One week in California is never enough.
Every few years, I escape to west coast wine country during the harvest to do what comes naturally. This visit included some very important repeat activities like… drinking wine, eating figs, reading cookbooks, cooking and wrapping food gifts, daily picnics in the vines, and more wine. Drinking wine – red, white, or sparkling – was actually a daily activity, best started just before noon.
Don’t hate me.
I suppose not everyone cooks and wraps food gifts while on holiday, but the figs were just too perfect to ignore. They showed themselves off at every single farm stand and grocery store. We wrapped them with bacon, sliced them into breakfast, saddled them up against cheese and crackers, and when I was all figged out, I made preserves.
After an emergency call to a local friend to borrow her largest canning pot, I gently and quietly created twelve jars of Fig Jam, preserves that were fairly sweet but also tinted with a bit of rosemary pulled from just outside the kitchen door. Rosemary grows like weeds in California, forming huge bushes that I just want to cut down and dry in big swags. Instead, I snipped bits to simmer in the pan and to decorate the jars.
The place we rented didn’t have any canning supplies, so I picked up some jars and an affordable canning kit from the local hardware store. My local friends kept the kit and a jar as a thank you.
I hope you still have figs at your local market or farm. They were at my local market this week. Fig jam makes the best holiday gift since most people love figs but never treat themselves with this glorious fruit. Happy harvest time! xox
Fig Rosemary Jam
Makes six 4-ounce jars plus two 6-ounce jars
- 3.5 lbs ripe mission figs, stemmed and sliced into quarters
- 1.5 lbs cane sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 3 long pieces of lemon zest
- 1 sprig of rosemary
- Equipment: 8 sterilized jars with new lids
- In a non-reactive pot in which you’ll make your jam, gently toss together the figs, sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Place 2-3 small spoons in the freezer. You’ll use these to ensure the jam sets.
- Place the pot on the stove over medium high heat. Add in the rosemary sprig. Cook to a rolling boil and stir fairly regularly to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn. You’ll notice a foam form on the top of the jam, skim the foam into the trash or just keep stirring to help that subside a bit. A little foam in your jam is a-okay.
- After 20 minutes of boiling, I test the set of my jam by putting a bit on one of the frozen spoons and returning it to the freezer for a few minutes. The jam should lose its looseness and stiffen up on the spoon. Keep testing and once it stiffens up on the spoon, your jam is ready.
- Turn off the heat and let it sit for a moment or two while the bubbles subside. Fill your sterilized glass jars within 1/4 inch of the rim and process according to your desired water bath canning process. These need at least 10 minutes in the boiling water bath.
All photos taken and styled by Maggie Battista.
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