I have to be honest…figs never meant much to me. When a friend recently invited me to swing by and pick some ripe figs, I couldn’t pass up the offer for free fruit (even though it was for figs). I talked a few friends into joining me for the fig picking and we met at the fig tree. After we loaded up on the ripe fruit and other assorted veggies from the garden, we went our separate ways. Once home, I surveyed my freshly picked figs and decided I’d better do a little research on them.
I learned that figs are an excellent source of fiber, potassium and calcium. Ripe figs are soft (like a peach) but not mushy, and should be used within a day or two. And, I’m told that figs are quite the popular fruit in the Mediterranean.
So now that I had a pound and a half of figs on my kitchen counter, I had to figure out what to do with them. A few years back I’d tried a delicious fig and blue cheese appetizer at a restaurant. The memory of that delicious crostini was my inspiration for making Rosemary and Port Fig Jam, a recipe I found in Food and Wine Magazine. It’s super easy to make and is a creative use of the fruit. I used regular ol’ red port instead of white port since that’s what I had on hand. Depending on how sweet your figs are, you may want to add a bit more lemon juice to the boiling jam if you taste it and think it’s too sweet.
After the jam cooled, I slathered some on baguette slices (a little goes a long way) and topped it with a thin slab of rich and tangy aged blue cheese…a delicious combination! The fig jam would also be really good with roast pork or chicken.
Rosemary and Port Fig Jam
-recipe from Food and Wine Magazine
2 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white port
1 4-inch sprig of rosemary
In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the figs are juicy.
Add the lemon juice, rosemary sprig and port and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer the fig jam over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, about 20 minutes. Remove rosemary and discard.
Spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.