This recipe uses up all of those unripe green figs that are still clinging on to your tree as autumn approaches.
Across most cooler climates is wise to remove any unripened figs larger than a pea from your tree. This is because when larger fruit are left to overwinter not only will they seldom (if ever) ripen but they are also liable to deter new fruits from forming for the following season.
cloves and/or vanilla ( 3 cloves and half a split vanilla pod or to taste)
The first few steps are intended to soak out the bitter latex /sap and soften the fruits to prepare them for the syrup soaking. Note: some people can and do have a skin reaction to the raw sap so wearing gloves may be a good plan.
- Rinse the figs, cut off the stem part and poke a hole up through the base of each fruit with a large skewer or similar.
- Put them in water and let them soak for several hours – change the water several times to get rid of the bitter latex. The figs will float so keep them submerged with a plate and a weight.
- Boil the figs in fresh water for 15 minutes – stirring often to keep them submerged.
- Cool rapidly in cold running water.
- When cold repeat the boil and rinse process. (Some people advise ‘gently squeezing’ the fruits before the second boil to make sure all of the sap has been expelled.)
- Boil 3lb sugar with 3 cups of clean water for about 5 minutes, then add the figs.
- Boil the figs in the syrup for 15 minutes, then turn the heat off.
- Leave the figs to marinade in the syrup for 12 hours. If possible, gently turn the figs half way through to ensure they are evenly soaked.
- Remove the figs from the syrup with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Add the cloves and vanilla to the syrup and boil until it is thick (but not caramelised!)
- Add the lemon juice and figs and boil a few for further few minutes until the syrup has re-thickened.
- Put figs into sterile jars, cover with hot syrup (1/2 inch headroom) and seal.