Rhubarb fig honey jam-spread on rye bread

Oh rhubarb fig jam-spread, please don’t leave me. There are only three of you and one of you is half gone now. I am already heartbroken. OK, I’m not THAT heartbroken because I have learned to make rye bread on which to spread you; and when you are gone, I will still have Rye.

As much as I’d actually like to take full credit for making these beautiful breads, I can’t. They were demo breads made by brilliant baker Jeffrey Hamelman  and all I did was shape them and slash them during a two day rye bread class I attended this weekend in Charlotte. However, I have a new pet rye starter that will produce many offspring in the years to come starting tomorrow.

Anyway, let’s pick some brown turkey figs for our jam. My fig tree is a monster this year. Figs are everywhere. In case your fig tree is full of little green nobby figs that might freeze before ripening, try this trick .


Pick, pilfer, or purchase this many figs.

And since rhubarb is having a last hoorah … harvest (or buy) about 10 stalks. Roughly cut the rhubarb and figs and then add juice of a lemon, some sugar and honey. Bring to a boil and then refrigerate overnight.

The next day, simmer your fruit mixture until it looks like this, and stays put when you place a blob on a plate.

Then, you put the jam into clean jars with hot lids and let them process in a gizmo like this, or a smaller pot for about 10 minutes or so. And that’s it.

And don’t forget the rye bread. Which you should store in a vintage cotton towel, not in a plastic bag. By the way.

Rhubarb fig honey jam spread

If you are going to make jams, you need a scale. The whole world uses a metric system for measuring except for us (Americans). And since this style of making jam comes from beloved-by-all Christine Ferber, (France’s fairy Godmother of jams and jellies), you just need to go ahead and buy a dern scale. Which you will also need for making rye breads. Get this one, and you can also make recipes from French magazine/sites like this. And if you want to “wing it”, I suggest you follow this NY Times version of Christine Ferber’s Strawberry Rhubarb jam, substituting the figs for the strawberries, and up to 1/2 cup honey for equal volume of sugar. My recipe is for half of a normal recipe which makes about 3 little jars of jam because figs and rhubarb can be scarce and pricey this time of year. Please follow the USDA guidelines for home canning of jams and jellies if you are new to the process.

***Figs are a low acid fruit, and need to be acidified with lemon juice and/or mixed with other high acid fruits in order to be safely water-bath canned. I add the juice of one lemon per 500 grams of figs.

600 grams of figs and rhubarb total. The amounts of each are up to you.

300 grams sugar

50 grams of honey or so. A good blop.

Juice of one lemon

Combine all the ingredients and bring to a boil in a non-aluminum pot. Turn off the heat and let cool, then place in a glass or ceramic bowl and cover with a piece of parchment paper. Refrigerate overnight.

Next morning (or afternoon), wash three 8 oz. canning jars well and put them in a pot of boiling water while you wait for your jam to cook. Place the lids and rings in hot, but not boiling water. Now simmer your jam until it thickens and the foam clears. About 15 -20 minutes. Stir often, or the rhubarb will stick and burn and you will cry. When a spoonful of the mixture sits on a cold plate without running, then you’re ready to can (or just refrigerate without canning). Ladle into your hot jars, wipe the rims, and screw on the rings. Place in boiling water (that covers the top of the jar by at least an inch) with lid on for about 10 minutes. Remove and wait for that PING! that says the jars have sealed.

PS Check out my daughter, Annie’s excellent post on how to make Christine’s jams.

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