A few weeks ago, I managed to find fresh figs at Trader Joe's for only $2 a pound! I quickly snapped up four pounds, and used half of the figs to make this fantastic jam. Since it doesn't use pectin, it's not overly sweet, and the balsamic vinegar adds a lovely acidic element. This jam is fantastic with cheese and crackers - here, I served it with a creamy blue cheese, and the two were a perfect pairing. But, it's not just good in savory bites - I've also enjoyed it on toast and in a plain old PB&J. This is one jam I may be keeping all for myself rather than giving it away...it's that good!
Fig-Balsamic Jam (adapted from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, via Authentic Suburban Gourmet and The Gingersnap Girl)
Makes 4 half pint jars
2 pounds fresh figs, stems removed, coarsely chopped
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 T lemon juice
1. Combine the figs, sugar, and vinegar in a large pot (use the biggest you've got for jam-making so you don't risk boiling over). Bring to a simmer, and then reduce heat to medium low, maintaining a gentle simmer and stirring often. Continue to simmer and stir until the jam thickens and passes the gel test, about 30 minutes.
2. Use an immersion blender to blend the jam until it's as smooth as you like it - I made mine fairly smooth. Stir in the lemon juice and briefly return to a boil.
3. Transfer the jam to sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. Make sure to check seals before storing.