Fig season in the South is so short and the fruit is so perishable that there should be a special holiday dedicated to enjoying this luscious, syrupy summertime treat. If you don’t have a fig tree in your yard, pick up a few pounds of local figs at the farmers’ market and try this easy jam. We call it a “refrigerator jam” because there’s no canning required—just make the jam on the stovetop and let it cool. Then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three months. Fig and Lemon Refrigerator Jam is a fun cooking project for a summer afternoon and a great starter recipe if you’ve never made jam before. When shopping for figs, buy them when they are ripe, but not overripe, and use them within a day or two. Check for ripeness by gently wiggling the stem of the fig. The stem shouldn’t move too much—that’s a sign the fruit might be mushy inside. The bright acidity of fresh lemon juice and zest keeps the naturally sugary figs from being cloyingly sweet. This jam is excellent on hot buttered toast or toasted baguette slices topped with fresh ricotta. It also makes a tasty addition to a meat and cheese platter.
1 pound figs, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons)
1/3 cup water
How to Make It
Stir together 1 lb. figs, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces; 1/3 cup granulated sugar; and 2 Tbsp. lemon zest in a saucepan. Let stand until figs are juicy and sugar is mostly dissolved, about 15 minutes.
Add 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (from 3 lemons) and 1/3 cup water; bring to a boil over medium. Reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until figs are tender and broken down and syrup coats the back of a spoon, about 25 minutes.
Cool completely, about 20 minutes. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 months.