Honey’d Fig Preserves – capturing summer

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(Honey’d Fig Preserves – recipe in post)


Figs are such a delicate thing. They’re soft and tender, and because of their fragile nature it’s nearly impossible to ship them without damage. Fresh and plump, they hit the shelves for only about a month before vanishing. While they’re here, they’re mild, sweet, and floral… delicate in flavor, as well as form. It was my goal this summer to capture those flavors, preserve them, and make them shine.

Enter, Honey. Sweet and floral also, they make the perfect couple.

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On their own, figs are almost too mellow to fully appreciate. Their flavor is sweet, but fleeting… and while one of the best ways to enjoy them is fresh, with honey or cheese on the side, I find that with just a touch of heat they come alive with a whole new dimension. The supple fruit seemingly melts into a rich, sweet spread. Properly canned and sealed, a jar can last as much as six months or more, staving off the winter blues until next year.

Besides spreading on toast, this jam has plenty of sweet uses. Check out this Honey’d Fig & Goat Cheese Ice Cream, or my Orange & Cardamom Spiced Honey’d Fig Tea Cake for inspiration!

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Honey’d Fig Preserves
Makes ~2 cups

1 lb. black mission figs (I’m sure Turkish or other varieties would work as well)
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
3 TBSP honey
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Gently wash and stem the figs. Cut them in half, or quarters, and add them to a small sauce pan. Add the remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Let the figs macerate for 10-15 minutes before continuing.
Set the figs over low to medium heat, and let cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has begun to break down. Using a potato masher, or the back o a spoon, smash the figs to desired consistency.
Reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes, or until the jam has thickened to your liking. To test whether the jam is gelling, keep a spoon in the freezer. Take a small scoop of jam, and let it cool on the spoon. If it’s still too runny, simmer a little longer and test again.
Spoon preserves into freshly sterilized jars, and seal tightly. Process in a canner, or a water bath, and set aside to cool. Properly sealed jars should be stored in a cool dark place for up to several months, and open jars in the fridge for up to a few weeks.

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A friend of mine once said, ‘I can hardly even look at honey without getting some on my elbow!’ After this photoshoot, I can attest – honey has a way of getting places it was never intended. I’m still wiping it off my camera equipment…

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24 Responses to Honey’d Fig Preserves – capturing summer

  1. Stephie @ Eat Your Heart Out July 17, 2012 at 12:29 am #

    This looks so good. I love fresh figs, but have such a hard time finding them, so I usually have to make do with dried figs. You can bet that I will be giving this a try next time I find them fresh, though!

  2. Jen @JuanitasCocina July 17, 2012 at 12:37 am #

    I got figs last week at the Farmer’s market. I ran home and made a fig mostardo out of them…which is basically a fig mustard jam.

    Oh em gee. We’ve been eating it all week.

    I need to go back, get more figs, and make this. Divine, sweet friend!

    • Willow July 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

      Yeah, that mustardo sounded pretty incredible – such an interesting flavor combination! The Fiance is not at all a fan of mustard, though… :/

  3. Foodie Stuntman July 17, 2012 at 12:47 am #

    I need to make these preserves! I love figs.

  4. glutenfreehappytummy.com July 17, 2012 at 1:39 am #

    oh my gosh, that looks delicious! i am such a huge fan of figs — this is right up my alley! gorgeous photos too!

  5. Eileen July 17, 2012 at 1:46 am #

    Figs and honey are one of the best combinations, no doubt! One of my neighbors has a huge fig tree–I think I may need to go over there and ask if they’re planning on using all the fruit… :)

    • Willow July 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

      Oh, wow! I would be quick to buddy up to anyone with a fig tree, for sure. It’s so hard to find them ripe and undamaged at the store!

  6. CJ - Food Stories July 17, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    Love your recipe & your pics … Hope you get the honey of all the expensive stuff :-)

  7. Riley July 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    Oh boy, does this look yummy! Figs and honey, delicious!

  8. Javelin Warrior July 20, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    On Fridays, I share my favorite food finds in a series called Food Fetish Friday – and I love this post so I’m featuring it as part of today’s roundup (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and I’m happy to be following along with your creations…

    • Willow July 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

      Thanks for letting me know. :)

  9. Anonymous July 21, 2012 at 5:20 am #

    I am willing to try my hand at canning and have been reading a lot. How much could I anticipate this making and how long does it need to cook in the water bath? Thanks for the info- looks yummy!

    • Willow July 22, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to respond – your comment got tagged as spam for some reason.

      I think it made about 2 cups of jam (not very much). I would suggest processing jars in a water bath for around ten minutes. Be sure the jars are covered by at least 1-2 inches of water, and if you aren’t using an actual canner be careful to keep the water at a gentle boil so the jars don’t jostle against each other too much. Good luck!

  10. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes July 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

    I am really jealous – there is not a fresh fig to be had in NH as far as I can tell – I really think you should send me a jar of this marvelous jam sweet lady this looks beautiful!

  11. Annette September 30, 2012 at 4:16 am #

    I tried this recipe, and it was divine! The only change I made was adding a tablespoon of really good balsamic vinegar. Yum!M

    • Willow September 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Great idea! Balsamic and figs go hand in hand. :)

  12. eh.mio November 17, 2012 at 8:43 pm #

    I have a fig tree on the yard. Just made it replacing the lemon {meyer, is it correct?} for a lime {our lemon in Mexico} It turned out a massive deliciousness. Can’t wait to try it on my no knead bread with a little spread of goat cheese! Thanks!

    • Willow November 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm #

      Wonderful – so glad you liked it!

  13. AshOGrady July 8, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    Hi, I am hoping to make your Honey’d Fig and Goat Cheese Ice Cream in three days. It looks delicious! I am hoping to make the preserves tonight. I have never canned, I only have a few empty clean mason-ish jars, and I have no idea what processing is or how to do it. Would it be okay for me to make the preserves tonight and stick them in the fridge in the jars and use them in three days for the ice cream? Thanks so much! Can’t wait to make it!

    • Willow Arlen July 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

      Absolutely! The preserves should be fine for at least a week or so with refrigeration. I hope you like the ice cream!

    • AshOGrady July 9, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      Thank you so much for your quick response, Willow! I cannot wait to make the ice cream; it looks and sounds delicious. I will report back once I’ve made it!

  14. Shelamb S August 3, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Hmmm, where is the pectin and how much do you use? All the recipes I’ve found add some kind of pectin to the mesh. Its supposed to lengthen the shelf life or something like that.

    • Willow Arlen August 4, 2013 at 5:21 am #

      Hi Shelamb, thanks for the question!

      Many jams do call for pectin, but that doesn’t mean it’s a necessary component. As far as I know, adding pectin doesn’t lengthen the shelf life (I could be wrong, but the shelf life of a preserve has more to do with sugar content and proper canning techniques).

      Personally, I think the biggest advantage to using pectin is that it thickens the jam quickly, as opposed to reducing it down until thickened, which means you can get a lot more out of the same amount of fruit. (I once made a blueberry jam without pectin, and my eight cups of blueberries had to reduce all the way down to four cups before it was a good thick consistency!) Because this recipe has very little liquid in it, I didn’t feel the need to add pectin because the mixture was fairly thick already. Does that make sense?

      I hope that answers your question!

  15. Anonymous August 17, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    wow sounds yum, I was just discussing with a friend what to do with figs. We live in Spain and sorry to make you jealous guys but we have a fig tree in our garden busting with fresh ripe figs! Will be making this so I can try the fig honey and orange cake…. just off to pick some figs and a lemon from my lemon tree :)

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