Believe it or not, I was in college before I had ever tried a fig, like a real, fresh fig. Growing up it never occurred to me that figs might come in any form other than Newton… and then I met my husband who has given me many wonderful things in this life but towards the top is a super awesome Granny with a super awesome fig tree in her backyard. I was hooked. On the figs, on the man. At first I was disappointed that fig season is so short. It usually only lasts about a month, max, and lands in either July or August depending on what zone you’re in. But I soon learned about fig jam and the possibilities started there and became endless!
I was pretty sad when we moved to Georgia and I couldn’t get my hands on fresh figs without paying for them with an arm and a leg and my nonexistent-first-born-child at the market. But a year or two into living here and I’d met Missy, who owns a lovely little farm where she sells eggs and gives away love for free. And Missy has a fig tree.
She also has a funny little dog named Nugget that likes to run around while I pick figs:
So last year I picked a bunch of figs and made a bunch of jam. Because it’s jam it keeps for quite a while and I had more than enough to last me another year so this year I determined I was only going to pick as many figs as I was planning on eating fresh. Turns out I have no self control and just kept picking figs until it was too hot to keep going. So now I had the problem of having more figs than I knew what to do with and not needing jam and having no space in my freezer. They don’t stay ripe very long so I had to figure out something pretty fast.
I figured jam was the easiest thing to make since I’ve done it a number of times but I wanted to add something different and maybe make it a bit more savory. What I ended up doing was adding everything different. I got on Pinterest and read a few recipes on Bourbon Fig Spreads, Balsamic Fig Spreads, Fig and Bacon Spreads…you get the idea. And I got started. I de-stemmed and halved all the figs and put them in a big pot to mash. Without question my potato masher gets used way more for fruit than it ever does for potatoes. The figs are dense enough and sweet enough that I could add some sugar but didn’t need to add any other thickening agents. So at this point, with figs and sugar, I essentially had jam.
Then I got down to business. I cooked up an entire package of bacon, drained it, and set it aside while I added bourbon and balsamic vinegar. I meant to add in some onion but I forgot and though I’m sure it’d be even better with it, it tastes just fine without it too. I added in the bacon toward the end and brought the mixture to a boil before I ladled it into sterile jars, added lids, and left them to cool and seal on their own.
Obviously I had to try it the next day and plated it up with some cream cheese and crackers with a little bit of additional crispy bacon on top. I’m pretty convinced that it’s impossible to have too much bacon. Ever.
I’ve got to admit, it was an impressive little appetizer. I’d probably stick to serving it to fellow foodies and next time I’ll try adding onion. But I certainly cleared the sampler plate with no problem and it was husband-approved so I’m going to call that a win!
On a side note, several of the silver dishes in these photos are for sale in my Etsy shop!