We love Christmas in our family. I think it would be way easier to list what we DON’T love about Christmas. We love Christmas decorations, Christmas sweets, Christmas carols – which we often play and sing (very loudly and happily) completely out of season – and we love thinking about what Santa will bring us next Christmas. This year the kids are (already!) particularly excited because someone promised them puppies for Christmas (oh wait, it was me, gasp!).
But before you start with “What were you thinking?!”, hear me out – I struck a deal. No toys for whole 12 months for a couple of puppies which I was going to buy them anyway. You see the beauty of my plan? Ha – thought so. Either way, I need to save up for these puppies, have you seen how expensive they are now? Thank you Covid. But – expensive or not, they will be loved so much at our house, it’s totally worth it. And what will be loved next Christmas again too (and every other time we decide to have cheese and crackers)? This AWESOME fig jam. It’s so good and so easy to make, you will definitely be wondering why on earth you’ve ever bought fig jam and not simply made it at home.
Fig jam for Christmas and many other occasions
And yes, even though I shot these photos before Christmas and they do have a distinctly holiday theme, fig jam is not just a Christmas specific food. It’s going to be your best friend for any family gatherings, social get-togethers, lazy weekend picnics, as a lunchbox treat, or even just a cheeky cheese and cracker snack eaten while packing away all your groceries after an exhausting grocery shopping trip (or is that just me?).
This fig jam pairs perfectly with brie, camembert or any other soft creamy cheese, because it is sweet, rich, sticky and full of figgy flavour. Spread that jam on a crunchy seedy cracker or a biscuit and top with a slice of brie and you really have something. I bet you won’t be able to stop at one!
Ingredients I’ve used in this fig jam
I’ve tried to keep things simple. I have a tried and tested jam recipe that pretty much works for all fruit – minor tweaks here and there. You’ll get the idea from the cherry berry jam and mango jam recipes – the ingredients and quantities stay pretty much the same, just the fruit changes.
This recipe follows the same pattern and so, the ingredients are simple and few and, best of all, don’t include any white sugar or pectin. One of the reasons why more sugar is not needed is that dried figs are high in natural sugars so very little extra sweetening is required for this jam.
To make this fig jam, you will need:
- figs – obviously. I used dried organic figs here. While dried figs are high in sugar, as the sugar becomes concentrated when the fruits are dried (so consider this fig jam a treat if you’re trying to maintain a low sugar diet), figs also contain small amounts of a wide variety of nutrients, but they’re particularly rich in copper and vitamin B6. Source: Healthline
- Monkfruit sweetener / stevia – this natural sweetener is what I use to sweeten my jams and it works perfectly. My favourite brand is Raw Earth.
- Lemon juice – to counter and cut through all that sweeteness.
- Cinnamon – this gorgeous spice will bring out the fruitiness and figginess of the fruit in a way which I don’t quite understand but absolutely love.
- Tapioca flour – this is my favourite type of thickener for jams. I have tried chia seeds which are quite popular but my kids don’t like the texture – and I don’t blame them, it’s quite an adjustment from normal jam. You won’t have the problem when thickening with tapioca. Tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch) is a starch extracted from cassava root, works perfectly to thicken jams and, as a bonus, is wheat-free. Just look for a brand that’s preservative free.
And that’s it, folks! Make it, love it, you can thank me later. And if, you’re in Australia, happy Australia Day tomorrow – what a fantastic country we live in!
Fig jam [refined sugar free]
- 500 g dried organic figs
- lukewarm water
- 1.5 tbsp monkfruit/stevia sweetener
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2/3 tbsp tapioca flour
- extra hot water, if required
- Prepare your dried figs by pinching off the hard stalks and pop the soft fruit into a large glass (Pyrex-type of) bowl. No need to chop up the figs at this stage (though you can if you like – and then skip the chopping or snipping at step 4 below).
- Cover the figs in the bowl with lukewarm water for about 30 minutes, until the figs soften and plump up.
- Drain most of the water, leaving about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.
- Snip the figs with kitchen scissors (or cut with a knife) into small pieces (at least quarters or smaller). and pop the pieces back in the large glass bowl.
- Add the monkfruit/stevia sweetener, lemon juice and cinnamon and mix through with the figs. Microwave for 5 minutes at 80% power.
- Take the bowl out of the microwave carefully (it will be hot), and mash the figs with a fork as well as you can. If they don't come out fully mushed at this point, no need to worry – you will mash them once more down the track.
- Add the tapioca flour and mix well through the fig mixture. If the fig mixture is looking a little dry (it should be fairly moist), then add 1/2 cup of hot water and mix it through. Add extra water if need be – what you looking for is slightly wetter texture than the final spreadable jam, as it's going to cook a little longer.
- Pop the bowl back in the microwave and cook at 90% for about 3 minutes.
- Take the bowl out of the microwave again, carefully, and mash the fig mixture with a fork until the figs are fairly smooth. Let it cool in the bowl until it is safe enough to handle, I'd say at least half an hour to an hour.
- One cool enough, transfer the mixture to sterilised jars.
- The jam can be eaten straight away (once cool).
A word of warning, this recipe makes a LOT of fig jam so feel free to halve it if you just want to give it a go or you’re not big on cheese and crackers. You don’t actually use that much of it with biscuits and cheese, as it is quite rich, so a half should last you a while.
Unless of course you are looking for a fantastic homemade Christmas present to give to your friends and family, in which case make a couple of batches and enjoy all the compliments!
It would also make a fabulous end of school present for your kid’s/kids’ teacher(s) – just sayin’.
The jam will keep well in the fridge, for at least 2 months.