This past week, Christmas arrived early. Without warning, our once demure, innocent, sweet fig tree who quietly welcomes us home everyday, out of the blue, let out a ferocious roarrrr! and unleashed its entire season’s pent-up bounty of fruit. All of a sudden – all at once – gifts of perfectly wrapped plump, juicy figs were (literally) dropping out of the sky and landing squarely into our happy mouths. Saying it’s been a good week would be the understatement of the century. Figstacular is more like it.
So, we’ve been harvesting figs like mad, crazy people. I think we officially have enough figs to feed the entire population of California. They’ve taken over the kitchen, the house, our lives. And they like to hang out everywhere. Sitting atop my morning granola and yogurt is their new favorite spot. Nestled in wild arugula and fennel salads or cheese platters comes in a close second. I swear I’ve even seen them on the couch, flipping through my food magazines. No matter how many we manage to gorge, the next day, we’re greeted with more. Though fighting off fig-coma, I am determined – by hook or by crook – to find a way to polish off every single last one.
Duh. Where has my head gone? Could the answer be anymore obvious?
Homemade fig jam. The ultimate solution to tame a prolific, fruit-bearing beast.
HOMEMADE FIG JAM
This is my new favorite jam. Why? It resolves my inner sweet-savory conflict and anything capable of that, earns my respect. It puts a bright twist on breakfast and makes the morning feel extra-special. No standard fare jam flavors here. And is equally delicious for dessert, drizzled over ice cream. Works just as well, if not better, spread over hearty rustic bread (walnut in particular) and accompanied with cheese, cured meats, olives and the like. Picnic approved for summer.
Music Pairing: Ben E. King, Stand By Me
- 2 pounds fresh, ripe figs, washed, stemmed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sugar (more or less depending on sweetness of figs)
- zest of 1 lemon + small squeeze of its juice
- 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
- pinch of kosher salt
Place figs, sugar, lemon zest + juice, Grand Marnier and salt in a non-reactive, deep pot. Let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature, stirring occasionally. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Continue to keep mixture at a rolling boil, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes or until thickened. Keep a close eye on it to prevent jam from burning. Gently mash fruit with a potato masher. Spoon into favorite jam jars and allow to cool to room temperature. Store covered in refrigerator for several weeks.