Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fig Preserves

This really isn't an official recipe as I never measure anything, I just add sugar until it "looks right."  Thanks to pictures and the internet, I can show you what that looks like.

Our fig tree is very happy this year and even sharing with the Scarlet Tanager we pick a huge bowl full every day.  My friend Janie has a tree in her yard that is producing and she wants to try to make some for her husband - hence this blog.  But trust me, there is little simpler than making a pot of fig preserves.

Figs do not keep long so put them in the refrigerator overnight if you want to wait a day to cook them.  We have so many I am cooking every day, usually the ones from yesterday while a new batch we picked this morning cools overnight.

I start off dumping the bowl in my island sink and covering with cool water.  I pick up a handful at a time to drain next to the cutting board. I cut off the stems and then cut each one in half.  When the pot is 1/3 full  I cover that batch with sugar and cut some more.  I do another third and cover with more sugar. These don't boil up as bad as strawberries and some other fruits so I will fill the pot 3/4 full.  Note: if I have them, I will occasionally add a few diced strawberries.

After the last third is covered, I juice one lemon and put the juice and the rind in (filter out the seeds). Add a pinch of kosher/sea salt and you are ready to cook.

Turn the stove on low until you get the pot all stirred and the sugar starts to liquefy.  It will start off thick and hard to stir.

Then turn the flame up to a med/high until the figs start to boil and foam. At this point the mix will seem real soupy and you think you have added too much sugar...but that is just right. Stir it, turn the flame down to a low/med and cook for 2-3 hours until the juice cooks down and the fruit is mushy.

When the figs are done they will look like the picture below. Note how far they cooked down in the pan.  They are still very moist (but not soupy) and kind of leathery/mushy.  My mom like them in large pieces just like this but I take a hand blender and chop up the fruit a little while it is still in the pan.

I then put them in plastic screw top jars and freeze.  These are the preserves we serve at breakfast!

If you want to can your figs you will need to process the jars in a water bath for 20 minutes.  You can find lots of good sites on the internet for canning fruit.

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