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Lebanese Fig and Sesame Jam

When you envision the end of summer in your hometown in Lebanon, a few things come to mind. Other than a soft breeze and chilly nights, you can’t miss out on fig season. The fig baskets sold by the roads going up through the mountains, bamboo trays for figs to dry under the sun and most definitely fig jam being prepared in every household.
Lebanese Fig and Sesame Jam

While it is similar in preparation to any other jam, the simple additives to this delicacy make up a richer, more fragrant taste. Unique in texture as it is more solid and held-together than other jams, it is as much of a treat as it is beneficial. The fruit itself along with the nuts and sesame added to the mix are the ideal combination for an afternoon snack. Picture your grandma bent over an open woodfire topped with a large pot filled with figs and get ready to replicate the experience right at your stovetop.

Time Necessary: 1 hour

Serves : Approximately 500 g

Ingredients you will need

  • 1 Kg of figs
  • 200-400 g of sugar
  • 75 g of almonds and walnuts (or any mix of nuts, more or less according to preference)
  • 70 g of toasted sesame*
  • 5 g of citric acid or a squeeze of lemon if unavailable
  • A couple of mastic tablets, crushed (optional)


  • Chopping Board
  • Saucepan
  • Pot
  •  Jars




  1. Stem the figs, cut them into quarters and add them to a saucepan along the sugar and mastic (if using any). If using sweet figs, 200 g of sugar is sufficient. Use up to 400 g of sugar if the fruits aren’t as sweet. Put the saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. 
  2. In the meantime, toast your nuts in a separate saucepan until golden. *If using untoasted sesame, add the sesame to a different saucepan on medium heat until a change in color is visible. Sesame is delicate and easy to burn, toast while constantly stirring. 
  3. In 20-30 minutes, the sweetened figs should be boiling and the mixture should be thickening. When ready to take off heat, a wooden spoon should leave a trail when dragged through the pot. 
  4. After taking the saucepan off the heat, add in the citric acid, sesame and nuts and mix to spread through evenly. 
  5. Transfer the jam into air tight jars and store in a cool pantry or refrigerate. 

Questions and tips

  1. Are the figs used for this recipe fresh or dried? Traditionally, this jam is made by using dried figs. However, this recipe uses fresh figs as it is more accessible. If dried figs are available, add 1 L of water to the first step of this recipe. 
  2. What type of figs should be used? Any type of figs or even a mix of different types can be used in this recipe. Different figs will result in lighter or darker colored jam. The taste of the jam is moderated through the amount of sugar used as previously mentioned. 
  3. Why are the nuts toasted? Toasting the nuts will bring out an earthy flavor that compliments the recipe while adding more crunch to their texture. Using raw nuts might result in a soggy texture. 
  4.  Will the nuts spoil with time? The main factor for spoiled nuts is excessive heat in preservation due to its oily nature. Make sure the jar is stored in a cool place to ensure the nuts will maintain their taste and texture. 
  5. Why use citric acid or squeezed lemon? Using these ingredients will prevent dissolved sugars from recrystallizing after the jam is cooled.


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