Sweet, fresh figs are one of the best parts about summer. Their floral sweetness pairs perfectly with the flavors of saba, an Italian syrup made of grape must. The syrup picks up a rich smokiness as it reduces, which shines in this jam. A little bit of fenugreek seed and black pepper help take this creation to the next level.
This jam is high in sugar, so watch it closely as it cooks. The liquid needs to evaporate in order for the jam to reduce, but caramelizing figs can burn easily if left unchecked.
To learn more, read “Jam Session.”
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus macerating and canning time
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes, plus macerating and canning time
2½ pounds Black Mission figs, roughly chopped
1 cup sugar
¼ cup saba
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds, toasted and ground
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 sterilized pint jars with lids and rims
1. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and let sit until the sugar dissolves and the figs start to weep, 30 minutes.
2. Transfer the fig mixture to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid evaporates and the mixture has thickened, 20 minutes.
3. Divide the jam between 2 mason jars, pressing the mixture down until there is only about ½ inch of space left at the top of each jar. Wipe the rim then affix the lid on each jar.
4. Bring a stockpot filled with enough water for the jars to be completely submerged to a boil. Arrange the jars on a wire rack and lower into the pot. Boil the jars for about 15 minutes.
5. Carefully remove the jars and let them cool to room temperature on a folded towel, making sure not to disturb the lids. Check the seal after 24 hours; it should not flex when pressed in the center. The jam will keep for up to 1 year.
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