Bourbon Vanilla Fig Jam

Processing: Boiling Water Canner 15 minutes
Storage: 12 months+
Yield: 5 cups per batch
Mmm pick your favourite bourbon (or whisky) and make delicious, adults-only fig jam. Using homemade vanilla extract makes it even more special :)           
1.1kg (2½lbs) fresh figs
boiling water
3 cups sugar
4 tablespoons bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
Cover figs with boiling water.
Wash figs and drain. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for 10 minutes. Drain, discard stems and puree (or finely dice for a chunky-style jam).
Prepare jars.
Cover jars with water and bring to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes. Once the time is up, turn the heat off and leave jars in the hot water until ready to fill.
Make jam.
Whisk sugar, bourbon, vanilla and water into fig puree. Bring to a boil, and boil until gel stage is reached. Turn the heat off and whisk in the lemon juice. Cool for a minute then skim foam from the surface (if any).
Prepare lids.
Place lids into a bowl of boiled water. Remove the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.
Ladle hot jam into hot jars.
Immediately spoon the hot jam into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, check headspace is correct, then wipe rims and seal.
Process jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.
Process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes (start timer once water returns to a full boil). When time is up, turn heat off and rest jars in water for 5 minutes before placing onto a towel-covered bench overnight to cool.
Next day: check for seals.
Check jars have sealed before labelling and storing in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 12 months. Jar lids should not flex up or down when pressed.
  • Soaking the fruit softens the skin but also removes any dirt residue;
  • Use your favourite bourbon, scotch or whisky in this recipe;
  • Non-alcoholic version: replace the bourbon with water;
  • Use a vanilla bean pod instead of the extract, if preferred;
  • Test jam has set by spooning onto a cold saucer: if it "gels" it is set;
  • Bottled lemon juice is required for the acidity (or check the pH of your fresh lemon juice);
  • This jam is very dense, which is why it is 15 minutes in the canner for processing (instead of 10 minutes like normal jams);
  • Honey version: replace half a cup (or to taste) of the sugar with your favourite honey;
  • Orange version: reduce the bourbon to 2 tablespoons, add 4 tablespoons orange juice concentrate (don't add the 2tbsp water) and add a tablespoon finely grated orange zest;
  • Balsamic vinegar version: replace the vanilla with a tablespoon or so of balsamic vinegar;
  • Cinnamon version: add a teaspoon ground cinnamon (or infuse a quill during the cooking);
  • Spiced version: add a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves to the batch;
  • Serve fig jam on toast, scones, or on crusty bread with brie, or make into fig newtons or stir into softened vanilla ice-cream for a wicked treat!

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