Green figs in rose syrup
This is the recipe that I referred to in my blog, which took so much work to produce. However, if you are only making a more normal amount, such as using a kilo or so of figs, rather than the 9kg I started with, it would be much more straightforward. A week later, the figs are tasting pretty good, so here is the method, and be reassured there is no trace of the dreaded latex now!
I am pleased to have found a way of using these little figs, which would otherwise have gone straight into the compost bin otherwise as there was no chance of them ripening outdoors at this time in the year
Latex can be very irritating, especially when combined with the rough fig leaves as you gather the fruits, so wearing gloves is a good precaution when picking and preparing them. Do not use a non sstick pan for the initial boiling, as you have to scrub hard to remove the latex from around the edges of it, and your non-stick pan would never be the same again. I used a stainless steel one. When you get to making the syrup and boiling the figs in it, a non-stick pan works well Forewarned is forearmed!
What you need:
1 kg of small green figs, the ones picked off the tree in the Autumn If you have slightly more or less, it will be fine, as long as you make a little more syrup for a larger amount. Make sure they will fit in the pans you plan to use so you can make them all in one go, though!
3 cups of sugar
½ tsp rose essence
½ tsp vanilla essence
Juice of one lemon
What to do:
1. Wearing gloves, trim off the stem of each fig and cut a cross in the base - the point of this it to allow the latex to escape.
1. Put the prepared figs in a large bowl of water. If the water turns very milky, change it for fresh a couple of times, then leave the figs to soak overnight, weighted down by a plate to ensure they are all submerged.
2. The next day, drain the figs and put them in a pan of fresh water, bring to the boil and boil for 20 minutes. Drain and cool: I used ice water to cool them down quicker
3. Repeat Step 2 - The point of this is that the expansion and contraction of the fig flesh enables the release of all that latex, so it is quite important!
4. While the figs are cooling the second time around, start making the syrup. Put the sugar in a nonstick pan large enough to take all the figs in one go, and add a cupful of water. Stir and heat until the sugar is dissolved completely. Put in the cloves
5. Reduce the syrup by about a third.
6. Add the rose essence and the vanilla. Remember that the syrup will be further concentrated so don't overdo the rose. You can always add more later if you need to
6. While the syrup is boiling, sterilise your jars and keep warm in the oven
7. Put the cold figs in the syrup, with the lemon juice, and boil down again until thick and syrupy. This takes about 15-20 minutes
8. Check the flavour of the syrup and adjust if needed. Do not worry that the figs lack flavour at this point: they will steep in the syrup in their jars.
9. Once the syrup is ready, pack the figs tightly in warm jars and pour in the syrup to cover them completely, leaving about 1cm space at the top of the jar.Poke out any air bubbles with a sterile bamboo skewer, and then put lids on. Straight sided pickle jars are easiest to use.
10. Leave the figs for at least a week before eating them: they get better the longer they are in the syrup.
These are very good with vanilla icecream, or good, thick plain Greek yoghourt. Next year I shall try a batch with lemon syrup as well as the rose I think.