The only difference between summer in southeast Texas and fall in southeast Texas is about 8-10 degrees. That’s it. So while everyone else is apple pie-ing and pumpkin bread-ing, I’m still eggplant-ing and fig-ing. It won’t be cool enough for boot-ing and scarv-ing for at least another 4-6 weeks.
I do still have a functioning garden full of peppers, eggplants, and figs. Good with the bad, I guess.
The good is really good, though. Supermarket fig season is probably one of the shortest seasons of any produce. But it’s a completely different story when you have a fig tree in your backyard. We just started picking figs from harvest #3.
A couple of months ago, I set out to make boozy fig preserves but changed course when I realized that I didn’t have quite enough sugar or quite enough desire to put pants on to go buy sugar. So instead of cooking the figs down to a sweet, boozy, and spreadable obliteration, I cooked them candied them in a sweet, boozy syrup.
My favorite way to eat candied figs is over a warmed wheel of brie. Just add pita chips and a bottle of white wine to round out the food groups. It was amazing on a panini with bacon and goat cheese – a BGCF, if you will (you won’t). It made a bowl of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla extra indulgent.
I also reheated a jar with a teeeeeny bit of finely chopped habanero to give it some heat and served it with grilled pork chops. There are no wrong answers here.
The color of your final product is going to depend on the color of your figs. My brown celeste figs yielded an almost candy-red syrup. The preserves from the original recipe were a beautiful purple.
And I didn’t do anything special to can them for long term storage – let’s be real, they’re not exactly gonna stick around for long in your house either. But if you want to store them long-term, brush up on your sterilizing and water bath and head space details before getting started.
Fresh figs are candied in a sweet, Madeira-spiked syrup into a condiment versatile enough to serve on top of ice cream, a warm wheel of brie, or on top of grilled pork chops or chicken.
- 3 lb figs, trimmed and halved (large ones quartered)
- 3 cups sugar
- Zest and juice of 1 large orange (about 1/2 cup juice)
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice (~3 lemons)
- 3/4 cup Madeira wine
- Add the sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, and wine to a large pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- Add the figs and cook for ~5 minutes, until softened. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the figs to a bowl.
- Add the orange and lemon zests to the syrup in the pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and let the syrup reduce by half.
- Add the figs back to the pot and gently stir to heat through.
- Divide the figs evenly between 4-5 half pint jars.
- Divide the syrup between the jars and let cool. Cover and store in the fridge - will keep for at least 2 months.
- If canning to store for up to a year, start with hot sterilized jars and then process in water bath for 10 minutes. Consult a "canning best practices" for further details.
- Serve warmed over a scoop of ice cream, serve over a wheel of baked brie.
Yields: ~5 half pint jars
Estimated time: 45 minutes