Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Preserved Figs

Whole figs, preserved in a thick sugar syrup.

Preserved Figs

I've talked about it here before, but I grew up in a home where the back property line butted up against a heavily wooded field. We had a short, wood framed fence along the back, easy to climb, and we had such fun playing in those woods, building caves and forts out of twigs and branches and using our imagination to entertain ourselves. Times were much more innocent then.

Along that fence line was a huge fig tree and I can remember Mama bringing in bowls overflowing with figs every summer, that we'd enjoy eating in their pure, fresh, right off the tree state. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2006, and even before I started blogging, I threw myself into gardening to occupy and distract my mind from all of the destruction and changes that had happened to my beautiful Gulf Coast, and my own life. I decided that year to plant a Celeste fig tree in honor of Mama.

I am happy to say that it has flourished and grown tall, producing more figs than ever this year. I still have to beat the birds to them, but every year as they begin to ripen, I pluck a handful early in the morning to eat just as they are. Once they start coming in though, they ripen by the bucketloads and since fresh figs don't keep well, it's time to put up a few.

Celeste Figs
I enjoy fig preserves and jams, but I really love preserved figs the most - whole figs that are preserved in a thick sugar syrup. It's a great way to put up those figs as they start rolling in all at once and truly my favorite way to eat them. Well... next to just eating them fresh off the tree that is!

Using my blue limited edition heritage Ball jars!
Preserved figs are perfect for serving with hot, buttered homemade buttermilk biscuits or even simple toast, of course, but they're good just to eat as they are, spooned over ice cream, on top of crostini spread with cream cheese, goat cheese or blue cheese, mashed up to use in baked goods and other recipes, or even tossed on a salad.

Back in the day, it'd be a rare home here in the Deep South that didn't have a few jars of preserved figs in the pantry or the fridge. Here's how to make them.

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Recipe: Preserved Figs

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 1 hour | Yield: About 4 to 5 pints

  • 6 cups of whole, ripe figs (I use Celeste)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 4 cups of granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lemon, scrubbed and sliced, optional

Pinch stems from figs, if desired. Rinse well and drain; set aside. 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 to 1 hour, or until figs begin to turn transparent, gently stirring occasionally. Ladle figs into sterilized jars, packing fairly tight and spoon syrup to fill, leaving 1/4 inch head space; seal. Process 15 minutes in a boiling water canner. Remove and let cool on a heavy bath towel without disturbing.

Cook's Notes: Consult a professional canning resource for details on water bath canning. Choose figs that are ripe, but still firm and slightly green. How many jars you get will be dependent on the size of the type and size figs that you use. I grow Celeste figs. If you don't want to process this with a water bath, you may halve the recipe and refrigerate or freeze after cooking. They will usually keep for a month to 6 weeks in the refrigerator without canning, or they may also be frozen for up to 6 months.

Source: http://deepsouthdish.com

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Posted by on July 23, 2013
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