This jam is sweet, tangy and a little savory too. Juicy, luscious figs and gently acidic balsamic vinegar are a match made in heaven. A small bit of salt further tempers the sweetness making this jam a favourite choice for your next charcuterie board or morning bagel.
Easy no pectin jam recipe
Figs don’t have a lot of pectin compared to some other fruits but by using enough acid and cooking them down for 45 minutes to an hour, this preserve sets up nicely without additional store bought pectin. See more helpful tips below in the "How to make jam" section.
10 Ways to use balsamic fig jam
There are so many options! Lets start with savory and move to sweet.
- Do as my dear friend Andrea does and wrap up a small bundle of arugula and a teaspoon of this jam in a thin slice of prosciutto for a sweet and salty appetizer.
- Alternatively, make a charcuterie platter of assorted cured meats and let guests assemble to their taste. Make sure to add plain crackers to the tray for those who want a purely figgy bite!
- Add 1-2 tablespoons to a vinaigrette of red wine vinegar and olive oil and top a salad of greens, nuts and maybe some goat cheese too.
- On top of baked brie-This brilliant way of serving brie is classic for a reason!
- In a grilled cheese using a good quality melting cheese. (Brie, aged cheddar, taleggio or compte are excellent choices)
- With crackers and cream cheese.
Now for the sweet. Rich balsamic vinegar melds and mellows during the cooking accentuating the luscious, honey-like fig flavour.
- This spread is right at home on toast or bagels.
- Top creamy artisanal vanilla ice cream with this fig jam for a fun and unique ending to dinner.
- Top some puff pastry with cream cheese and a scoop of this jam, pinch the corners together to keep the ingredients in and bake into your own fresh Danish.
- Create a dessert platter of cheeses and nuts. Add in balsamic fig jam for a rich, syrupy condiment and serve with tawny port.
I love versatile recipes and this vibrant fig preserve fits the bill. Be sure to make enough jars to enjoy through winter with a few left over for gifting along with a wheel of local brie or a chunk of cheddar cheese.
More ways to use fresh figs
Fig season is wonderful but if you have a fig tree, you know that once they start ripening, they go fast. Being able to preserve them is essential. Besides regular fig jam and this savory version, I have a few other favourite ways to enjoy these Mediterranean fruits.
Besides jam, you can dry figs in your oven or dehydrator. Figs are full of water so they take longer to dry than many other fruits. Because of this, it is important to wash and clean them thoroughly so they don't mold before they dry.
Admittedly, we eat a lot of our figs fresh. It is a fleeting time of year and I will eat as many as I can. Here is my yummy Fig and Prosciutto salad:
Baking with figs is another fantastic way to use them. Try them in cakes or muffins for a boost of moisture, fiber and natural sweetness.
Wrapping figs in salami or prociutto and eating raw or frying to crisp the edges is another decadent way to enjoy them. Below is a recent pic of them that I took with my cell phone. You can leave them as is or drizzle with a little balsamic vinegar before serving. (Do you sense a theme here?)
Tips to make this jam
Jam is really quite an easy thing to make and there are just a few tips to ensure success.
Make sure your equipment and fruit is clean to prevent spoilage.
Using a few under ripe fruits along with your ripe fruits helps with tempering sweetness and more importantly setting into a good consistency..
Adequate cooking time will ensure you get a thick jam.
You can use a thermometer to determine doneness if you have one (aim for 220’F) or just use the cold plate and spoon method to check the gel.
To test for setting with the cold plate method, place a small plate and a few spoons in your fridge when you begin making the jam. Once you think your jam is close to ready, use a cold spoon and scoop a ½ teaspoon onto the cold plate. Place back in fridge for a few minutes and then check the consistency of the jam. Once it achieves the right setting point, it is finished.
Yes, you can freeze figs. I prefer to wash and quarter mine, then freeze on baking sheets in a single layer. Once frozen, they can be packed into resealable containers in the freezer until you're ready to use them.
Frozen figs will be mushy when thawed so not great for firm uses however they are perfect for jams, spreads, baking and smoothies.
So that is all there is to it! Let me know if you make this recipe or if you have another favourite fig recipe that I should try.
Fig Balsamic Jam
- 8 c Fresh figs, cut in quarters or eighths Cut based on how chunky you want your jam to be.
- 4 c Sugar
- ½ c + 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar ½ c plus 1 tbsp vinegar, divided
- ½ Lemon peel Peel from half a lemon, preferably without the white pith.
- ¾ tsp Salt
- ½ tsp Dry chili flakes *Optional-You can omit or add as much as you like up to 1 whole teaspoon. ½ tsp creates a very mild warming and 1 tsp becomes noticeable but not at all overpowering.
- ½ c Water
- Add all ingredients except for 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar to a large, heavy bottomed pot.
- Turn heat up to high and bring mixture to a boil. Cook for 45-55 minutes, until mixture thickens and darkens in colour. Add remaining tablespoon of vinegar for last 10 minutes of cooking time. Test for good thick consistency with a cold plate and spoon or use a candy thermometer and cook until mixture reaches 220°F (105°C). (Read about the cold spoon method in the body of the post)
- Meanwhile, sterilize your jars by boiling in hot water or on extra hot cycle of dishwasher and simmer canning lids in hot water for 10 minutes.
- Once jam is done, ladle into hot jars, leaving 1 cm headspace at top, make sure rim of jars are clean, wiping any jam drips with a damp cloth before immediately placing hot lids on and securing gently but firmly with jar rings. You can let these seal and store or for added peace of mind, process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes before cooling and storing.
- *Note: Once jars are cool, the lids should seal and be slightly concave. If any do not seal (which sometimes happens if the jar rim wasn't perfectly clean) then store them in your fridge and use first.