Figs are the jewels of summer, only lasting a couple days once picked, and their subtle flavor is something to be savored. But when our Desert King was bent over with fruit, I had to find ways to preserve the harvest before the figs were too far gone. This year I decided to cook up a big batch of Great Aunt Dot’s fig preserves.
The recipe comes from my husband’s side of the family down south. Great Aunt Dot cooks her fig preserves every summer and my Aunt Emily was kind enough to share the recipe with me years ago. I have altered it a bit over time and here is the basic process:
- 1 quart freshly picked figs
- 1 pint sugar
- 1 lemon, cut into thin slices
- Mix all of the ingredients in a dutch oven, except the lemons, and fill with enough water to cover. Boil the mixture for two hours. I used a hand mixer to puree the figs at this point, so they are chunky and roughly pureed.
- Cook until the mixture is thick and mounds nicely on a spoon. This could take only a couple hours for the whole process or longer if you are multiplying this batch. I recently cooked up a huge batch. Instead of standing over the stove for hours, I put the preserves in a slow cooker turned on low overnight, with the lid propped up on one side for some evaporation. By morning it was thick enough to move onto the next step.
- Turn in the thinly sliced lemons and cook until just warm. This makes a pretty presentation in the jar to see those long yellow strips of fruit.
- Bring your canner filled with water to a boil. Ladle the hot mixture into clean pint-sized canning jars (or smaller), leaving ¼” of headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth and adjust two-piece caps. Submerge in boiling water for forty-five minutes. Cool.
These are going to be great holiday gifts this year to be enjoyed with roasted meat or spread on freshly baked biscuits. Are you already planning homemade gifts for the winter months? I would love to hear some of your favorite gift recipes in the comments below!