My garden has been stingy this year. I haven’t gotten any cucumbers, tomatoes, and only a handful of okra. This bed just didn’t thrive. I’m not sure if it was because I waited too long to plant, or if the pH of our raised bed was off, or – what I’d like to blame it on – the brutal 100*+ days this summer beat us with, accompanied by little rain.
What I do have, though, is abundant figs. And this year, the squirrels didn’t get to them all first!!!!
So, when one has figs, one makes fig preserves! (or has the option, at least)
My friend, Mama D, provided me with a fig preserve recipe a few years ago that I haven’t had the opportunity to put into action until now. And, to my delight, the preserves turned out deliciously!
When you’re choosing your figs – particularly if you’ve harvested them yourself – remember that the figs are ripe when the neck has bent and the fruit pulls easily off the tree. Don’t use figs that are nibbled or that have torn skin; bruised figs are fine.
Wash your figs before getting started. I was particularly worried about squirrel cooties, as I’ve lost multiple crops to the furry beasts, so I took extra precautions (vinegar and water) to cleanse them fully.
Remove the stems and quarter the figs. I probably removed more than necessary, but I’ve had an unripe fig and didn’t want to risk any of that extra starchy taste that the necks can hold.
Scrub and slice your lemon thinly – you’ll need 5 slices from the fattest part of the lemon, seeds removed.
In a large pot, add water and sugar and stir. Then add figs, lemon slices, and vanilla, and stir. Cover partially with the pot lid and put on medium heat. Bring to a nice, gentle boil, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking and burning. Once it has boiled, reduce heat to a nice simmer, and continue cooking and stirring for 45mins – 1 hour (I stirred every 10-12 mins, using a Calphalon pot).
I missed the instruction to cool the mixture prior to macerating in the food processor – but I successfully achieved the perfect consistency. I also didn’t let it cool before I jarred, resulting in a few popped lids.
This recipe is for refrigerator preserves – meaning you can’t trust the preserves to last much longer than a month or two, especially since I didn’t sterilize the jars. The next time I do this delicious recipe, I’ll see what, if anything, I need to add to ensure a longer shelf life. (I’ll provide an update if there is)
If I’ve gotten your mouth watering, here’s the tab-fig-preserves!
I’m looking forward to another late harvest to make another batch with appropriate canning technique (taught to me by the brilliant Kinome as we pickled a few years ago) – so I can keep the preserves past a few weeks.