My mom grew up eating figs from a large, spreading tree that grew next to her childhood home in southern Texas. Moved by marriage to northern climes, Mom often spoke of that tree, the scent and the flavor of its fruit, the cool of its shade. So…reading cookbook author Belinda Hulin’s ode to the fig tree that grew 30 feet high and more than 30 feet wide in her mother’s Louisiana backyard, struck a chord. Use this recipe to make Belinda Hulin’s Fig Cake, our home-made fig “newton” bar cookies and our fig jam tart.
Makes 6 half-pint jars
- 6 cups fresh, whole figs
- 2 Tbsp baking soda
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 sliced fresh lemon, seeds removed (NOTE: if you like the flavor of marmalade, leave the skin on. If you don’t, just use the juice and pulp from the lemon and discard the peel and seeds.)
- Make preserves: Snip stem ends from figs and discard. Rinse trimmed figs in colander. Mix baking soda into ½ gallon cold water in a large pot. Place figs in the pot and swirl around to rinse well. Drain figs in colander and rinse with fresh water. Combine figs, sugar, water and lemon slices (or, if you don’t like the flavor of marmalade, just the chopped flesh of the lemon, seeds removed) in tall soup pot. Cook, stirring often, over medium-low heat. Cook until fig mixture reaches desired thickness—about 2 ½ to 3 hours. NOTE: I used a hand-held immersion blender to blend most of the figs for a less-chunky preserve.
- Sanitize six, clean, pint canning jars by boiling in water along with canning seals and lids. Ladle hot fig preserves into the jars, leaving about ½ inch of headspace at the top. Place seals on the jars and process in a boiling water bath 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from bath, let stand until cooled, and store. NOTE: This recipe can be halved and refrigerated or frozen, if you don’t want to can the preserves. For this option, let preserves cool, then spoon into storage tubs. The preserves will keep for one month to 6 weeks in the refrigerator; 6 months in the freezer.