We be jammin’
I know, right? Whiskey, plus bacon, plus glorious FIGS… who knew? From the fortuitous moment that I got three crates of fresh California Figs from the Food Bloggers Los Angeles’ Figology Fest, endless possibilities started running through my head.
Figs are such a versatile fruit, with so many varieties and complexities in flavor! Allow me to break down some of the different variations in relatable terms– through the language of wine, of course:
- Black Mission – The Cabernet of figs. Purple and black skin, with a deep, earthy flavor.
- Brown Turkey – The Pinot Noir of figs. Light purple to black skin, with a robust flavor.
- Calimyrna – The Chardonnay of figs. Yellow/pale green skin, with a buttery, nutty flavor.
Clockwise: Calimyrna, Black Mission and Brown Turkey Figs
Not only are figs varied in color and flavor, but they also boast a variety of health benefits. For example, the fig is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. Plus, they’re rich in antioxidants and fiber. What’s not to love?
Here are some fun facts… you know, just in case you’re ever on “Jeopardy” and “Figs” happens to be a category: Figs are in season for most of the year (from May through December), and wasps are the only pollinators of this unique fruit. Plus, did you know that 98% of the nation’s fresh figs are grown in California? Or that 100% of dried figs also hail from Cali? Just another reason to be proud of our stellar state! California Love, all the way.
The figfest was not only a great chance to catch up with the fab bloggers that comprise our fun-loving foodie group, but also an opportunity to explore the different ways that figs can enhance any given part of a meal. A variety of fresh figs starred in everything from drinks to savory dishes to desserts during our figgy soiree.
Created by two amazingly talented ladies, Erika (In Erika’s Kitchen) and Judy (Two Broads Abroad), here are some of the goodies they served up for summer “fig-spiration” (okay okay, last fig pun… for now!):
Left to right: Fig & Olive Focaccia, Fresh Fig Tart, Boozy Fig Milkshake, Stuffed Figs a la Blue
Spicy Pork & Fig Skewers
Fresh Fig Tart Slices
Fig Zinfandel Sorbet with Candied Walnuts and Fig Caramel
After tasting all this “fig-tastic” food (ha… couldn’t help myself!), we went home with an abundance of assorted figs. I really love a good sweet-savory combination, so I thought that a great way to prolong the life of these figs would be to turn a handful of them into a jam. A bacon and whiskey jam, to be exact.
The recipe I created also has a secret little kick– in the form of a dash (or two) of Sriracha!
The Basics: Fresh Figs, Whiskey, Bacon
For jams like this, I’m a big believer in improvisation and innovation with what you’ve got. So if you don’t have all these ingredients sitting in your pantry, don’t stress– you can always create your own flavor profile using the fig-bacon-whiskey base.
I just love the flavor and texture of using fresh figs here, but the other nice thing about this recipe is that you can substitute dried figs if fresh ones aren’t in season. Big thanks once again to California Figs for the fig love!
So here it is… a little boozy, jammy, hint-of-savory goodness for you to enjoy in any way you can think of!
Fig Jam: The Evolution
Whiskey Bacon Fig Jam
- 12 fresh figs (preferably Mission)
- 4 strips thick-cut bacon
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup whiskey
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (optional)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a heavy-bottomed pan with a lid, brown the bacon. Remove the bacon and set aside. Drain all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat.
Add shallots and sauté until softened, over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients except lemon juice and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, crumble the bacon and add it to the pot.
Reduce heat and partially cover the pot, while continuing to simmer. Stir occasionally until the mixture reduces to a thicker, syrup-like consistency.
Add lemon juice. Pour mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Final step: enjoy your boozy, bacon-y, figgy jam! It spreads wonderfully on crisp toast, adds a savory-sweet textural component to cool, creamy ice cream, and is great rolled into croissant dough and baked with a little mascarpone or Brie cheese. You can even glaze your chicken with it and bake it for dinner.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Whiskey Bacon Fig Jam on Vanilla Ice Cream – A surprisingly craveworthy combination!
This post was sponsored by California Figs. All opinions are my own.
All photos copyright © Tanaya’s Table.