This super easy (no canning skills needed) Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread makes a delicious appetizer with crackers and cheese, but it's also a fabulous pizza base, sandwich spread, glaze for chicken, pork or beef... Another idea is to spoon it over goat cheese or cream cheese, so delicious!
The idea for this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread recipe was inspired by my daughter. As I mentioned in this post, she can put together a beautiful cheeseboard like no one else I know. And, like she does most everything else, in record time! Several weeks ago, she prepared a beautiful cheeseboard for an impromptu get-together at her home. She had picked up a new condiment at a local Asheville cheese shop to serve alongside the crackers, cheese, fruit, nuts, etc. Everyone loved the sweet and spicy fig spread and, after taking a few tastes, I was pretty sure I could replicate it.
I didn't waste any time and the next day made a grocery order with lots of figs on the list. I wanted a spread that could be made any time of year, like our Easy Balsamic Fig Jam so I went with dried figs rather than fresh, which have a limited season. I used the Balsamic Fig Jam recipe for the base, changing things up a bit.
What kind of figs should I use for this fig spread?
I tried Mission, Calimyrna and Turkish figs for my recipe testing. Mission figs are darker in color and will therefore yield a darker final result. Calimyrna and Turkish figs are lighter in color and, according to Cook's Illustrated, are actually the same variety. They explain that "Calimyrna figs originated near the city of Smyrna in Turkey. Smyrna figs, which have been grown in Turkey for centuries, were brought to California and cultivated as cuttings in the late 19th century (hence the hybrid name “Calimyrna”). "
Each variety yielded delicious results, so it's your choice!
No pectin is needed!
Another nice thing about this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread is that there's no pectin involved which makes it super easy to make at the last minute or without having to run to the grocery store. All you need to have on hand is dried figs, sugar, chili garlic sauce and white balsamic vinegar.
Like our Easy Balsamic Fig Jam recipe, this recipe is super easy. These are the simple steps:
- Chop each fig into 3-4 pieces and transfer to a medium-size pot.
- Add water, sugar, balsamic vinegar and chili garlic sauce.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for 10 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, break up the big chunks.
- Cook a little longer until the spread is the desired consistency and stir in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
- Ladle the jam out into jars and cool. Or can with a hot water bath, your choice.
Can... or not...
This Sweet and Spicy Fig can be refrigerated, frozen for longer storage or canned (with the hot water bath method) for shelf-stable storage. They all work. I have lots of freezer spacer so I just pop the glass jars right into my extra freezer in the garage. If you are short on freezer space, feel free to can it.
What to do with this delicious condiment?
- Serve it with crackers and slice cheese for a fabulous appetizer.
- Spoon it over goat or cream cheese and serve with crackers or crostini.
- Spread on toast, biscuits, scones, English muffins, etc.
- Take it on a picnic along with a loaf of French bread, a variety of cheeses and charcuterie. Let everyone just tear off a chunk of bread and layer it with the toppings of their choice.
- Use it as a base for pizza with a homemade crust or store-bought Naan. Just spoon the spread on as a base then top with cheese and toppings of your choice. I made a delicious version last week topped with shredded Gruyere, thinly sliced red onion and baby bell peppers, diced pancetta and finished off with fresh herbs, so good!
- Use it as a spread for a grilled ham and cheese... or any kind of sandwich! It's delicious with ham, turkey, bacon...
- Turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a gourmet lunch with a dollop of this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread in lieu of jelly or jam.
- Serve it as a sauce to go with baked ham.
- Make a salad dressing by adding more vinegar (white balsamic or your choice of other vinegar), olive oil, salt and pepper. Add some finely chopped fresh rosemary for a special treat!
- Use as a glaze for grilled pork, chicken, shrimp...
- Give it as a gift!
A fabulous gift!
Since just about anyone would love to receive a jar of this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread (especially once they take the first taste!) we created two pretty labels for gifting. If you'd like to receive a free printable PDF for the labels, along with instructions on how to use them, just scroll all the way to the bottom of this page and leave a comment letting us know. We'll email the instructions with the PDFs attached.
We'll send a round label, which is perfect for the top of a classic mason jelly jar and also a rectangular label, which is nice for the side of just about any jar. Use either one for your gifts... or both!
Keep a few jars of this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread stashed away in your fridge or freezer. When you need a quick, easy appetizer, just pull out a jar and let the party begin!
Cafe Tips for making this Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread
- Figs can be sticky, so I like to spray my knife with a bit of cooking spray or rub it with a little oil when chopping up my figs.
- This recipe calls for chili garlic sauce. Chili garlic sauce is a delicious condiment that keeps for months in the refrigerator. It adds a little heat to this fig spread and can be adjusted to suit your taste. Chili garlic sauce can be found in almost every larger grocery store that has an Asian section. You can also find it online.
- This recipe also calls for white balsamic vinegar. You can find this in the same area as other vinegars at the grocery store. If you prefer, it's fine to use regular balsamic vinegar. The finished spread will be darker in color, but still very delicious.
- This jam has to simmer for 15-20 minutes. When jam simmers there's the tendency for little bits of it to splash out of the pan, so I like to use a fairly large pot to prevent a mess.
- If you find that the fig spread is too thick after simmering and cooling, just add a little water and stir well to restore a thinner consistency.
- Tip the pot to the side to give the figs more depth and make things easier when using your immersion blender to break up the figs.
- This recipe is easily doubled. It may take a few extra minutes of cooking to achieve the desired thickness.
- I love these classy Weck Jars for gifting jams and jellies. I also found these fun 8-ounce jelly jars which make really pretty gifts too.
- These hexagon jars are also pretty and make an attractive presentation.
- This jam makes a wonderful addition to a cheeseboard. Check out this post for tips and tricks on how to make a beautiful cheeseboard.
- If you give this jam as a gift be sure to tell your giftee that it should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, for longer storage - unless you go with the hot water bath method. If you decide to use the water bath method it will be shelf-stable and can be stored at room temperature.
- If you want the fig spread to be shelf-stable, follow the directions on this site for canning with a hot water bath.
Thought for the day:
Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
This super easy (no canning skills needed) Sweet and Spicy Fig Spread makes a delicious appetizer with crackers and cheese, but it's also a fabulous pizza base, sandwich spread, glaze for chicken, pork or beef... Another idea is to spoon it over goat cheese or cream cheese - so delicious!
- 20 ounces dried figs any hard stems removed
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups water
- ⅓ cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2-4 teaspoons chili garlic sauce
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Chop each fig into 4-6 pieces. Wash enough jars to hold 24-ounces in hot soapy water and rinse well. Set aside.
Combine figs, sugar, water, balsamic vinegar and chili garlic sauce in a medium-large saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil then reduce to a steady. rolling simmer. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pulse/blend the jam with an immersion blender until large pieces are gone but jam is still has some texture.
Cook for another 5-10 minutes until jam is thickened to desired state. Add the lemon juice and stir well. (It will get a bit thicker as it cools). Take a taste of the jam and add more chili garlic sauce, if you’d like it to be a little spicier.
Transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze for 2-3 months.
See Café Tips above in post for further instructions and more detailed tips.
To store this fig spread at room temperature you’ll need to follow these directions for hot water bath canning. https://www.freshpreserving.com/water-bath-canning.html