I had so much fun making jam that I felt confident in making the leap when one of the ladies I shop with often at our local Farmer’s Market said she was taking pre-orders for her figs.
I got two gallons of the lovely things, which she said would be about nine pounds.
Wolf suggested fig preserves, which was a treat he remembered his grandmother making. After much debate – since I had no idea what I was doing – I settled on this Judy’s Fig Preserves recipe. Mostly just because the lemons sounded good.
After washing and removing stems, the first real step is to pour the sugar over them and let it sit there and “stew” overnight. Since I don’t have a stockpot or anything similarly large, I ended up using my new (huge!) pressure canner (pot part only).
I wasn’t sure how much that was really going to accomplish. But what do I know?
Was it the pot? The wrong temperature setting?
It seemed to take a long, long time to get to the point where the figs were even beginning to turn transparent. The 2-3 hours listed in the recipe was not even close.
Then we had a problem of not knowing when to “say when”. When most of the figs are mostly translucent, is that it? Or are you really trying to get all of the figs all the way?
At some point – something like 6-8 hours later – we stopped cooking it. I canned as much as I could do in a single batch in my water bath canner (5 pints and 2 half pints, since I ran out of pint jars), then put the rest (2 1/2 more half pints!) in the fridge for immediate use. (So we also got a greater yield than the recipe suggested)
The preserves are, overall, a success.
They do have a bit of a strong, bitter taste. I attribute this to overcooking, but Wolf pointed out it could simply be the character of the particular figs we had. He says it does largely resemble what he remembers from his grandmother’s kitchen.