This year’s fig output is rivaling the most bountiful zucchini harvest ever. If like me you’re racing to scoop figs off the pavement before the summer sun turns your backyard into a fermentation zone it’s time to get on a ladder, pick everything that is nearly ripe and make some jam. (Shoutout to Kate and friends for spending a couple of hours to clear the tree of fruit). Yes, I said nearly ripe. By the time figs are ripe on the tree often they are so blown out that they are already fermenting. Pick those too, but really go through your harvest and cull those that smell funky.
Inspiration for this particular method goes to Diana B on Food52. I suspect she got inspiration from the fantastic Mes Confitures by Christine Ferber. As always I didn’t check my pantry before I started so I just used what I had, some white sugar and some brown sugar, some honey hanging around from a trip to So. Australia’s Kangaroo Island and some pineapple sage in the garden. Make choices based on what you have and what you like.
If you’ve never preserved jam before so you can keep it shelf stable here’s a primer from Ball.
Wash figs. Put in pan that can hold them in one layer if possible. Pour boiling water over them. Let to stand for 10 minutes, then drain. Quarter the figs and place in a large preserving or other non-reactive pan.
Thinly slice the lemons and remove the seeds. Add the sliced lemons and the honey, sugar and sage to the figs.
Bring the ingredients to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and honey. Pour the mixture into a non-reactive bowl, cover with parchment (it should touch the mixture) and refrigerate overnight.
After the night of maceration pour the mixture back into the preserving pan and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for five minutes. Remove the pineapple sage or other herb.
Pour hot jam into sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Here is a primer or refresher on canning jams for shelf stable preservation