Fresh Figs

A friend of mine posted on the homeschool forum that she had figs in her backyard and to come pick some. So, Gary and I picked about 3 full plastic grocery bags full this morning. (Don’t worry, she’ll have a ton more in a couple days).

Figs are so tasty just to pop or to slice and spread a little goat cheese onto. We stopped at the library and picked up “Fig Heaven” by Marie Simmons for some recipe ideas. Fig pizza, anyone?

The first thing I wanted to do, besides eat a bunch, was to set aside some in preserves. Marie’s recipe for “Fresh Fig, Lemon and Strawberry Jam” offered alternatives to strawberries but I didn’t have enough of anything she suggested so I went online for any similar recipe and found a site (www.eatingoutloud.com) with what seemed to be a yummy recipe using only figs. In fact, the two recipes are very similar except for the serving size and the extra fruit.

The recipe called for lemon zest and 1/2 juiced lemon which I didn’t have, so using bottled lemon juice, I eyeballed what I thought a 1/2 lemon would juice out which turned out a perfect amount. I also didn’t have a cinnamon stick so I used 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon. It made exactly 8 oz and I put it in a canning jar to cool. Warm, it tastes fantastic.

Here’s the recipe:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 # fresh figs (about a dozen)
1 3″ strip lemon zest
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 lemon, juiced
Add water and sugar to a pan and place on a medium heat to dissolve. Remove the stems from the figs and cut into quarters. Add to the sugar mixture along with the lemon zest, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to a light simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the mix thickens. Remove from heat and cool. My notes: At this point you can put the mix in a canning jar and do the canning procedures and then store in your pantry. If not, then store in the refrigerator.

I plan to make more since I have a lot of figs. This would be great to keep and eat through the fall and winter.

Marie’s recipe had basically the same procedure but makes 6 half-pints. Here are her quantities and ingredients.

1 1/2 # fresh figs, cut in 1/2″ pieces
2 pints of fresh strawberries, hulled/quartered (or peaches, nectarines, blueberries, apricots)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 lemon, cut lengthwise, quarterd, seeds and white pithy center removed, cut crosswise into thin slices. (she doesn’t say what to do with this in the description so I would remove the skin and put the pieces into the mixture)

Marie’s recipe calls for occasionally using a potato masher while the mixture is simmering. The other recipe didn’t but I did mash the mixture from time to time. I think it would have been quite chunky otherwise.

Lots of people don’t use their figs because they don’t know what to do with them so if you have friends with fig trees offer to pick them. Make something for yourself and share it with them.

Next on my list: Fresh Fig Quesadillas, Fig Smoothie, Fig & Peach Crumble and Homemade Fig Newtons.

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