A sweet friend of mine was gracious enough to share some of her fig harvest with me this year. Many people have never had a fresh fig but most have had a fig newton. Fresh figs are so good and naturally sweet. They typically peak July through the first frost in the South. Fresh figs are very perishable and should be kept refrigerated, they still only last a few days. You can freeze figs and they’ll keep a couple of months.
To make fig preserves, start by slicing the stems off of the figs and give the figs a rinse. Add the figs to a stock pot and add the sugar. Mash the sugar and figs together. Add the water, lemon juice, ginger, and salt and stir to combine. Over medium heat bring to a simmer. Turn the heat down to medium low and continue to simmer for two hours, stirring constantly. Cover but leave the lid cracked for evaporation during cooking. The last half hour while the figs cook boil enough water to sanitize five 1/2 pint (8 oz) mason jars, lids, and rings. When the jars are prepared, allow to cool enough for handling – add your cooked fig preserves, filling to the top. Add the lid and ring and close tightly. Add the filled jars back to the water bath and process for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool completely. Be sure to tighten lids after cooling as they tend to loosen during the cool down. Refrigerate the preserves after they’ve cooled completely. Enjoy the preserves as a spread, a topping, or use it as a filling for pocket pies.