This is recipe for fig preserves, based on the recipe from the Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. For this recipe, I use a really lovely type of fig from Greece called Royal Figs. These figs have a purple skin that is streaked with green, and the inside fruit is a beautiful ruby purple colour. The figs are very rich and jammy. When you preserve this fig in this fashion, you get a beautiful preserve that looks beautiful spooned over ice cream, and tastes even better.
Take 8 cups of firm fresh figs (about 27-30 medium size figs) and place in a large glass or stainless steel bowl, and cover with 8 cups of boiling water. Cover and let stand for 15 minutes. Carefully drain the figs, then rinse gently with cold water and drain again.
In a large saucepan, combine 2 2/3 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, and 1 lemon seeded and thinly sliced. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until sugar dissolved. Boil hard stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Remove lemon slices. Reduce heat to medium-high and return syrup to a boil. Add 2 cups of figs and boil until the figs look slightly transparent. Use a slotted spoon to remove the figs to a shallow pan. Process the rest of the figs in small 2 cup batches until all fig are done. Then reduce the remaining syrup by boiling. Pour the thickened syrup over the figs in the shallow pan, cover and leave overnight (8 hours).
Prepare your jars by washing the jars and lids in warm soapy water and then rinse well. Heat the glass jars in a large pot by placing them on a small rack, filling the pot to cover the jars, and heating the water to a gentle simmer (180 farenheit or 82 Celcius). You don't want to boil the jars, you just want to keep them hot until you use the jars. In a separate pan, heat the jar lids in water (same temp as the jars) making sure yo don't boil them, an keep them hot until you use them.
Carefully transfer the figs and syrup to a large stainless steel pot, and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and skim off any foam if necessary. Get the jars out of the hot water, and ladle figs and syrup into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Remove any air bubbles, and add more syrup to adjust headspace. Wipe rim, put on lid, and screw the band down to close the jar to fingertip tight (closed enough that it wont leak, but not tight tight tight.)
Place your small shallow rack in your pot, put the jars in the pot on the rack, and cover jars completely with water, the water should be an inch above the jars. Cover pot, and bring water to a roiling boil. Once at a roiling boil, boil the jars for 10 minutes. Then turn off heat, remove the pot lid, and leave for 5 minutes. Then remove the pots to a dishtowel placed on your counter, and leave the jars undisturbed for 24 hours. If you are using those canning jars, they will start making very satisfying popping sounds as the seals take. This recipe makes six 8 ounce jars (250 ml jars).
I don't bother using a canner for this, I just use my big stock pots. But i did buy the Bernardin canning set, which include the rack for the pot, an air bubble remover, a head space measurer, good tongs to move the hot jars, a magnet to lift the lids from hot water bath, and a few other things. It is very helpful and makes the whole jam thing much easier.
For this recipe, I try to keep the figs whole, so I am careful when I transfer the figs, and when I am stirring.