Old-Fashioned Fig Preserves

8 cups whole fresh figs, most any variety will do
2 cups granulated sugar
2 lemons, one sliced thin and one juiced
1/2 cup water

Place the figs, sugar, lemon slices, and lemon juice in a nonreactive pot and chill overnight.

Prepare your canner, jars, lids, and rings. Add the water to the fig mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about an hour until the figs are soft and translucent.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the figs and lemon slices from the syrup and place them in a bowl, draining as much liquid back into the pot as possible. Set the figs aside and reheat the syrup to boiling. Allow the syrup to simmer, uncovered, for anywhere between 15-30 minutes until it is thick. Gel can be tested in several ways. If the syrup will coat the back of a spoon and hold a clean line when a finger is drawn through it it is set. It is also ready if a dollop is placed on a cold plate in the freezer and remains in a "mound" with no liquid seeping around the edges.

Once the syrup is thick, return the figs to the syrup and heat just long enough to bring the mixture back to a boil.

Ladle the hot preserves into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and wipe the jar rims. Place a lid and ring on each jar, and process in a boiling water bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars to a towel to cool for 24 hours before labeling and storing.

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