Oh fi'g 'oodness sake!


This recipe took me 2 days to make. I'm still deciding as to whether that was pure and utter madness or not, as it was a rather grueling 2 days, but then again I did decide to make 2 kgs of the little buggers.
My husband is over the moon, so it looks like preserved figs with everything for the next long while (we have drastically cut down on our sugar intake since June, so anything sugar infused is met with much excitement).

It all started as a rescue operation really.
Last year was our first fig season for our little tree, so they did not ripen. We picked them and donated them on to a granny so she could make fig preserve.
We were rewarded with 2 jars, one of which I dropped on the floor. So 1 jar.
This year we were a bit greedy. So when our little fig tree exploded with about 2 hundred figs we rubbed our hands with glee at the jars and jars of ripe fig jam we could foresee lining the kitchen cupboard (sugar addiction rearing it's ugly head again).

You can imagine our horror, when we noticed that the figlets were starting to droop and turn yellow as the days progressed.
Apparently figs have 2 seasons so the first crop in Oct is perfect for preserves as they don't ripen, and the second in Jan is when they will.
After several google searches, water, compost etc dumped on the tree, with no changes, I decided it was time to attempt my own preserving..

After following this recipe,
And then this one as the boiling instructions were a little unclear.
And then this one as boiling instructions were still unclear

I realized at the third recipe, that I had forgotten to soak the figs in a lime or bicarbonate solution.
The first few recipes were for Sikalai gliko, spoon sweet figs and the third for preserved figs, but the methods were still similar so I plowed on, even though I could end up with mounds of sticky, deflated figs instead of firm tear-shaped Bon bons.

In the end they were perfect.
So here is my step by step recipe for fool proof preserved figs. I halved the recipe, as I made 2 kgs.



Figs on left. Perfectly translucent.
Figs on right, not boiled in water long enough, started to droop, therefore did not soak in enough sugar syrup and did not become completely translucent. 

Preserved green figs.
Disproved fig preserving theories:
I did not soak the figs in lime or a bicarbonate solution, so I'm not sure if this step is really necessary.
If it looks like you have enough sugar syrup. You really don't.
You don't have to use rock hard figs, they definitely look nicer, but I used slightly droopy softer ones.

1 kg green figs, poked and soaked
1.5 kg water
1.5 kg sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Addition 1kg sugar and 1kg water for more syrup for bottling.

1. Trim the green figs at the top, so they start to ooze white latex.
2. Use a chopstick or thick needle to make a hole in the base to release more latex (I poked a hole through the bottom right by the end point of the fig, where it starts to go red).
3. Rinse the figs twice to remove latex, then soak in a bucket of fresh water. Use a plate or a weight to keep the figs fully submerged. Soak overnight.
4. Place the soaked figs in a pot of clean water and bring to the boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Strain the figs and place them in cold water to cool down. 
5. In a new pot of water repeat step 4. Boiling the figs 15 mins, straining, and cooling in fresh cold water.
6. Heat the 1.5kg sugar and 1.5kg water in a large pot. Stir until sugar has dissolved and then boil for 5 minutes.
7. Add the cooled figs and boil for 15 minutes, using a large spoon to turn the figs and make them submerge evenly.
8. Soak the figs in this sugar syrup overnight, weighing them down so they are fully submerged.
9. Bring the syrup and figs to the boil.  Add the juice of 1 lemon.
Boil until the figs are completely clear and translucent (not read- a-newspaper translucent, but you will see the difference, as the fig is a uniform dark grey green all around and firm). This step will take up to 2 hours.The sugar syrup will be thick, and reduced to just over a third of the level you started with. 
10. Boil the remaining 1kg sugar and 1kg water and lemon juice while the figs are cooking. You can add this to the figs, after the first hour of cooking, if your pot is large enough, or boil separately to the same consistency as the fig syrup.
11. Tightly pack the figs into sterilized jars (boil the jars in water, or bake with hot water in the oven until hot). Pour in the syrup, giving an extra 3cm above the figs, as they will absorb syrup overnight. Seal with sterilized lids.
12. Eat! Or store for later.






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