Homemade Fig Jam
When I was a little girl one of my favorite cookies was a Fig Newton. Even if I had a choice between a chocolate cookie and a Fig Newton, I’d always take the Fig Newton. I’m a huge fan of chocolate so that actually surprises me.
A Fig Newton is pastry dough rolled up around fig paste. The taste is so simple but explodes with flavor once bitten into. Oddly enough I didn’t try the raw fruit until several years ago. Figs are just as tasty raw and they are cooked down into a thick paste, in my opinion.
When I saw a basket of figs recently in the produce section at Whole Foods I picked it up and decided to create something with it. Then I remembered having tried fig jam last year and loved it!
After scouring through countless magazines, books, and online for recipes, I decided I’d combine a few in hopes the result would be a tasty jar of jam – and it was!
What is a fig?
A fig is a succulent little fruit with blooms and seeds inside its fleshy skin. While it’s rich in natural sugar, it also has the distinction of containing as much calcium, fiber and antioxidants as any plant-based food.
Belonging to the mulberry family, most fig varieties are small ranging from 10-30 feet and thrive in warm, dry climates. Pollinated by a tiny wasp, fig trees never blossom because the flowers are on the inside, producing dozens and sometimes hundreds of minuscule seeds that give figs their unique, crunchy texture.
Each fig provides magnesium, manganese, calcium, copper, potassium, vitamin K, and vitamin B6. Together, these compounds have the capacity to regulate blood sugar levels, inhibit kidney and liver problems, and cancer, prevent macular degeneration, high blood pressure, aid in weight loss, and protect the heart.
Figs in dried form contain even greater nutritional value than fresh. A half-cup of fresh figs, provides as much calcium as one-half cup of milk, but a single dried fig contains almost as much calcium as an egg. Whether fresh or dried, figs contain powerful antioxidants that neutralize free radicals in your body and fight disease.
With all these great benefits finding ways to eat figs makes sense.
Try my Fig Jam – it takes no time at all and canning is quick and easy! This recipe is best eaten within 2 weeks and must be kept in the refrigerator. While it only makes one jar, it’s perfect from sweet to savory dishes.
In the recipe below I decided to use Coconut Sugar as a healthier option. Feel free to use regular granulated or brown sugar if preferred.
What is Coconut Sugar? Coconut sugar is the boiled and dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. It comes with a higher price tag than granulated sugar but offers the same number of carbohydrates and calories. Coconut sugar offers some trace nutrients and may have less of a dramatic impact on your blood sugar than other types of sweeteners with a glycemic index of 35 vs. 60-75. In articles that I’ve read research is still being done on Coconut Sugar, but it appears to be a better alternative, so I decided to give it a try. I couldn’t tell the difference!
Homemade Fig Jam
- 8 oz. fresh figs, rinsed, stem removed, cut in 1/2
- 1/2-1 cup coconut sugar, granulated or brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 Tbsp. fresh orange juice
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- In a nonreactive large saucepan, bring the figs, water, orange juice, and lemon juice to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the sugar. Continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until figs are completely soft, about 15 minutes. Skim off and discard any foam on the surface.
- Place jam into a clean 12 oz. canning jar (approximately). Seal and cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
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