mastering the art of fig jam

This week I made fig jam twice. The first time I made a tiny batch – a taste really – a single jar. Just for fun. I had some dried figs that I wanted to use and some gorgeous, incredibly sweet empire apples that tasted like candy apples. I was fancying fig jam on savoury sandwiches: fig jam and ham; bacon, lettuce, and fig jam; peanut butter and fig jam. In the end, I had a friend coming for lunch and I made roasted parsnip soup and then roast chicken, lettuce, and fig jam sandwiches on seed bread.

I ate most of the rest of the batch in one sitting – on Finn Crisps with peanut butter piled with fig jam. The recipe was ad-libbed. I used a handful of fresh cranberries for colour, some cinnamon, some ginger, and two small apples.  It was almost like a chutney.  I couldn’t get the taste out of my head. Slightly earthy, fragrant, faintly exotic – rich, almost plummy. Sweet but not overly so.

So today when I got out of bed and remembered that I had fresh croissants bought late yesterday afternoon, I started making another batch of fig jam while I was still in my nightie. This is the problem with working from home. Sometimes I get distracted by the call of the kitchen.

But this time, I decided to get scientific. I measured and wrote down my recipe so that I might stand a chance of remembering how I made it. This, I have to say, is the BEST fig jam I’ve ever tasted. It works perfectly all by itself as jam but it pairs brilliantly with savoury. Incredible on a hot croissant with sharp cheddar, melted. I used a big spoonful of jam. It’s rich and a little sweeter and the flavour is more rounded than the last batch. More of a jam and less of chutney. But still the perfect accompaniment on savoury sandwiches. Note that I left the ginger and cinnamon out of the second batch – and I liked it better without them. Plus I think the colour is nicer.

The great thing is that you can use dried figs, frozen cranberries, and the fruit you have on hand – apples, pears, even an orange – to make this jam. And it’s easy too. I tasted the jam part way through cooking and decided it would be the perfect hot fruit salad – so that recipe will be coming soon too. Hot fruit salad served with whipped cream would be an incredibly elegant dessert. As for the jam – eat it on toast, on scones, in a Victoria Sandwich cake with whipped cream, on sandwiches, on a cheese platter, spooned over Brie and baked…. or give it away as gifts. Who wouldn’t want a jar of homemade fig jam?


fig, apple, cranberry jam

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  • 2-200gram packages dried figs (I used Turkish figs)
  • 4 good sized cooking apples (or use apples and pears)
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen (not dried) cranberries
  • 3 cups water
  • juice of one orange
  • grated zest of one orange
  • 3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence

You will need – 6 small mason jars – washed and sterilized. And a large stainless jam pot.

Wash the figs, remove the stalks, and chop or snip in halves or quarters. Peel and slice the apples. Rinse the cranberries. Zest the orange and then juice the remainder. Place the fruit, water, and orange zest and orange juice in a large stainless steel pot and bring the boil. Add the sugar. Simmer for about twenty minutes minimum – it might take closer to thirty minutes depending on what temperature your simmer is. (See photographs below for cooking stages.)

Remember that you need to keep an eye on this jam as it cooks, stirring regularly so you don’t burn it. Once it reaches the consistency of jam and the fruit is soft, remove from heat, stir in the vanilla (or you could use a tablespoon or two of cognac) and bottle immediately in the sterilized jars. Store sealed jars in a cool, dark place. If you plan to keep this longer than a month, store in the refrigerator.

Cooking stages:



Part cooked…

part cooked

Nearly cooked – about five minutes longer to reduce the liquid a bit further…

nearly cooked




24 thoughts on “mastering the art of fig jam

  1. This looks unbelievable. I am so happy you used dried figs because I really just love their flavor. I’m DEFINITELY making this. I would eat it on everything, maybe even just spoon it into my mouth. I have this awesome fig/chocolate jam that I eat on apples. I’m obsessed with it. I think I”ll add chocolate to your recipe and see how that works out. I had never thought of making it myself, but now…I’m afraid you’ve set me off on a new kitchen tangent. I’m also salivating over your related fig dishes…chocolate and fig shortbread and pesto, fig, blue cheese pizza. Amazing. Well done. I’ll let you know how it goes 🙂 Enjoy the weekend.

    1. Thanks Amanda. This is easy and SO tasty. And I did spoon it right into my mouth! Shocking but true. Now I need a run. Please do make this and try it with chocolate. Because now I want to try that too. Although honestly – I’m going to have a hard time getting past cheese and fig jam. Or chicken and fig jam. Or peanut butter and fig jam. Bacon and fig jam…
      Still. Chocolate is an important food group.
      Happy Hallowe’en weekend to you Amanda. xo

    1. I made fresh fig jam once too – and it was really good but fresh figs are wickedly expensive here and so at least in our cold climate – there are better uses for the fresh ones. This jam is a breeze and so good I can’t stop eating it. It would be perfect with brie!

  2. …still in my nightie. Lol Lindy! I absolutely love fig jam, however, I have only had a store bought version. You have such a knack for combining sweet and savory. I want to savor every sandwich you mentioned. I’ll make this for sure and my sister will love me because I’ll share it with her. (I got her hooked on goat cheese and fig jam).

    1. Oh goat cheese and fig jam… Swoon.
      Putting goat cheese on my shopping list right now.
      I cannot stop eating this jam. I believe you’ll love it Seana. My daughter had a posh bottle of store bought fig jam in her fridge and I tried it but honestly – it was not this good!
      I feel like I could go into business with this jam. Course I’d need to get out of my nightie…

  3. You can keep the peanut butter! Actually, I don’t dislike it. It’s the texture. Talking of which, how are the skins of the dried figs here? I’ve only ever made fig jam with fresh – too late this year to do so. But can now buy nice-looking dried figs. Problem is, their skins can be tough. And, like so many other foodstuffs, texture is all-important. Grief, I’m missing hyphenation tonight!

    1. #Impressed-with-your-hyphenation!

      I’ll keep the peanut butter then Johnny – when we divide up assets!

      I love this jam. 😉 The flavour is divine.

      As for the texture – I like it – but then I like lumps of strawberries in my strawberry jam. And I don’t like jelly. I like seeds in my raspberry and blackberry jam too. BUT – if you wanted a smoother texture you could cut the figs into tiny bits to begin with. I cut them in quarters and when I got bored with that – I cut them in halves. They cook down and within 30 minutes they are completely soft and absorbed into the jam. But if you were in doubt – just add a bit more water and then cook a bit longer. Think you’ll love this. Be so good on your little sandwich cakes.

  4. I’m so glad to find a recipe like this, and one I can make with dried figs, since that is what’s available here. Will give this a try. I hope you will be able to make it to the GRG meeting on Tues. Let me know if you need the details.

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