Sunday, August 16, 2015

Balsamic Fig & Onion Jam

I've been on a bit of a canning binge this week and wanted to do something different than I usually do. A new Italian Store opened in Calgary and I was fairly intrigued by the fresh figs. They have a pretty short time that they're in season and I tend to buy a lot of onion fig spread for sandwiches and cheese toppers. I have pretty good stock of balsamic on hand and chose to use a mixture of regular and an infused white one but you can definitely use all of just one type. Since I had it already this didn't cost me more than the figs (About $15). If you don't have balsamic kicking around you're probably looking at another $10-40. Even accounting for this, the jam's cost is under $2.50/jar. Way less then the store with nothing in it you don't know about! Once canned it will last up to a year and makes great gifts or is just good to have on hand. I couldn't find a recipe for this that had everything I wanted to I kind of combined three different ones and canned it based on my (limited) canning knowledge.


1.5 - 2 pounds Figs
2 Cups diced red onion (one medium/large red onion)
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup White sugar
2/3 cup Balsamic (good quality)
1/2 cup White Balsamic (I used an Orange Vanilla infused one)
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 1/2 tsp Salt
Fresh Ground black pepper


Prepare figs, wash and lightly wipe with a paper towel to remove any dirt. Cut off the stem and quarter the figs. Set aside.

Saute the diced red onion in the grapeseed oil, you can't use more oil than this if you're planning on canning the product as oil is a great home for botulism to hide and no one wants that! Add the salt to sauteing onions to help draw out some of their water. I let the onions cook out for about 5 minutes then added a bit of the balsamic and let them cook in that for another 5 minutes, caramelizing in the balsamic a little bit.

Add the figs, sugars, lemon juice, remainder of the balsamic vinegar's and pepper to taste - I added about 1 tsp.

Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer to reduce, this will take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes. Continue stirring to prevent it scorching to the bottom of the pan. After that point the figs should be really soft and should easily crush under the spoon. It should have been reduced by about a third.

*However, you can pick the consistency you want between very thin and more of a dip, or thick as a spread. I made mine more of a spread, it will coat a spoon.

Save about 1/2 cup of the liquid in the pan and put it aside. You can add this back in to loosen the mixture after blending.

I used my immersion blender to blend the mixture into a spread consistency. You can decide if you want to add back some, none or all of the reserved liquid here.  I did end up adding back in all the liquid and letting it simmer for another 5 minutes. If you don't have an immersion blender you can transfer it to a blender to mix it and puree, do this in batches so your blender doesn't overflow. Even if its only half full, hot liquids will expand a ton in the blender.

Once the mixture has reached a consistency you would like to can, remove it from the heat and process. I had a little short of 2lbs of figs but I think if I had had the full 2lbs I could have made 12, 4oz jars - I only got 11.

*Here are some basic canning directions, for a little more in depth on the process, use this site as a guide.

Bring a large pot of water with canning rack to a boil and let boil for 2-5 minutes before starting.

Ensure your jars and lids are sanitized and fill with the mixture. Wipe rims of jars to ensure a good seal. Place lids on jars and tighten gently.

Place jars in boiling pot on the rack and lower in to pot, boil for 15 minutes.

Remove from pot, let rest and cool.

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