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Fig Preserves
Makes 2 pints

3 pounds firm ripe figs, about 9 cups (makes sure they are as fresh
and unblemished as possible)
4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1/2 to 1 tsp. lemon juice or 1 slice of lemon per pint, if canning

If canning, assemble all utensils before starting. You will need
a water bath canner with a rack and lid or a very deep pot with a
rack and lid; the pot must be deep enough to cover the upright jars
(sitting on the rack) with 1-2 inches of water and still allow
space for brisk boiling once the pan is covered. You will also
need two freshly scrubbed pint-size canning jars, metal rings,brand
new self-sealing lids and a few clean dish towels. Fill the canner
or pot with water and bring to a near boil before beginning to fill
the jars with the preserves. Have extra boiling water ready in case
you have to add more water to the canner once the jars are in it.

In another pot, submerge the clean jars in water and sterilize by
boiling as directed y the manufacturer, but for a minimum of 15-20
minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water until ready to fill. Wash
and boil lids and rings according to manufacturer's directions.

Wash the figs thoroughly in a large pot or bowl of cool tap water,
removing any blemishes. Drain well then wash again. Drain well and
trim off stems. Combine all ingredients (except lemon) in a 5 1/2
quart stainless steel, unchipped enamel or Pyrex saucepan. Bring
to boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Continue boiling
while you skim off all the yellowish foam from the surface of the
mixture. This will take about 10 minutes to do because the yellow
foam continues to develop. A less dense purple foam-actually just
lots of bigger boiling bubbles-may also develop; this is easy to
distinguish from the thick yellowish foam and does not require

Reduce heat to med. and cook about 50 minutes, stirring and scraping
the pan bottom occasionally (more toward the end of cooking time)
so mixture will not scorch. Skim any additional foam as it develops.
(NOTE: If mixture gets very thick and you still have additional
cooking time, add 2-4 Tbsp more water as needed. If it rained the
night before the figs were picked they will be juicier and you
probably will not need the extra water). By the end of the cooking
time, the mixture should be very thick and most if not all of the
figs should be reduced to a puree. Remove from heat. If canning
the preserves, stir in the lemon juice or slices.

Place the very hot jars on a wooden surface or folded towels and
immediately spoon the hot fig mixture into the jars up to 1/2" from
the rims, packing the mixture down fairly tightly. (If using lemon
slices, be sure to put a slice in each jar). Let jars sit just a
few seconds to let the preserves settle and expel the air bubbles.
Then promptly wipe the rims well with a clean, damp cloth and place
hot lids on top with the sealing compound down; screw on the metal
rings firmly but not too tight.

Immediately place filled jars upright on the rack in the water-bath
canner filled with hot but not boiling water. Arrange the jars so
they don't touch each other or the sides of the pot. If necessary
add boiling water around but not on jars to cover jar tops by 1-2".
Cover pan and bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Then
boil 45 minutes for pints or 50 minutes for quarts. Immediately
remove jars with canning tongs and place upright and at least 2"
apart on a wooden surface or on a folded towel to cool at room
temperature, away from drafts. Do not cover jars.

Once are completely cooled, test for an airtight seal by pressing
down on the center of each lid. Lid should stay down. Label and
date the jars then store upright in a cool, dark and dry room. The
preserves are ready to eat immediately. Refirgerate after opening.


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