It’s that time of year again. Time when figs are ripe and ready for making delicious, old-fashioned fig preserves. This post/recipe originally appeared in July, 2008 and remains one of the most viewed posts on this blog. Seems figs are ripe some time during the year throughout the world!
So, let’s get busy with some traditional fig preserves, shall we? Some of you have already ventured out and made the mock strawberry and raspberry preserves with your treasured figs and are now ready to make some real, down-home fig preserves. If you’ve been looking for the best recipe, look no more. Here is the best one I know of, and it comes from my Great-Grandmother, through my Grandmother, to my Mother, to me.
- 12 cups whole figs
- 4 cups water
- 6 cups sugar
- 4 slices lemon - seeds removed
- pinch of salt
Wash figs in cool water.
Boil a saucepan of water, gently place figs in and remove from heat.
Let sit 3 minutes and then drain quickly.
In heavy-bottomed pot, combine sugar and water and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly until it makes a clear syrup. Do not burn.
Add lemon slices, and then gently place figs into boiling liquid.
Lower heat to medium and cook figs for about 2.5 hours, or until figs seem soft.
During the cooking process, swirl the pot to stir rather than using a spoon to keep from breaking the figs.
Once figs are done cooking, place funnel on top of hot jar.
Using a slotted spoon, gently fill hot jar with figs, slice of lemon, and then ladle hot syrup over figs, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Wipe edge with clean cloth, removing any syrup from rim that would prevent a solid seal. Now, put on a lid, then a band, and wearing an oven mitt or using a hot pad, screw the band on tight.
Do one jar at a time until all the preserves are used.
Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
For those of you who like step-by-step with photos, please continue on!
PLEASE NOTE that this recipe takes a long time and you must watch your pot so you do not overcook the figs or the syrup. If you have your heat too high, you will get a “candied” result rather than a spreadable preserve.
Rinse your figs in the sink really well and then drain. Remove the stems. Leave whole or cut in half–your choice.
In a large, heavy pot, add all the ingredients (lemon optional). Cook on low for several hours, about three, stirring occasionally so mixture does not stick or burn. DO NOT LEAVE POT UNATTENDED because burning happens quickly.
If you would like to cook large amounts, just remember that you use half the amount of sugar to figs.
Here’s to the incredible, edible fig!
ORIGINALLY POSTED JULY 10, 2008
2009: This recipe has become the most-often viewed post on this whole blog, with over 8000 views. I decided to make it again and add the photos. I hope they help you beginners, and please leave your comments as to how you like the recipe, and you might have adapted this recipe!
2010: Just this week alone, this recipe has been viewed over 1500 times. It seems somewhere in the world at some time of the year, figs are ripe and people are looking for a good fig preserve recipe. Hundreds of folks have tried this one and written back to say they LOVE it.
2011: This recipe has been viewed 4026 times in the past week. Who would have thought with all the wetland work I do, that a fig preserve recipe would have put this blog on the search engine maps? Thank you, fig tree.
2012:Well, it’s that time of year again. This post received 563 visits yesterday, so lots of folks are cooking figs. They are about a month early down here, the ones in the top of the tree being taken greedily by birds and squirrels, laughing at me all the while, about two weeks ago. This past winter, half the ancient tree died and broke off, and the remaining half seems to miss it. There aren’t as many figs this year as the past three years, and the arrangement I had with the squirrels and birds has been broken–by them! When the figs were abundant, they agreed to only take figs from the top of the tree where I can’t reach; but now that the figs are not as thick, they have been stripping my figs right off the stems. So today I was forced to pick my first half-gallon, although about half of them had not yet turned that beautiful “figgy” color. Yet they were soft enough to pluck right off, and if I closed my eyes and imagined that I was biting into a ripe fig, then it was just so. It’s otherwise a very busy time right now getting ready for the first Bayou Woman Adventure with six daring women who are scheduled to arrive Friday afternoon. I hope to find the time to cook and can these figs before they arrive, but I still have so many things to do . . . . and I will take pics and post them up for you as soon as I can after they leave! Excitement abounds!!!)
2013: Here we are again, and it’s time for fig preserves. The figs are right on time this year, as I am usually making preserves around the time of my birthday, which is tomorrow! Saturday I managed to pick 1 gallon of ripe figs, while the birds devoured at least as many. The tree still only produces half of what it used to before half of it died in 2012. Sunday I picked another gallon, and today I’m making the mock strawberry/raspberry, and I’m making this recipe, too. The mock preserves are already finished, with the lids satisfyingly pinging away. Music to my canning ears!!! In the past few days, 1329 people have viewed this Old-fashioned Fig Preserve Recipe, which continues to bring me great joy! Use it, share it, and come back and tell us how you and your family and friends enjoyed it! Happy Summer! BW
2014; Looks like the early birds and squirrels get the figs! I’m losing the battle, and just don’t have it in me to fight. I went and bought a 14×14 net but without two ladders and another person, it shall sit in the package where it has been since I bought it. Yes! I admitted it! I’m a fig failure, LOL! I’ve been so busy anyway that I just don’t have time for these shenanigans! So, enjoy your fig picking and preserve and chutney making for me. I managed to eat one half-ripe off the tree this morning before it was snatched out of my hand by a possessive starling. Happy summer! BW