Figs, Glorious Figs!

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 bakerslove.typepad.com

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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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14 Responses

  1. Avatar Lana says:

    I'm trying this!!! Sounds great! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Avatar Gloria says:

    Yum…

  3. Lincoln Lincoln says:

    Jam sounds great, but the appetizer sounds even better. We're on the case, with our own secret fig tree! Megathanks.

  4. Avatar 2R's says:

    Great story..Love the expression and Gratitude,for the found treasures,of your funky new home..Congradulations,and Enjoy the figs..

  5. Avatar Sue says:

    Oh Andrea, this sounds wonderful!

    I had a fig tree that I loved but I had to leave it behind in CoCo county along with my faithful Meyer Lemon. Miss them to this day. If I can find 3 pounds of figs I'm gonna make jam.

  6. I love figs…no, really, it's almost obscene how much I love them! So if you have any extras, I'll be glad to take them off your hands!

  7. Avatar Susie Reeder says:

    Andrea,

    I'll never forget the AMAZING fig tart you made for Bill's BD a few years ago. His BD is next Tuesday, so I need to get the recipe from you!

  8. Avatar River City Sue says:

    Mother's Fig Jam

    2 6 oz strawerry or raspberry jello

    6 C figs, ground

    6 C sugar, or less

    Mix sugar & figs together, bring to boil, add Jello, boil 5 min. Put in sterilized jars. Makes 5 1/2 pts.

    Super easy. Makes scrumptious gifts

    • Andrea Charroin Andrea Charroin says:

      Thank you for sharing your recipe for fig jam. I have never used jello for my jams, but I your jams set up in a breeze!

  9. Avatar Doug Mudford says:

    Andrea

    We're splitting bird watch duty on our two fig trees…got the first handful of fat, black figs two days ago. There's a lot of happy chirping going on around those trees. Yea for figs…ate the first one before I made it back to the house.

    Doug

  10. Avatar pmarshall says:

    We have two fig trees. We also have lots of birds. Our yard is a bird "sanctuary". Glad to know about the recipes –if we have any left.

  11. Avatar Don Cohen says:

    Great article about my fav fruit. While it's true that figs picked green will not get ripe, I think you'll find that if you pick when they are starting [turned color and a little soft] they will continue and be perfect in a day or two. Birds usually wait until they are fully ripe leaving you a larger share of your crop. Rabbits, squirrels, turkeys, deer, and racoons are not however as fusy.

  12. Avatar Sheila Barnes says:

    I love my fig tree as well. She is sturdy and lovely and old … and FULL of figs. We inherited this baby (she was young at the time) when we bought our property in the late '70's. We are, unfortunately, not that fond of figs. Our daughter considered this her own private climbing tree and sanctuary from the world when she was young. Although this tree has been pruned a number of times, by late spring, her sweeping branches still grace the orchard floor. I also love to crawl under these branches and just sit inside. The noise of the world is muted and regardless of the searing heat outside, it is lovely cool in there. I love this tree, but not the fruit she offers. Barbara and Sue, if you would like some figs, please respond as I am sure I could provide them. Andrea, I think you may remember this tree. If you still need figs, please let me know!

    • Andrea Charroin Andrea Charroin says:

      Thank you for sharing Sheila! Yes I do remember this tree, as well as our time spent at your home fondly.