Figs is one of my favourite summer fruit. In this post I have two recipes for figs but these two recipes
cannot be made during the same period. See update at the end.
The spoon sweet (fruit preserve) is made when the figs are still green and unripe whereas the jam is made when figs are ripe.
Fig Spoon Sweet
As I mentioned above, in order to preserve figs, they should not be ripe.
In Greece figs are ripe around August, so we make the preserve around end April – early May. The amount of sugar depends on the weight of the figs. Weigh the figs after peeling them and add the same amount of sugar. Also see note below.
- 50 unripe figs
- 1 ½ kilos sugar
- 1 cup of cooking quick pickling lime
- 3 cups of water
- ½ cup of lemon juice
- Cloves and/or vanilla
- 50 blanched and roasted almonds (optional) or use 25 and split them into two pieces
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Peal off a thin layer of skin from the figs (use gloves to protect yourself from the latex oozing out of the figs). Place them in a big pot with the water and quick lime for 1 hour.
- Rinse the figs thoroughly and return to pot, cover with water and bring them to boil. Use a skewer or a knitting needle to poke them and when the fall off the skewer you will know that they are cooked.
- Remove from the heat, drain them and use fresh water to cover them and add the lemon juice. Let them soak for one hour.
- Meantime blanche and roast the almonds and after the one hour drain them again and insert one almond in each. Push it from underneath.
- Put them back to the pan, cover with sugar and the 3 cups of water and let them rest for ½ an hour.
- Put them back on the heat and bring them to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Leave them in the pot all night and the following day bring them to boil again until syrup is thick. When they are done, add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the vanilla.
- Remove from heat and they should cool down before placing them into sterilized jars.
Note: Next time I will make them I will double the amount of sugar and water, as they absorb a lot of syrup and was not enough left to fill the jars and preserve the spoon sweet.
In this case I had to make extra syrup (equal amount of sugar and water and lemon juice and mix it with the other syrup).
Update: 1 May 2014
This year I made fig preserve again. The figs were very small (1 kilo figs were 137 figs), so there was no need to peel them.
I did not poke them either nor did I use pickling lime because I didn’t have any. I just cut the tip on top and removed the hard end, on the other side, using a sharp knife.
After boiling and changing the water twice, I let them drain the water but as I was adding a clove on top and the almond on the hole, below, as I squeezed them, a lot of water came out, so I did this to all the figs. They looked very wrinkled but when boiling them again with the sugar, the syrup was penetrated through, so they get their shape again.
As I mentioned above, I doubled the amount of sugar and water.
This time I used a thermometre to check if the syrup was ready. When it reached 105 degrees Celcius, I removed it from the heat. I removed the fig preserve in a colander and gathered all the syrup which it had absorbed. When it cooled, I returned the syrup back to the pot and waited again until it reached 105C. I add the preserve back in the pot and checked one more time to see that the temperature reached 105C. I left it cool in the pot before storing it in sterilized jars.
Updated: 7th September, 2014:
Fig preserve in September, when the figs are ripe? I didn’t think this was possible, until a friend of ours who has fig trees, asked me if I wanted some unripe figs to make some preserve.
I had no idea that you could make a preserve this time of the year but I was willing to experiment. The figs were not in the best of state and it was impossible to remove a thin layer of skin as the whole skin would come out. If I removed the skin, they would probably end up as a jam. I washed and scrubbed them well in order to prepare the preserve with the the skin on. While it was cooking I noticed that it turned into a pinkish colour.
I followed the same method but the end result was a more chewey preserve, which reminded me of dried figs.
I still had a little bit of the fig preserve from 2013, and a couple of jars from the one I made in May 2014.
You can see the difference in the picture I took with three different types of figs. On the left, is the one I made yesterday. In the centre is the one I made in the spring and on the right the one I made last year.
The best is that of 2013 which is firm and crunchy. The one I made in spring is lighter in colour and although tastes great, is softer in texture. The one I made yesterday, is darker and more chewey, although it was boiled for a longer period.
You can see the difference when it is cut.
How to clean the pot from fig milk?
When I finished making the preserve, both in Spring and yesterday, I had a hard time cleaning the pot. There was a sticky, substance from the fig milk. sticking on the sides of the pot.
I tried scrubbing it for a long time , I tried washing it with pure blue alcohol (coloured) scribbing it with a sponge, I filled the pot with water, added dish liquid and boiled the water and I made a mixture of baking soda and coarse sea salt but none of the above worked.
The last thing I tried was red wine vinegar on the sponge and scrubbing it worked!
Actually these ripe fis were not intended to become a fig jam but as I said yesterday, when I went to the farmers’ market I bought tons of fruit, amongst other two kinds of figs: black figs and royal figs.
The only ones in the family eating figs is my elder son and me. We ate a few but since I had bought so many other fruit, after a few days later I saw that they were becoming soft and if I didn’t do anything quick, I would have to throw them away.
So the first thing that came to my mind was to preserve them. I peeled them, weighed them (i just guessed about the sugar as I was not following any recipe) and added sugar and brandy. I put them on the heat stirring until the sugar dissolved and when they began to boil, I lowered the heat and simmered them for 15 minutes. I added the lemon juice and removed them from the heat. I let it cool down and stored the jam in the refrigerator until I had time to think what to do with it.
When it cooled down I tried it and could not stop eating. It was so addictive, I could eat it all at once. When I made it I didn’t add too much sugar as I wanted to use it right away and not to preserve it as a proper jam, so if you’re thinking of preserving it, add more sugar. A few days later I searched for recipes in the internet and decided to make one. It was a disaster but I will talk about this and what I eventually made in another post.
Fig Jam, Recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 – 20 minutes
Yields: 3 cups
- 700 grams of figs (after being peeled) (I used black figs and royal figs)
- 300 grams of sugar (I would say add 400 – 500 grams)
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons of brandy
- Peel figs and cut into 4. Add sugar, lemon juice and brandy and put on heat stirring and pressing them with the spoon to release their juice.
- When they boil, lower heat and simmer for fifteen minutes, mixing constantly.
- Allow to cool before using or placing into clean jars.
Rum and Cinnamon Fig Jam
This year I decided to make something different. It was ready in less than half an hour.
Fig Jam with Lemon, Rum and Cinnamon, Recipe by Ivy
- 10 medium black figs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/5 cup lemon juice
- 1/5 cup dark rum
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 stick cinnamon
Peel the figs and cut them into small pieces. Put them in a saucepan together with all the other ingredients and with a wooden spoon, press to mash them. As soon as they begin boiling, reduce heat and keep mixing for about 15 – 20 minutes, until it begins to thicken.
Allow to cool before storing into clean sterilized jars.
I just loved the combination of lemon with cinnamon!!
Update 6 August, 2013
Loved my new jam. I used three kinds of fruit and used honey instead of sugar. Ripe fruit have their own sugar so the amount I added was perfect for my taste. If you like your jam to be very sweeet you will have to add more honey.
Fig, Peach and Nectarine Jam with Honey, recipe by Ivy
- 360 grams peeled figs
- 1 peach, peeled
- 2 nectarines
- ½ cup honey
- 2 fragrant geraniums
- 1 stick cinnamon
- ¼ cup water
- 4 tbsp lemon juice (½ lemon)
Fruit were peeled and boiled for about 20 minutes. Procedure same as above. Lemon juice was added just a few minutes before turning the heat off.
Update 22 August, 2013
This jam is less sweet than usual jams but as a topping on desserts it’s perfect.
Figs and Peach Jam
Light Fig and Peach Light Jam, recipe by Ivy
- 2 kilos figs
- 3 peaches
- 1 cup cane sugar
- ½ cup honey
- 3 tbsp stevia
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 fragrant geraniums
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ½ cup water
- 25 grams gelfix
- Follow the directions for other jams.
- I boiled the jam for about 10 minutes x 3 times. I cooked it on a ceramic stove top and each time I let it cool completely before boiling it again.
- I added the lemon juice and gelfix before the third time of boiling.
Note: I made the jam more than once and sometimes you don’t need to add the gelfix. It all depends on the natural pectin in the fruit and whether they are very juicy or not.
Kaimaki Ice Cream with Fig and Peach Jam
Other recipes you might enjoy:
About Spoon sweets
How do we know if syrup is ready?
How to fix spoon sweets
Karydaki (green (immature) walnuts)
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,