Every time I make this refrigerator fig jam, the first question someone asks me is: what is that I’m tasting?
It’s simple: amaretto.
It goes so well with the taste of figs. But now I’ve given away the surprise.
Refrigerator fig jam is really easy. It doesn’t require a canner of any sort and you can safely have it done and in your refrigerator in under an hour…but after you try it, you may just start eating it right away. It may not be the prettiest of things, and taking a photo does pose a challenge, but I think you get the gist.
Refrigerator jam is called that because it requires refrigeration to stay stable. It’s not like jam or preserves you make in a pressure canner, where you can put those cans in your pantry and leave them for months. Refrigerator jam will spoil quickly if left out and because it’s not sterilized in the same way, it can be unsafe if left out even overnight. In the refrigerator though, it’s safe for 10-14 days.
Small batch canning like this recipe uses means you don’t need to have a lot of produce on hand to make one jar. It takes basically just one pot on the stove, a little sugar and you’re good to go.
I got my figs from Melissa’s Produce. (Thank you for providing them to us for this blog post!) They are sweet, delicious and so fresh. Figs can be used if they’re a little mushy, but they are fantastic on a charcuterie board or even with a little honey and crackers.
We used to have a few fig trees on our property in South Carolina. It would take weeks for a fig to ripen fully but then I’d have so many at once, I had to get creative to use them all without giving them away to everyone I knew. (And I still did that sometimes.) There is more than one kind of fig, but I used Black Mission figs. They are mildly sweet, firm and can be eaten plain by just biting into it like a strawberry…which I may have done with a couple. They are versatile and flavorful and perfect for a refrigerator fig jam.
Start making the refrigerator jam by quartering 12 or so figs. Place them in a small sauce pan with about 1/4 cup of water. Let them cook down for 10 minutes or so, and then add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of sugar. This is really up to you, as some people like their jams sweeter, while others want them to be more fruit-forward. I used about 1/4 cup, and I let the fruit simmer another 10-15 minutes. Throughout both simmering sessions, smash down the fruit as much as is safely possible.
Let it cool enough to not splash you with hot sugar water, and muddle down the fruit even further. Some people use an immersion blender but I like the some chunks. Let cool just a little and add the secret ingredient — or don’t, because you may find you don’t need it. For this batch, I added 1 tablespoon of good bourbon. My typical go-to is amaretto, but I’ve been doing that one for so many years, I wanted to try something new, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I’m not a scientist, so I can’t tell you the alcohol level at this point, but the flavor is minimum. (If you do it when it’s cooking, it definitely cooks out.) Place it into your canning jar, put on the lid, and refrigerate.
That’s it — it really is that simple!
Refrigerator fig jam is excellent on toast, and I prefer sourdough. It’s great on a cracker, or on a cracker spread with a little brie. Goat cheese is a good pairing as well.
This same process will work for other fruits as well, such as peaches, plums cherries and more. I love peach jam, and while I don’t always add a secret ingredient, it does take it up a notch and it’s a hit at parties. And if you do add something to peach refrigerator jam, go for that amaretto again!
Bonus: making jam always feels like fall, so if you’re looking for a way to make your house smell good and to feel like the seasons are changing, try making some jam! I promise you’ll get hooked.
Head over to Melissas.com for more ideas on what to do with fall seasonal produce. I bet you’ll get inspired.