Fresh Figs and Thyme
Even when a couple decides to go the simple route, wedding planning can run amok. My Baby and I have had the big decisions in place for quite a while: Where the ceremony and reception will take place; the officiant who will marry us; the reception menu; the guest list; a rough sketch of ancillary wedding events; guest accommodations; the cake in its finite detail are all resolved.
Other things, not so much. Vows and ceremony, first dance song, groom's suit, and floral arrangements are still being decided. I do not recommend ordering a custom-made dress with a no-return policy from the internet. Really bad idea. The only worse idea is reducing its resale value by tearing off and tossing the designer hang-tags before deciding it wasn't "the dress." Really really bad idea.
The invitations have been sent out, each envelope specially hand calligraphed by My Baby himself. If you are one of the 50 or so people who received an invitation, read no further for risk of spoiling your surprise.
With all the remaining details to attend to, one thing we've known for certain was that we will offer our guests a thank-you gift from the fruits of our orchard. Plum? Apple? Persimmon? Pear? Fig! Yes, fig jam would be a unique treat. I won the coin-toss with the birds for the figs this year (even the birds have a soft spot for weddings, it seems) and wedding jam was a certainty.
Balsamic Thyme Fig Jam, with its Mother Tree Behind
Our jam has been neatly put up in sparkly glass jars and tied with pretty ribbons and tiny handcrafted labels for our special loved ones and friends. As each guest enjoys their jam, we hope they will think of beautiful Oregon and the joy of love. As a cheese plate accompaniment, on sandwiches, or a spoonful or two stirred into pork or chicken pan juices, it is most heavenly.
Here's the recipe:
Balsamic Thyme Fig Wedding Jam
2 pounds fresh figs, well washed, cut into eighths
1 cup water
1 /4 cup sugar
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
Place figs and water in stockpot. Bring to a boil and add sugar, half the vinegar, lemon juice and thyme leaves. Cook over medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until the figs have mostly broken down and the mixture is thick. Stir in the remaining balsamic vinegar. If you are happy with the texture, proceed. (At this point, I wanted a more emulsified jam, so in went my immersion blender until there were only a few larger hunks remaining.)
Proceed with a 10 minute boiling-water bath canning method if you want to preserve the jam for longer than a week.
Makes 24 4 oz. jars of jam.