It can be quite easy to make mouthwatering fig preserves by just following a few tips. Preserves have chunks of fruit in them instead of just having a uniform, mash-like consistency, as in jam. Some of the best tips to make fig preserves include covering the sauce pan in water to avoid scorching the figs. Cooking them slowly on a low flame allows the juices in the fig to blend nicely with the sugar solution. It's also important to cook them in small amounts, around 2 cups (470 ml) of figs each time.
Making excellent fig preserves begins with choosing figs that are firm and ripe. If the figs are mushy, soft, and basically too ripe, they will become mush during the process. To get a chunky preserve with whole figs in it, firm figs with a texture similar to a peach need to be chosen. Once purchased, they either need to be turned into preserves fast or stored in the refrigerator to avoid spoiling. Some cooks prefer to cut the stems off the figs and slice them in half.
Small figs can be left whole, but the bigger ones are best sliced. These are then placed in a pot, covered with about 2 cups (470 ml) of sugar and allowed to sit overnight. This helps to draw the juices out of the fruit, which dissolve the sugar. The figs and sugar can be layered on top of each other until the pot is full. During the cooking process, it is important to not stir the mixture a lot and use a long-handled spoon. Those who wish to avoid lots of sugar can use honey instead.
Fig preserves can be made more exotic by adding ingredients like fresh ginger or star anise or a few cloves to the simmering fruit. Some prefer to give more fragrance to their preserves by adding a teaspoon (five milliliters) of vanilla or throwing in a few cinnamon sticks. To give it an interesting twist, a whole blanched almond may be inserted into every fig before the simmering process. The mixture can be tasted for sweetness, and more sugar can be added if needed. It's important to cook the figs until they are translucent or nearly so.
Some cooks recommend adding a dash of salt to allow all the flavors to come together. While fresh figs make for the best fig preserves, dried figs can also be used. In this case, they need to be rehydrated by soaking them in water overnight. It's also critical to sterilize the jars and jar lids used to store the final preserves properly, using boiling water or a dishwasher.