The Lebanese Fig Knotted Jam
with Walnuts and Sesame Seeds,
and Fragrant with Anis and Mastic
“Native to the Middle East and western Asia, it has been sought out and cultivated since ancient times and is now widely grown throughout the world, both for its fruit and as an ornamental plant.” The Fig: its History, Culture, and Curing, Gustavus A. Eisen, Washington, Govt. print. off., 1901
I grew up with this Fig Jam sweetening my goat cheese sandwiches and toasts. If you are Lebanese, you know what I am talking about. If not, you will come to experience today a Jam like no other, rich with natural sweetness, fragrant with Anis and Mastic, and softly crunchy with Walnuts and Sesame Seeds. It is a Jam that brings in the health benefits of the Fig Fruit, and is enjoyed as is with bread, or with cheese.
The Mastic brings in a special exotic fragrance. It is recommended yet optional if you don’t have access to it in your area.
Our Fig Knotted Jam is usually, but not always, made with Dried Figs which turn even sweeter when cooked. It also produces a more chewy texture with parts that can be sometimes too dry. With this recipe today, using Fresh Figs, the outcome is a softer chewiness with just enough sweetness to make it highly enjoyable, and… less fattening.
“Figs are not Fruits. They are inverted flowers within the pear-shaped bloom they produce. ~ Reference The Huffington Post, 2016
Figs are high with natural sugars. Therefore, this recipe doesn’t add sugar. It uses 100% Pure Honey, and in less quantity. The outcome is a very delicious Fig Jam that is sweet enough yet not too much as to overcome the taste of figs.
The Fig Fruit comes with great health benefits. They are rich in nutrients and calories which makes them a high energy source. In Lebanon, we indulge plenty in them, fresh or in jams and desserts.
The country enjoys a wide spread of Fig trees of several types. However, the fruits don’t preserve long like Apples and Oranges. They must be consumed fast when fresh, and most are converted to dried fruits or preserved jams.
Dried figs are packed and sold everywhere in local supermarkets. Fig Jams are of two main types: the plain one, and the Maaqood (knotted), which is the jam “knotted’ with walnuts, and sesame seeds, and sometimes pine kernels. It is today’s recipe in a healthier version.
May you enjoy it and make it plenty!
The skin is usually one of the highest pectin parts of the fruit, which allows a better jam texture and less cooking time. We don’t peel the figs in this recipe.
Lebanese Fig Jam with Walnuts
Don't peel the figs. The skin is usually one of the highest pectin parts of the fruit, which allows less cooking time.
- 3 cups Figs (unpeeled) remove the stem, and slice them before you fill the cups to have the adequate quantity of this recipe.
- 1 cup Honey pure
- 3 tbsps Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 cup chopped Walnuts
- 2 tbsps Sesame seeds Toasted
- 1 tsp Ground Anise
- 2 pebbles Mastic (optional but desirable) Pound them with a dash of sugar into powder.
- Immersion Blender or similar
- Deep and Narrow Saucepan (medium size)
- Can Glass Jar(s) sterilized
In the Saucepan, combine figs, honey, and lemon juice. Turn on the heat to Medium and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to Low, and simmer, stirring regularly, for 25 minutes, until the mixture thickens.
Run the Immersion blender in the mixture to pulverize and incorporate the skins.
Add the walnuts, the sesame seeds, the ground Anise, and the powdered mastic. Stir and allow it to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a tablespoon, gently transfer the hot jam into the sterilized jars. Close them tightly.
Place the jars in a large saucepan with water. Turn on the heat to High, and allow it to boil for 10 minutes.
Carefully remove the jars onto a kitchen towel, and wrap it around to dry them up. Set aside to cool then refrigerate.
COMING UP! OCTOBER 9th AND 13th CONSECUTIVELY