A couple weeks back, I went to a dinner hosted by California Figs. At the end of the dinner, when I was absolutely full to the bursting point, the nice folks who had organized the dinner handed me a little colander of fresh figs to take home. Though I couldn’t quite imagine ever eating again, I said yes to the figs and walked home with them perched carefully in my purse.
It was a busy weekend and so the figs languished in the fridge for two whole days. It wasn’t until Sunday night (the dinner had been on Thursday) that I was able to take stock and determine what was on the verge of going bad.
There was a bundle of basil that became walnut pesto. A bundle of kale was chopped and toasted into chips. At last, I was down to figs and a scant quart of rapidly softening strawberries from our Saturday CSA pick-up.
Though I’d never had strawberry fig jam, I was fairly certain it could be done (and a quick internet search showed that I was not nearly the first to combine these two). And so I chopped the fruit, weighed it and added half as much sugar. It all went into a jar and then into the fridge for an overnight rest.
Two days later, I circled back around to the jar. What I found was glorious. The strawberries and figs had mellowed and married. I scraped the contents of the jar into a skillet, added a little lemon juice and cooked it, stirring all the while, until I could draw a path through the jam with my spatula.
I ended up with just enough to fill three half pint jars, which I processed in my 4th burner pot. I sent one jar to my dad for Father’s Day, gave another to a friend as a thank you and am saving the final jar for late fall, when both fresh strawberries and figs are just a memory.
A note: Do remember that figs are among that group of fruits that are a bit low on acid for safe boiling water bath preserving. Any time you work with them, it’s important to either combine them with higher acid fruits or to add some lemon juice in order to boost the acid levels. As you can see, I’ve done both here to ensure a perfectly safe product.
- 1 pound strawberries, chopped
- 1 pound fresh figs, chopped
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- Combine chopped strawberries, figs, and sugar. If you're not going to make the jam right away, funnel them into a sealable container and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
- When you're ready to make the jam, prepare a small boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
- Scrape macerated fruit, juices and any undissolved sugar out into a 12-inch skillet. Place over high heat and cook, stirring very regularly, for 8-12 minutes. Add lemon juice towards end of cooking.
- Jam is finished when the volume has reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. Another way to test for doneness is to drag your spoon or spatula through the jam. If the space you've created doesn't fill in immediately with jam, it is done. Before canning, taste and add more lemon juice, if necessary for brightening.
- Funnel jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
- When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals by gripping the edges of the lid and raising the jar up about an inch holding only onto the lid. A well-sealed jar should hold fast.
- Sealed jars are ready for pantry storage, where they'll keep for up to one year if left unopened. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.