Stop spending $8 for a jar of fig jam in the grocery store and take 25 minutes to make this vanilla bean fig jam at home. Pair it with aged gouda and crackers, drop it over warmed cream cheese on a bagel, or spread it on a fancy grilled cheese sandwich: the possibilities are endless!
Is there anyone still on the Fig Newton train? Anyone?
I grew up LOVING Fig Newtons – the OG – not any of the inventive flavors Nabisco introduced in the 90s. And certainly not the reduced fat variety. Again: thanks 1990s low-fat frenzy for ruining a good thing.
I will admit that I do still enjoy a FN from time to time. And by time to time, I mean once every 5 years. I just don’t buy packaged cookies anymore, save the odd package of Oreos if I need them for a recipe. Or two.
If I do eat Newtons, it’s usually an impulse buy in a gas station convenience store or 7-11 when we’re traveling. There’s just something about an individual package of Newtons when you’re on the road! I don’t know.
ANYWAY. Fig Newtons obviously have no bearing on the vanilla bean fig jam that I’m shoving in your face today. Or I guess I should say that I’m stuffing it in MY face because, well, I’ve already made the jam. The only link between the two is the presence of figs.
And OMGah! This is one hell of a jam! A little sweet. The tiniest bit tart. And with just a little sugar, compared to most jams that are loaded with sugar, this recipe allows the subtle fig flavor to shine through. The flavor of the vanilla bean is just a complement here, not the star, though you can see the little vanilla bean flecks through the jam!
You may be wondering about the sugar part since sugar is both used as a preservative and to help thicken the jam. Well once again, I decided to not can this jam. This recipe made a very small batch – I’ve got a two 8-ounce jars in the fridge that I’ll use up over the next couple of weeks (or freeze before then if I feel like it) and I gave a 4-ounce jar to my mom to take home with her since she did most of the work for this recipe in chopping the figs.
The jam itself came together in a snap. Seriously! It was BY FAR the easiest jam recipe I’ve made in looong time.
Add the chopped figs to a saucepan with some water, sugar, the scraped vanilla bean, and some lemon juice. Cook for about 10 minutes until thickened then mash/blend to a jammy consistency.
Could that BE any easier? (a la Chandler Bing!) Also can we get a HOLLA for Joey’s jam face cause that’s sometimes how I think I must look like at the end of a jar.
In any event, figs are only in season for a little while longer – Trader Joe’s has a giant package for around $5! – so get ’em while you can! And then you can stop spending $8 a jar on fig jam in the grocery store and get on making things like bacon, brie, and fig jam grilled cheese with this vanilla bean fig jam. Just sayin’.
Vanilla Bean Fig Jam
- Prep Time: 10min
- Cook Time: 15min
- Yield: 4 to 5 8-ounce jars
I only had about 2 ¾ cups chopped figs so I adjusted the below recipe and used 70% of the ingredients listed with the exception of the vanilla bean (used the whole bean). If you have enough figs, go ahead and make the full recipe – you won’t be sorry.
4 cups (662 g) chopped fresh figs
½ cup (120 ml) water
1 cup (191 g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 vanilla bean
Add the figs, water, sugar, and lemon juice to a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, seed, and scraped the seeds to the pan.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a low boil over medium-low and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often to prevent the sugars (granulated and natural in the figs) from burning. Once the liquid has thickened to a jammy consistency, remove the pan from the heat.
Puree the mixture in a food processor, blender, or with a stick blender to desired consistency. I used the latter since I have better control over the puree with this tool. I left some texture to the figs but it’s up to you how smooth or chunky you leave the jam.
Return the jam to the saucepan and cook for an additional 5 minutes over medium-low to boil off any excess liquid that would prevent the jam from setting properly.
Transfer the jam to clean jars, leaving ½-inch headspace at the top of the jars and seal immediately. Refrigerate or freeze after they have cooled. Jam will keep for up to 2 weeks in the fridge and probably a couple of months in the freezer.
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