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There’s something special about preserves. Whether you pick up a unique jar when you’re traveling so you can “travel back” while in your own home, a friend gifts you a jar of Vanilla Chai Pear Butter, or maybe it’s making your grandmother’s Strawberry Jam with berries from your garden…. it’s a sweet taste of happiness.
I’ve had a craving for something sweet to spread on sourdough bread or swirl into oatmeal. With two rhubarb plants growing prolifically, my first project became this dried fig & rhubarb jam.
Fresh figs are hard to come by here in Minnesota (if you’re able to get your hands on them, here’s a fresh fig jam recipe!), but I stumbled upon a large bag of dried organic Mission Figs at Costco. With plenty of the two fruits to spare, I thought they were worthy of an experiment.
Over the years I’ve come to love preserving. I find it very relaxing, and there’s a satisfaction element that comes from the process. It’s a creative way for me to play with different flavor combinations and savor the best fruits of the season a little longer.
One addition I try to avoid when making preserves is artificial pectin, (the powdered kind you find in packets) which requires a mountain of sugar to thicken your jam. Because of this, I feel like the true essence of the fruit is lost, and there’s little room to work with your own flavor combinations because the instructions are so rigid.
My goal for this recipe was to use natural pectin already in the fruit, remove the refined sugar, and skip the water bath canning, giving you a less intimidating recipe – all while still achieving a firm set.
To replace the pectin powder, I used the juice of two lemons for the acidity, plus their peels. I knew both of these would help with the gelling, the white pith of the peels being high in pectin naturally. I typically macerate the fruit in raw cane sugar, but I mixed the rhubarb and figs with honey instead, then let them sit for 2 days. (This allows the fruit to release their water and soak up the sweetness of the honey.)
And the other factor would be a long simmer, to get the consistency I was envisioning.
As it puttered away on the stove, I thought about adding basil, but then I remembered I had lavender extract. It seemed like it would be the perfect floral compliment to the rhubarb, figs and honey.
I swirled it in once all the juices had evaporated, and without hesitation tasted a warm spoonful. “Amen” I said, “now that is a taste of spring.” But the real test would be if I could hold a full jar upside down without a cap, no dripping allowed.
And success! A thick, perfectly spreadable set was achieved. Because neither of the fruits are high in acidity, and there isn’t a boatload of sweetener, it is meant to be refrigerated instead of water batch canned. However it makes two pints, so one for you to savor and one to freeze or give to a friend.
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I have a ton of rhubarb in my garden and a bag o the Costco organic dried figs – then and saw this recipe. I accidentally did things a bit different – I diced up the peels and put them in.
It came out delicious – not as dark as your image but still delicious. The consistency was more like a butter than a jam. I also water bath canned the 7 half-pints (I doubled the recipe) I saw that the lemon juice doubled but the peels did not. Now on to making my English Muffin bread that this will be delish on! Thanks for a great recipe. I ordered the lavender extract – will use next time.
Yay, love hearing that. You will now have the deliciousness of rhubarb all year round since you did the water bath canning on a double batch!
Ok so I use to make/ can jam years backing white sugar and pectin. Now I do not use much of anything except powdered stevia or agave for sweetener . Any thoughts about how this would work as far as affecting the thickening process? Also if I do not want to use figs how would you advise adjusting your recipe? I want to actually can and store vs fridge. I love your rhubarb muffins!! they are the best.
Hi Judy! Agave should work well in this jam, but not powdered stevia. The figs do help with the thickening and overall flavor, so I wouldn’t change that ingredient.
I co-incidentally made this before reading your recipe. My wife was reluctant to try until I told her it was “Fig-a-Rhu” jam… once it had a name it was “OK.”
Recipe sounds wonderful. Do you think the completed jam can be frozen in small containers as I typically don’t use jam quickly? Also have you tried this in an Instant Pot? Thanks.
yes, i think it would freeze well! i have not tried making it in the instant pot.
It’s the end of fresh fig season in central Arizona. I’ve tried your recipe twice and I’m enjoying it. Unlike Minnesota, here we have figs but not rhubarb. So I’m making this with several pounds of figs, somewhat less rhubarb than you’ve specified, more honey, four whole unpeeled lemons sliced very thin, peel and pith and all, and less cooking time. The idea for using the whole lemons come from a blog called Linda’s Italian Table. I make a years worth of her Ginger fig Preserves each year, and she calls for this technique.
So glad you’re enjoying the recipe!
Rhubarb is one of my favorite spring things but I haven’t eaten it much lately because I didn’t want all the added sugar. And I never thought to combine it with figs, another favorite. I’ve like to see if I can reduce the honey and then can with a water bath canner – any idea how long they might need to process?
Are you able to can this in a water bath?
I would assume you could, but have not tried it for myself.
I made this today and it is delicious. Just have to work out how to use it all before it goes off.
You can freeze some of it if you’d like! So glad you liked the recipe.
I received a rhubarb plant from a friend and have been searching for a unique recipe. I recently purchased some fresh figs so googled ‘fig and rhubarb’ and this delicious recipe popped up! I’ve never made preserves before so am excited for my first attempt and LOVE that you use natural pectin and sweetener.
I have two questions:
1) When does the vanilla get added?
2) Do I leave the lemon peel in when I jar it up?
Hi Karen! I’ve never made this jam with fresh figs, so I’m not quite sure how it will turn out. I’ve only used dried figs as in the recipe, because fresh are so hard to get here. I’m guessing you will have to cook it quite a bit longer because the fresh will have more moisture. I added the notes about the vanilla and the peel in the recipe, thanks for catching that!
I made this jam yesterday. I especially like that it is not too sweet, and I taste the fruit and not sugar. I used green figs with red center rather than black figs, along with rhubarb from my garden; I opted to not use lavender or vanilla extract because I wanted the fruit tastes. When should I have removed the lemon peels? Though the resulting jam is very tasty, it is not what I imagined. It has a lemon-rhubarb flavor, even though I removed the lemon after the first 30-40 minutes of cooking. I gave a jar to a neighbor who plans to serve it with pork. (I still have figs and hope to try fig newtons with them). Thank you.
Hi Kathy! I’m glad you enjoyed this jam recipe. You’re right in that it does have a little lemon flavor because of using the peels, but that makes it so that you don’t have to use artificial pectin. What a nice treat to give to your neighbor!
Oh my GOSH, this is GORGEOUS. I have never preserved anything! (Well, I make pickles, but I do them the easy way.) This is probably an excellent place to start, no?
And… LAVENDER EXTRACT? You just BLEW MY MIND.
i think this would be a great start to spot because no canning required – win! but it will last nearly 3 weeks in the refrigerator, and that’s if it isn’t gone before then :) — looked like you guys had so much at Induldge! xo
Oh so lovely. This makes me think of Fig Newton filling – except homemade and better!
Oh totally! I actually should try making a homemade fig newton with it. yum….
Yes! Rhubarb fig newton! I’d buy it!
Right? I think some experimentation needs to happen….
This sounds so incredibly delicious! And I love how thick it is. Now I want to have a toast party!
i LOVE the toast party idea. once i can eat grains again we must plan that.
I make a ton of jams in the summer and always use lemon juice in place of pectin as well. It’s just easier and one less ingredient to worry about having on hand… I love both fig jams and rhubarb jams, but somehow the two haven’t met in my kitchen yet — the combo sounds incredible though!
So much easier…. and definitely takes some of the work out of it. Plus I like to try so many flavor combinations that instead of making tons of jars of one particular jam, I can play around with several. Thanks for stopping by! xo
Holy moly – 1. Lavender sounds like the PERFECT compliment to these flavors 2. I’m super impressed by the thickness you got from a no artificial pectin jam 3. That wooden bowl is SO PRETTY! I want to steal it. 4. Love love love these photos. You are my hero. I want to have a jam party with you!
Lemon!!! That’s the secret. Like I said on Instagram, I’ve always used apples for pectin…but I like the bright pop of flavor that I bet the lemon provides. Beautiful recipe Amanda!! xx
That looks fantastic! I can’t wait to try it. I’m such a sucker for a good jam ;-)
This recipe looks delicious! I can’t wait to try it, but I was wondering about the division of the honey. How much do you add for the macerating and how much goes into the pot for the jam? Maybe I missed where you delineated that, but I don’t see it. Thanks!
Thank you for catching that Amanda! I accidentally forgot to add how much to put while macerating so it’s now updated. I hope you enjoy!
Now that is a fabulous combination, love homemade jams!
I did a little dance earlier in the year when I found some rhubarb in Kroger, I live in Mississippi (but come from Scotland) and most people here have never tasted it! Figs are abundant here in the summer and I’m fortunate to know a nice lady with a fig tree :) What a super idea to pair the two fruits together! I might need to freeze some rhubarb to try your recipe later in the summer when the figs are ripe.
Too bad we can’t trade rhubarb for fresh figs – that would be bliss! On a side note, rhubarb freezes very well, and I do it often so hope you are able to make it later in the year. xo
This really looks incredible! I want to make it so bad!
Lovely recipe Amanda!!!
Thank you Charlotte! I just picked up some of the ingredients to make one of your lovely mocktails too :)
This sounds delicious! I’ve still never cooked with rhubarb, but I LOVE anything with figs :)
hi becky! i love the tartness of rhubarb, yet how it turns the corner when simmered for a long time. i so wish we had fig trees here in Minnesota!
I love everything about this! The flavours you’ve used are just perfect and, as someone who has a slight phobia about anything that involves water baths and/or sterilizing stuff, small batches of jam like this are my favourite.
gosh, and when it’s just two people in the house, i find it so convenient to have the small batches. they don’t last long, but definitely savored :) xo
Beautiful photos, Amanda! I adore figs and rhubarb. This sounds delicious!
This sounds amazing!!! I prefer making small batches of jam like this because I don’t use a ton and the water bath canning thing is such a commitment and kind of freaks me out. Love this!
Small batch cooking is totally my style. I hate letting food go to waste, so this is one way we combat that. And I know water bath canning can be a little intimidating (although it truly is easy, i’d love to teach you). I thought this way would make for a little less work!
I have never made jam before but this makes me want to start asap! I love that this is honey sweetened – honey can do some pretty magical things sometimes I think. :) Lovely, Amanda!
honey is so magical! i’m sad that we didn’t grow up eating. i have such an appreciation for the small artisans who produce the raw versions. i think you should try this jam if you’ve never done it – it’s so easy :) xo
Yum! This sounds divine! I’ve never actually tried rhubarb, but figs are one of my all-time favorite foods! I’ll definitely be trying this to pair with my PB&Js :)