figgy Jam

Sticky Figgy Jam (Makes 5 4-ounce jars)

  • 4 c fresh mission figs, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 c sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 c water

Combine all ingredients in a medium Dutch oven and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and continue cooking until mixture becomes a sticky jammy mess, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn. This should take about 45 minutes. Ladle jam into hot, sterile 4-ounce jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

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