My faithful fig tree is giving us a bountiful crop this year. Which means my faithful stove is cooking away, producing jar after jar of beautiful preserves. A jar of this golden goodness offers endless possibilities for good eating. Serve it over goat cheese with a sprinkle of freshly chopped rosemary. Sure, it’s suppose to be spread of crackers, but often my guests just want to eat it with a fork. Homemade biscuits become ethereal when filled with a spoonful, and chicken or turkey sandwiches are over-the-top with a thick layer smeared on the bread.
And making them is so rewarding – you start out with a plain, soft fruit. You end up with what my dad would have called, “nectar of the gods.” Here’s my recipe:
Yield: about 10 cups preserves
8 cups chopped figs
8 cups sugar
½ cup water or fresh lemon juice
half a lemon, thinly sliced
- Place figs, sugar, water, and lemon slices in a Dutch oven or other large pot and stir to combine. Place over medium heat and cook carefully until mixture begins to simmer, stirring every so often. Turn heat to low and cook, stirring very often, until figs are translucent, and syrup is thick. This will take 2 – 6 hours.* As mixture thickens, be sure to stir and scrape down the sides of the pan often to keep mixture from settling to the bottom and burning.
- Fill hot, sterilized jars with boiling figs and syrup to within ½ inch of the top. Wipe sealing edge clean and put on lids and rings. Tighten rings just to “finger tight” or just to snug. Process in boiling water bath for 12 minutes.
*I like to cook my fig preserves until they are very thick, up to 6 hours. You might like yours thinner. Sometimes I pick the figs, cut them up, and start the cooking process – maybe an hour or more of cooking. Then if I get busy, I take them off the fire, cover the pot, and just leave it on the counter overnight. The next morning I continue the cooking process, until they are really good and thick.
I also like to make some of my preserves “caramelized.” For this, I simply cook the fig mixture until it is dark and almost gooey. Just be very careful not to burn them – keep the fire very low and stir often.