Figs, plump and naturally sweet are one of my favorite fruits to preserve. I used Totato, Mission and Turkish figs this year and found the combination delivered a superbly flavored preserve with a round velvety texture. I opted to forgo the pectin since figs are loaded with it naturally.
Pectin is used in canning jams, jelly's and preserves and acts as a thickening agent. Mainly extracted from citrus fruits then reduced into powder form. It can also be purchased in a condensed liquid form and used for canning in the same way as powder pectin. I used less water in the recipe and reduced the mixture down by almost half, so there was no need to add pectin.
I've also been reading up on food photography and investing in a few items to help control the light, while reading my camera's owners manual to get the best possible settings for the shot. I've found that I need a better lens to capture a crisper/sharper image, up close or in macro setting. I'll be saving my pennies while I begin my search for a higher quality camera and lens. In the meantime, I'll be doing my best to take a higher quality photo with the camera I'm using.
Fig Preserves Recipe
Makes 5-6, 8 ounce jars
prep time 35-40 minutes
8 cups whole fresh figs
2 teaspoon baking soda
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon minced ginger
zest from 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 cups hot tap water
- Dissolve the baking soda in about 2 quarts hot tap water, and immerse the figs in the treated water in a large bowl. Gently stir to wash the figs, then drain off the water and rinse the figs thoroughly with fresh cool water.
- Slice figs in half, if you prefer a whole fruit preserve, skip this step
- In a large stock or canning pot, combine figs, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, ginger and 1 cup hot tap water
- bring to a boil stirring frequently, if using whole fruit gently stir in order not to break fruit
- reduce heat and continue cooking until mixture is thick and gooey. Watch closely in the last few minutes to keep bottom from burning
- fill sterilized jars with hot preserves leaving ¼ inch head space and cover with clean tops and rims
- cook in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.
- Follow links for detailed canning instruction.
Open jars can be kept up to 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator. Spread a generous helping of fig preserves over a crusty French bread and savor the flavor!