Fresh Fig Preserves
|August 22, 2013||Posted by Tracy Knutsen under Canning and Preserving, Vegetarian-Vegan|
Let me just get this out of the way right here at the beginning…I love figs. I love the taste. I love the color. I love the sentimentality. Unfortunately, most people have only been exposed to figs via the fig newton. Folks, this is not a fig. I have no problem with these chewy cookies – DH is a big fan- but there’s nothing like a fresh fig. When they’re ripe, they’re sweet, but not overly sweet. And they just remind me of summer. One of my grandmothers had a giant fig tree in her back yard that was loaded with fruit for a couple of weeks every summer. My other grandmother was a master at making fig preserves and we always seemed to have some at my house growing up.
So, now it’s fig season! Yay! I don’t have the luxury of having a fig tree in my yard, but we’ve found a neighbor who has 12 in hers! She let us come over after work the other day to pick them. It was quite a battle with the bees, the ants and a sassy cat named Abby, but we ended up with three gallons of Brown Turkey figs and Celeste figs. We ate a bunch, and I decided to make preserves with the rest of them. I made both plain Fig Preserves and fabulous Peach and Fig Preserves. I used a recipe from one of my fave New Orleans chefs, John Besh, and it was really easy. It’s very basic, but that’s the best kind, isn’t it?
Here’s the step-by-step process:
OLD-FASHIONED FIG PRESERVES
5 pounds fresh figs, halved or quartered depending on size
5 pounds sugar
1. Wash the figs, and then trim off the stem ends. Put the figs into a large pot and cover with the sugar. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 3 hours or so.
2. Heat the figs and the sugar, stirring constantly, over moderate heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and bring to a hard boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently boil for 40 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. The preserves are done when the foam that has formed on the surface dissipates and the syrup coats the back of the spoon. Ladle the figs and syrup into hot, sterilized jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then place sterilized lids on top and screw on the rings.
5. Put the filled jars into a canning pot and cover with water at least 2 inches over the jar tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the jars from the water; place on a kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.
Note: To sterilize the jars, bottles, and lids for the preserves, place them on a rack in a large canning pot, fill with water to the tops of the jars and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then, use tongs to carefully remove the jars and bottles. Drain them upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.
Peach and Fig Preserves
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split and 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 large lemon, juice and zest
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh figs, quartered
- 1 1/2 lbs fresh peaches, diced
- In a large pot place sugar, vanilla pod and the seeds, figs, peaches, with optional cinnamon or ginger, lemon juice, zest and meat of lemon.
- Stir to release juices. It will be thick. Simmer over low heat stirring not to burn. Juices will come and when it does raise heat to high stirring most of the time.
- Remove vanilla and cinnamon.
- If you prefer a jam consistency rather than preserves, use an immersion blender, blend fruit till chunky smooth.
- Add back the vanilla and cinnamon.
- As mixture thickens, you must stir more frequently to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
- When it hits a rolling boil, cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- I’ve read lots of different ways to check for doneness. It really depends on how thick you like it. Personally, I cook the mixture until it reaches about 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit on my candy thermometer.
- Remove and discard bean and cinnamon.
- Pour into sterile jars and process in a water bath for 10 minutes. Allow to cool, undisturbed, for about 24 hours.