When the birds start swarming my wild fig tree, I know that the figs must be ripe. Figs are probably my absolute favorite fruit, but we typically don’t get more than a handful from our tree because the birds always get to them first. Luckily, my mom has several trees and always shares. My wild figs are greenish yellow vs. my mom’s Mission figs, which are dark purple when ripe. Both varieties have deliciously sweet dark fruit in the middle. Fresh, ripe figs are so good, but turning them into jam will stretch fig season into the fall and winter. This Balsamic Peppercorn Fig Jam is amazing spread on crackers with a little goat cheese. I served it back in the spring for a dinner party and I think we went through two jars in a matter of 30 minutes.
To prepare the jam, wash your figs (any variety), and slice off the very top where the stem is attached. Depending on the thickness and condition of the skins, you can scoop out the insides or just chop the entire figs, skin included. The skins will cook down and blend fine into the jam, although I removed some of mine that were especially thick.
Balsamic Peppercorn Fig Jam
2 C. of chopped figs
1/2 C. sugar,
1/4 C. balsamic vinegar,
1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
Bring to a boil over medium-low heat in a saucepan and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture becomes thick and jam-like (about 15 minutes for this small portion). Spoon into a sterilized jelly jar and store in the fridge. This recipe makes one 12-ounce jar of jam. You can make a larger batch of jam by multiplying the recipe. Process the filled jars in boiling water for 15 minutes to seal – sealed jam can be stored in the pantry for up to a year. Note: I like the peppercorns mixed into the jam, but you can also bundle them in cheesecloth while cooking and then toss them before jarring up the jam.