Spiced Fig Preserves

These big, green figs have a Greek history

I have never made fig jam before but I really like figs any way I can get them.  Soft, musty and honey-sweet, I think they are beautiful and delicious gifts of nature.  I wonder if Jesus would have gone easier on figs (Matthew 21: 18-22) had he experienced a simple cheese plate with fig jam accompaniment, figs and prosciutto, or even Fig Newtons?

Trimmed and sliced ripe figs have a honey-sweet rose-colored interior

I was given about 9 pounds of green figs from my landlord whose family is Greek.  He said that the fig tree in his yard originated from cuttings from a tree brought from Corinth, Greece. I was happy to utilize these figs that would have otherwise rotted.  The outside is bright green with a deep rose interior.  Most of the figs were extremely ripe so I did not need to use pectin.

I researched fig preserve/jam recipes but none of them spoke to me.  I came up with my own recipe, borrowing small elements from the many.

Ingredients:
  • 6 pounds figs (trimmed and sliced in half)
  • 4 pounds organic sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 4 pieces of fresh ginger, peeled and cut in 1″ chunks
In a large stock pot, combine all ingredients and cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.  Reduce to low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, and cook until figs are broken down and the syrup is thick and dark brown, about 3 hours *You may need to use the side of a large spoon to break up stubborn large pieces*  With a slotted spoon fish out the ginger pieces and the cinnamon stick and toss into your compost bin.  Remove the pot from heat.
Using a ladle, pack fig preserves in hot, sterilized jars (half pint jars work best, but you can also use pint sized jars) and process in a hot water bath canner to seal according to manufacturers directions.   Allow jars to completely cool before storing in your pantry.
Makes 7 pints

Seven pints of fig jam ready for the pantry

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