I have a love-hate relationship with the fig trees in our back garden. It’s mostly love, since they’re mature and beautiful, and provide wind-break and shade in the summer and beautiful structure in the winter. The hate comes in October & November, when I am out every day/weekend raking up tons and tons of leaves, mixed with fallen, over-ripe figs that turn into glue if you get any on your shoes. Also, bird poop made exclusively of fig seeds. Although, it’s fun to watch the Starlings discover that the fruit is ripe, put the APB out to all their starling buddies, then fight heartily over whose trees they really are. Apparently not mine for about 2 weeks.

But back to the love. One obvious benefit would be… the figs! There are 2 different trees; I think that they are Conadria (large, vigorous, bright green fruit) and Verte (or Green Ischia) (smaller, less vigorous, yellowish-green fruit). The larger tree produces 2 crops per year, one in late summer and the other in late fall. (Insert here a big raspberry to everyone who says that fig trees don’t work in SF, or if they do it’s only on the south end of town. We’re as north as you can get without being in Marin.) Ahem. My point…:

Four pounds, baby!

Here’s what’s happening with the bounty:

Fig Jam with Lemon & Sesame

1 1/4 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

2 lbs. ripe figs, trimmed & quartered

2 3″x1″ strips lemon zest (from the Meyer lemon tree in your garden, of course!)

2 tbs. lemon juice

1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted

  • Heat water & sugar until sugar is dissolved
  • Stir in figs, zest & lemon juice
  • Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until thick & syrupy, 1.5-2 hours (My figs are kind of juicy, so I need more time than this)
  • Stir in sesame seeds

Of course, you can omit the sesame seeds, but OMG they add this incredible nutty dimension to the jam.

And that’s the truth. Pthbthththth.

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