This green fig preserve makes an exceptional – compulsory, in my opinion – addition to a cheese board with a variety of hard and soft cheeses, crackers, crusty bread and juicy fresh grapes.
Green fig preserve goes well with all types of cheeses but it’s always best with a piquant feta, gorgonzola, roquefort or a peppery cream cheese or goat’s cheese log.
They aren’t just for complementing savoury snacks, either! Pop open a jar of green fig preserve for a deliciously sweet delight too. Slice some of the figs over greek yogurt with a sprinkling of muesli or over flapjacks with a dollop of crème fraîche.
They add a beautiful concentrated fruity flavour that you’ll soon find yourself missing if you haven’t added a spoonful to your plate.
If you’re lucky enough to have a fig tree in your garden, making your own green fig preserve is a perfect way to use them up and save them for another couple of months. And how about surprising family and friends with a homemade gift that tastes as good as it looks?
Believe it or not, medieval monks made fig drinks by mashing fresh figs into spring water. These drinks were thought to stabilise the blood, clear acne and energise the old and infirm.
Chopped fresh figs were also considered to be excellent for sore throats, bronchitis and coughs. Currently, the use of the milky sap of figs is still used in coagulating cheese on farms in Palestine and Turkey. Who knew it was such a super fruit?
Figs were such a precious food that drawings of them have been found in the pyramids of Giza and ancient writers like Aristotle wrote of figs as medicine and regarded figs as a trade to be treasured. We’d wholeheartedly agree.
Green Fig Preserve
- 1 kg green figs (from the first crop otherwise if too ripe they become bitter when preserved)
- 1 kg sugar
- 1½ litre litre water
- ½ cup lemon juice
For the lime solution
- 5 litre water
- 5 tsp slaked lime (calcium hydroxide, which can be found at pharmacies)
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
To prepare the figs
- Wash the skins of the figs and cut off the hard stem
- With a sharp knife, make a cross on the opposite end of the fig, over the little hole
- Weigh the figs
- Make the lime solution and soak figs in it overnight ensuring the figs are all covered
- The next day, rinse the figs twice, thoroughly and soak them in fresh water
To prepare the syrup
- Boil the water and sugar in a large heavy bottom pot
- Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil
- Stir to dissolve the sugar
- While this is boiling
Cooking the figs
- Boil the figs in 1.5 litres of water for about 20 minutes or until they are tender
- Small figs will need less boiling, so keep an eye on them
- Drain. and add the figs to the boiling syrup
- Simmer uncovered until they are translucent and the syrup is thick 20 to 35 minutes
- Spoon into hot sterilised jars, fill the bottles to the brim with the syrup.
- Wipe the top of the jars clean with a damp cloth
- Seal and label the jars
Nothing beats the strength and durability of an original, German-made Weck jar. Elegantly designed with a wide mouth for easy cleaning, these jars are perfect for smoothies, canning, preserving and fermenting, or for any other dry or wet goods in your kitchen and fridge.