I think that my love of all things fig started with my father. Born in southern California, he spun tales of eating juicy figs right off of his nana’s tree. My father loves figs with the kind of revelry that elevates the fruit to something ethereal. When I first bit into a fig from my own grandfather’s garden, I was transported those to the southern California fairy tales of my father’s. I was hooked. For my birthday this year, the Nitty Gritty Man gave me two lovely trees, a Brown Turkey and a Desert King. I pray that they flourish on our farm here in the Pacific Northwest. Success with figs in the PNW seems just amount as much luck as gardening skill. Some trees drip with the bounty in just a few short years, while others wither in our often finicky weather. They are my prized treasures and even months after being gifted them I have not decided their final planting spot. They seem happy enough still yet in their containers, but I need to settle on the location before they outgrow their modest dwellings… It will be a couple years before I am blessed (if I am) with the fruits, but until then I will seek out and purchase anything I can get my grubby hands on. Not too sweet and with a completely unique texture, these fruits are a foodie’s dream. Sweet, savory – so versatile. And then there is the spectrum of color that they offer. Green skin/strawberry flesh, purple skin/burgundy flesh, green skin/golden flesh, the list goes on – figs offer an eyeful. They have so many gourmet possibilities and I hope to explore many of them through this blog. But today I bring you an elegant little preserve. Fig Preserves with Lemon offer a truly splendid, luxurious treat for the taste buds. Thin wedges of fig, and small little nubs of lemon rind suspended in a ruby red syrup are toe curling, eye rolling delightful. You will want to choose firm-ish fruit so that the wedges do not disintegrate upon cooking. I looked for a variety with reddish purple skin and flesh to provide the luscious ruby hue. Drip over cheese cake, smear on an English muffin, smother a baked brie – or if you find yourself eating out of the jar just know you are not alone.
- 3lbs purple skinned red flesh figs
- 1 organic unwaxed lemon
- 4 cups sugar
- ¼ lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- Slice each fig vertically and then cut each half into approximately 4-6 wedges depending on the size of your fig. Thoroughly wash and scrub the surface of the lemon, and cut in half from end to end. Cut the lemon into small wedges and remove all seed. Slice each lemon wedge into across into small slivers. Layer figs, lemon and sugar in a heavy bottomed stock pot or dutch oven. Add water and lemon juice and slowly bring to a boil without stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with a film of plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8-24 hours. This process will soften skins and create a preserve with proper texture.
- Remove plastic wrap and return the fig mixture to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and very gently. Continue to boil for about 30 minutes or until the liquid is slightly thickened to a light syrup.
- Ladle into sterilized half pint jars, leaving ½ inch head space. Wipe rims of jars, place prepared lids and screw on sterilized rings finger tight. Process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes once the water returns to a full rapid boil. After processing, gently remove the jars and allow to cool to room temperature. Before storing loosen or remove rings.