Figs, Glorious Figs!

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Have you ever had that feeling that you are exactly where you are supposed to be for that moment? I feel like that about our new home. Sure, the house is old and funky (I love funky) and there is a lot of work that needs to be done, but daily the house surprises us with little secrets that are uncovered by living here. Discovering a hidden fountain behind an overgrown plant, or the little stone fox that was seated next to a Buddha, have delighted us since we moved in.

Another treasure we get to enjoy here is the bounty of the ancient fig tree. This fig tree is amazing! The guys (my sons) like to crawl inside it and climb its sturdy branches. I even thought of placing a chair under the tree for a quiet secluded place to sit and read on a cool morning.

I have never been successful with having a fig tree. Seems like each time the figs were ripe the birds would get to them before me. So not to be outsmarted by birds, I have been watching this tree like, well, like a hawk. Each day we would check on the figs, never quite ripe for eating. Remember, figs do not ripen once they are picked. Low and behold, on Saturday the fig gods were blessing our tree, and the bounty was a little out of control. All four of us were picking, eating, and enjoying the fun of finding more and more figs to enjoy!

What to do with about 200 figs? Well, for dinner we had figs stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in prosciutto, a heavenly starter, yellow squash plucked from the garden, and a simple salad. I knew that we would not be able to enjoy all of the figs, so I decided to make jam.

Fig jam is really simple; toss in the ingredients, and let the magic happen. Enjoy!

Fig Jam

  • 3 pounds of fresh figs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice and zest of one lemon

Remove stems from figs and chop in quarters.

In a large sauce pan, combine figs and sugar. Let sit overnight.
Add the lemon zest and juice; cook the figs to a simmer, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer on low heat for about an hour.
Remove the cover. If you prefer a smooth jam, use an immersion blender or a food mill to achieve the desired texture.
Continue to simmer until the mixture becomes thick, about 10 more minutes.

Pour mixture into sterilized jars, leaving about a ½-inch space between the lid and the jam. Place lids on jars, secure with ring. Process in boiling water for about 15 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and place upside down on a dish towel to cool.

Makes 4 half-pint jars.

Andrea Charroin is a trained baker and was a pastry chef in San Francisco before she and her family moved to Redding 11 years ago. After falling in love with Redding’s downtown, Andrea and husband Westley opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie, across from the Cascade Theatre. For the three years Rene-Joule was in business, it was renowned for making everything from scratch, using the best ingredients and keeping with a seasonal menu. To this day, Andrea is asked about her Marathon Bars, Orange Twists and sourdough bread.

Copyright 2011 Andrea R. Charroin. Visit her blog at

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Andrea Charroin
Andrea Charroin is a trained baker and pastry chef. She worked in San Francisco before she, her husband, Westley, and their two sons moved to Redding. They fell in love with Redding’s downtown and opened a little pastry shop, Rene-Joule Patisserie.
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