A Quick Guide to Figs and Fig Preserves
Today, Fig Preserves are becoming a popular food due to their delicious flavor and nutritional value. Most people in the US, as well as other western countries have probably never eaten a fresh fig. For a long time this wasn’t really a very attractive fruit as most people associated figs with the dried versions that are often available. Fortunately, once someone actually tries a fresh fig they find that it is really very tasty, with a unique flavor that is something like a peach.
These days there are several types of figs grown in the United States, and people can buy them at produce markets to use for fig preserves or in other types of recipes. The most common figs in the United States include the Mission Fig, which is often grown in California, the Celeste figs, and the Brown Turkey Figs, plus several others.
When you are shopping for figs for making fig preserves you will want to be sure that you buy ripe figs, but you also will not want them overly ripe. Because most people are not too familiar with figs they may not know when a fig is ripe. This will greatly depend on the type of fig you are buying but the common Celeste figs, or Brown Turkey figs are usually a kind of golden yellow when they are ripe. It is also important that they be the right texture as well. A ripe fig should have a texture similar to the peach, but should not be mushy or soft at all.
Once you purchase your figs you will want to store them in a cool refrigerator. If you keep them on the counter they will go bad quickly. In a cool refrigerator the figs should last you for about a week.
Aside from making fig preserves you can also freeze figs to make preserves later, or to add to different recipes. You will want to freeze 12 figs at a time in a three-quart container. Wash the figs completely and remove the stems. Slice up the figs and put them in a syrup mixture of sugar and water. Place them in a zip lock bag and put them in the freezer as soon as possible.
Making fig preserves is really very easy, plus it is a delicious change from some of the other types of jam you may normally make. What you will need to make fig preserves is your favorite fig jam recipe, a fresh figs, as well as jars and lids. Plus you will need a large pot for a boiling bath.
Before you begin you will need to make sure that your jars and lids are clean; wash your jars in the dishwasher and use new lids and rings. The lids will need to be warming in hot water while you are preparing the fig preserves. Follow the direction of your favorite fig preserve recipe and begin adding the preserves to the jars. You will only be able to make small batches at a time or the preserves have a tendency not to thicken.
Once you fill the jars with fig preserves it will be time to place the lids and rings on the jars. Make sure that you do not fill the jar too full; they should be at least a quarter inch from the top.
The next step will be to place the jars in the boiling bath; they should have at least 2 inches of water covering the tops. You should boil the jars for about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the jars you using. The larger the jars the longer you have to boil. Using the boiling bath will help reduce the chance of your fig preserves spoiling.
Remove the jars and let them cool. As the jars cool you will hear popping sounds as they begin to seal. Once they are cooled all the lids should be sealed, if you can push down on the lid and it gives, it did not seal and it should not be used.
Fig preserves are delicious with toast, biscuits and many other types of foods.