An ancient fruit is once again the star of one of my recipes. Scientists and historians have found evidence of fig cultivation dating back over 11,000 years ago in Jericho on the West Bank. Figs are really a fascinating fruit with a long and significant history! Since figs predated the domestication and cultivation of cereals and grains, they may very well have started agriculture. Figs are also a component of every major religion from the forbidden fruit in Adam and Eve to Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. And did you know that figs are actually an inverted flower that blooms inside of the fruit? I admit that I did not know this prior to researching this post. Apparently, the correct botanical term for this unique process is infructescence. The flower is pollinated by a fig wasp that physically crawls inside of the fig. Pretty cool, right? Fig roots can also extend to great depths. According to mutiarafigs.com, the roots of certain South African figs can extend up to 400 ft underground.
Figs have some amazing health benefits! They are a wonderful source of natural sugar, are high in potassium and calcium, and function as prebiotics to assist in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Resin extracted from fig leaves has been suggested as a remedy to reduce itching from bug bites. One site even mentions that due to the high amount of alkalines in figs they may reduce the desire for nicotine and function as a substitute for coffee. While I won’t be giving up my morning espresso, I plan on enjoying figs in both sweet and savory dishes this season.
I love incorporating figs into my morning breakfast bowl with a bit of honey and nut butter. I also love experimenting with seasonal fruits and vegetables to create some new dishes. For this particular recipe, I decided to have my husband teach me how to set up the grill to smoke the figs. After a few hours of smoking, I combined the figs with pomegranate molasses, red wine, honey, and lemon juice into a delicious savory jam. Spread on toasted baguette and top with crispy shiitake mushrooms and pickled sweet onions and you will have an amazing bruschetta that resembles the taste of bacon!
When smoking fruit on the grill, remember you want low heat and a long time frame! Trust me, the taste is worth the time.
Smoked Fig Jam Bruschetta
- 4 lb fresh figs*
- 3 fresh plums (optional)
- 2/3 cup honey (substitute sweetener of choice if vegan)
- 1 1/2 cups hot water
- 1 1/4 cups red wine
- 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses*
- 1 lemon juiced
- sea salt
Serving Suggestions Ingredients
- pickled onions
- roasted mushrooms such as shiitake, portobella
- sprinkling of nutritional yeast or cheese
- toasted baguette or pizza crust
- Set smoker temperature to 175-200 degrees F.
- Place 1/3 cup of honey in 1 1/2 cups hot water. Set aside while honey dissolves.
- Remove the stems from the figs and slice in half lengthwise.
- Place figs and plums (if using) in a large, glass heat safe dish. Pour honey mixture over figs.
- Smoke the fig mixture for 3 hours at 175-200 degrees F.
- Remove figs from smoker and transfer to a large pot.
- Add remaining honey, pomegranate molasses (or substitute pomegranate juice), and red wine. Stir to combine.
- Simmer over medium hot for at least 30 minutes until mixture has reduced. Stir in fresh lemon juice.
- When mixture is cool enough, place in a blender and pulse until you reach desired consistency. Taste and add sea salt or additional honey if desired.
- This jam is delicious on pizza crust or toasted baguette topped with pickled onion and crispy mushrooms, a sprinkle of cheese, and arugula lettuce.