baked oats green chile chicken enchiladas chow mein bakery-style butter cookies

copyright jennifer yu © 2004-2023 all rights reserved: no photos or content may be reproduced without prior written consent

the place to be

Recipe: fig brandy jam

People love to visit the mountains. I know this because I live here and see them flocking to the trails and campgrounds on summer weekends or flocking to the ski slopes on winter weekends. Then there is the unavoidable leaf-peeping which involves more flocking to our grand aspen stands in autumn. It’s the place to visit. It takes a little something different to want to live in the mountains. Life is a lot less “convenient” here compared to life in suburbia or the city, but I dare say it is a splendid life and it does right by me.

glowing sunset after a storm clears

trail running beautiful mountain forests

so many streams


mushroom (porcini)

jeremy cradles the precious finds

Of course, what the mountains really lack is access to good food, and by good food, I mean good ingredients. I drive down the canyon to Boulder and surrounds at least twice a week to gather groceries for cooking, blogging, and client projects. Last week, my friend, Garrett, of Vanilla Garlic, posted a recipe for fig and brandy jam. It sounded incredible and looked super easy. I was all over it when I saw that organic figs were on sale in town. [Believe me when I say it isn’t lost of me that we live in such a paradise with access to a great town like Boulder, Colorado.]

sweet black mission figs

for the jam: sugar, lemon (juice), brandy, and figs

You know how a poofy down sleeping bag is supposed to be squashed into a teeny stuff sack that is a fraction of the sleeping bag’s unpacked volume? My list of things to do is the sleeping bag, and my calendar is the stuff sack. With such a full schedule, a jam recipe as simple as this one is PERFECT. Chop the figs and toss with the rest of the ingredients, then let them macerate in the refrigerator overnight. That’s about 30 minutes of work the first day.

slicing figs into 1/2-inch pieces

juice the lemons

prepped and ready to mix

combine everything in a large bowl

toss to coat the figs

Actually, you could get away with macerating for an hour (minimum), but I liked the idea of macerating for 24-hours and then dealing with the second half of the recipe when I had more time (the next day). Do what works for your schedule. When the figs are done, there will be a lot of excess boozy sweet fig juice in the bowl. That’s good stuff! Bring it all to a boil over medium heat and stir occasionally for a half hour or so until the jam thickens. It will be a gorgeous deep wine color.

after macerating for 24 hours

place everything in a large pot and bring to a simmer

thickened after 40 minutes of simmering

spread some jam on a plate and let it cool to test if it’s thick enough

spoon into jars

This jam can be canned, but I chose to refrigerate it instead because the yield is small at just under 4 cups and I wanted to use it for entertaining. If you do can it, Garrett says to leave 1/4-inch headspace. I served mine alongside some brie, prosciutto, fresh figs, and bread (or crackers). It was sublime. Both Jeremy and our house guest from Norway liked it very much. My only complaint is that the brandy didn’t have much flavor representation in the final jam. You could definitely smell the alcohol boiling off during the jamming process, but it mostly tasted of fig in the end. And I should add that homemade fresh fig jam is a billion times prettier and tastier than store-bought fig jam. So while figs are in season, consider making some of your own. Then enjoy it in your favorite place to be!

a little appetizer board

fig jam, toast crisps, prosciutto, (stinky) brie, and fresh figs

a little nibble

Fig and Brandy Jam
[print recipe]
from Garrett at Vanilla Garlic

2 lbs. fresh figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup brandy

Place the figs, sugar, lemon juice, and brandy in a large non-reactive bowl. Toss until the figs are coated in the sugar, lemon juice, and brandy. Cover with plastic and let sit for at least an hour and up to overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the contents of the bowl into a large saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook for 30-40 minutes until the fruit softens and the liquid becomes thick. If you put a little spoonful on a plate and let it cool, the cooled consistency should be that of a jam. Place the jam in jars. If canning, leave 1/4-inch headspace and process as you do. Otherwise, seal the jars and refrigerate for up to 1 month or freeze for several months. Makes just under 4 cups.

more goodness from the use real butter archives

fresh figs with blue cheese and honey prosciutto-wrapped figs tomato jam strawberry vanilla jam

18 nibbles at “the place to be”

  1. Jenny Hartin says:


  2. meg says:

    Wonderful! I really wish I could get fresh figs here

  3. Shauna says:

    If canning this, you should use bottled lemon juice because the pH of fresh lemon juice is not consistent. See and comment 12 there.

  4. Shoshanna says:

    Is there a way to make this jam alcohol free? I am all for alcohol but want to give this to a toddler… ;)

  5. JulieT says:

    Oh boy I am running over to Whole Foods to grab some figs right now (while they are still on sale here in Boulder) and get this for-the-weekend mouth party started. I was in your happy town Sunday-Holy Blow-the-house-down-Dorothy there were flying monkeys on the trail to Mt. Audubon!

  6. farmerpam says:

    Lovely, this I will have to make. I’ll have to plan a trip to the big city to get some figs. I, too, live in the wonderful mountains,(nowhere near as high as yours though), the place where folks come for vacation. ahhhh, ya gotta love it. I’ve been getting to the trails really, really early, then I meet folks coming up as I’m coming down. Life is good!

  7. Christine says:

    I’m so excited to try this. My dear friend has a fig tree dripping with fruit. Now for you, I’d like to share a recipe that I found online for some crackers that look very similar to the ones on your tray. I’ve made these several times using different combinations of fruit and nuts and seeds. They are delicious and a fraction of the cost of the store bought version:

  8. Tegan says:

    How do you juice your lemons? Any citrus juicer I’ve used has always either been incredibly messy and not always fabulous or left a fair amount of unbroken juice-boxes (I don’t know what the little juice filled cells are called — that’s what we’ve always called them in my family). But yours look beautifully juiced!

  9. Tegan says:

    @Shoshonna — you could try brandy flavoring. It’ll be next to vanilla in the baking aisle.

  10. megan says:

    Wow! This looks so delicious. Even the fresh figs look juicy and sweet on their own!

    Yes, how did you juice the lemons? It almost looks like the fleshy pulp was scooped out!

  11. Brianne says:

    Yum! I loved Garrett’s post on this last week, and this is making my doubly drooly! I’ve never found good figs here in Maine…I bought a box out of sheer desperation once, but they were so awful that I won’t ever do it again. I’ll just keep dreaming of this stuff!!

  12. Shari Q. says:

    This looks wonderful! I’ve never heard of it but I do can and this sounds like wonderful Christmas gifts!
    Now I have to find figs. Thanks Jen!

  13. Teffany says:

    Could you use honey instead of sugar? Is the sugar necessary to gel?

  14. Anna says:

    YUMMMMM!! I hope I can find figs around here…

  15. jenyu says:

    Jenny – xo

    meg – awww, I wish you could too!

    Shauna – yes, I am aware. Although Marisa’s strawberry jam recipe calls for fresh squeezed lemon juice…

    Shoshanna – yes, you can omit the brandy. Maybe add some vanilla instead. Although I think most if not all of the alcohol gets cooked away during the process.

    Julie T – ahhh, that’s a great hike!

    farmerpam – right on, sistah xo

    Christine – thanks for that link! I will definitely have to make my own (because they really are dang expensive!) :)

    Tegan & megan – I have a Cuisinart automatic citrus juicer. It does a nice job and cost about $30. Definitely worth it for me as I juice lots of citrus all the time. I get much better juice yield this way too compared to hand juicing.

    Brianne – such a bummer :(

    Shari Q – you’re welcome!

    Teffany – I think the figs are responsible for the gelling. And yes, you can probably use honey instead of sugar as there are a lot of recipes out there for honey-fig jam. That said, I’m not sure it’s a 1 to 1 substitution in this recipe, so do a little research or use a tested recipe that you can trust.

    Anna – :)

  16. Rodyates says:

    I have some doubts about adding alcohol to jam. When my kids were still 6,8,and 10 we picked blackberries, and boiled them up at a campsite, to make jam. I added pectin and rum, not realizing that the rum would neutralize the pectin. For the rest of the weekend, I had three kids rolling around in the back of the van, eating the liquid mix and cream, all the way back home. They only remember that it was a good weekend, and their mother never found out.

  17. Eli says:

    I can’t seem to find the amt of figs, sugar and brandy can you tell me how much of each in this recipe. Thanks

  18. jenyu says:

    Eli – the amounts are listed in the recipe at the bottom of the post.

leave a reply