I didn’t grow up eating figs, well, except for Fig Newtons, you’re darn tootin! If you are lucky enough to have a fig tree or two growing in your yard then this little bloggin’ about figs will probably bore you.
But for me, figs are kinda new. Besides Fig Newton Cookies, my fig history consists of living in the Central California valley where all dried figs harvested in the United States are grown. Even during my 5 years in the central valley, I never ate a fig. End of story. Well, not exactly because I do know that the fig is the most talked about fruit in the Bible and figs were mentioned in a Babylonian hymnbook about 2000 B.C. Not-to-mention that a fig tree provided the first clothing as noted in the Bible, “…the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons”!
Fast forward to last Christmas when our friends Joan and Ed gave us a jar of homemade fig preserves made from their own fig trees. Not realizing I should have immediately made biscuits and slathered them with butter and fig preserves, I used them in making a Scripture Cake. They worked beautifully in the cake helping to make it deliciously moist.
This year as the figs began to ripen Joan offered us a couple of pickings since they were going to be out-of-town for a few days during harvest time.
I got so excited because I had already eaten a few fresh figs Joan had shared at Community Bible Study. One thing you should know about my chief culinary consultant, chief gardener and love of my life — he is always ready and willing when I want to go pick fresh fruit or vegetables! Even though our first picking happened when the temperature was 95 degrees and the humidity matched it drip for drip – we had fun picking the figs. After washing them lightly and pinching the stems off, I added them to a mixture of water, sugar, salt and lemon. From a recipe found on Deep South Dish I decided if I preserved the figs whole it will give me options how I want to use them in the future.
The amount of sugar used can be increased or decreased based on your personal taste. I think a light syrup is best because figs are so naturally sweet. Lemon juice is added to each jar as a natural preservative. I simmered them for about 45 minutes, just until they turned transparent. Then the figs were ladled into sterilized jars, filled with some of the syrup, and processed using the water bath method. I set aside a bowl full of the sweet treats and we had them for breakfast with fresh hot biscuits!
It’s best to consult a professional canning resource for details on water bath canning. Choose figs that are ripe, but still firm and slightly green is okay. How many jars you get will depend on the size of the figs. If you don’t want to can them using the water bath method you can refrigerate for up to 6 weeks or you can freeze them for up to 6 months.
Wishing you a bountiful harvest!
- 8 cups whole, washed figs
- 1 cup water
- 3 cups sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 lemon, scrubbed and sliced
- Bottled lemon juice or powdered citric acid
- Pinch stems from figs. Rinse well and drain.
- In a large pot, bring the water, sugar, salt and lemon to a boil. Boil until sugar is completely dissolved. Add the figs, stir, reduce heat to a medium low simmer, and cook for 45 minutes or until figs begin to turn transparent, occasionally stirring.
- Ladle figs into sterilized jars, packing fairly tight and spoon syrup to fill, leaving ¼" head space. Add 2 Tablespoons bottled lemon juice to each quart or ½ teaspoon citric acid.
- Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove and let cool without disturbing. Make sure each jar seals.
Instead of canning using the water bath method figs can be refrigerated for up to 6 weeks or frozen for up to 6 months.
Always Consult a professional canning source for water bath details such as http://www.pickyourown.org/figs_canning.htm