How to Make Homemade Candied Figs - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: April 2014: Spring is just around the corner. Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam!
How to Make Candied Figs- Easily!
Click here for a PDF print version (coming soon!)Making and canning your own candied figs is also quite easy. Here's how to make it, in 12 easy steps and completely illustrated (I have more photos yet to add). These directions work equally well for regular sugar, low sugar, fruit juice-sweetened and Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda)-sweetened jam.
For more information about figs, see Fig Picking Tips. See How to Make Homemade Fig Preserves and Fig Jam and How to Can Figs and Other fig recipes. See this page for Blueberry Jam directions, and for strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, etc., and other types of jam, see this jam-making page!
Ingredients and Equipment
Fig Canning Directions
This example shows you how to make canned (or bottled) jam; regular or with added seasoning. The yield from this recipe is about 7 pint jars.
Step 1 - Pick the figs! (or buy them already picked)
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!
At right is a picture I took of figs from my own tree - these are a variety called Celeste - see this page for more information on various types of figs, how to select the variety and how to pick them!
To pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms. just select your area!
FYI, Figs are REALLY easy to grow and also make an attractive landscaping tree!
Step 2 - How much fruit?
It depends upon how much you want to make. I generally use pint jars for canned figs. An average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. That's about 4 dozen medium to large figs.
If you are using quart jars, an average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; An average of 2-1/2 pounds yields 1 quart of canned figs.
Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jam), it’s better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam. Some newer dishwashers even have a "sanitize" setting.
Step 4 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water
Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming
water is fine)
water (or on the stove in a pot of water on low heat) for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean and sanitize the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 -Wash the figs!
I'm sure you can figure out how to gently wash the fruit in plain cold water.
You need to cut off the stems and the bottom of the fig, but you should not need to peel them. Don't use overripe or nasty looking ones (example photo below)
At left, sample figs with unappealing peels (skins).
At right is a sample slice of a perfectly ripe but not over-ripe fig. It depends on the variety, but generally, they should be pink/yellowish and not brown inside....
Step 6 - Prepare the Crock-Pot
To a crockpot (13 quarts or larger), add 1/2 cup of water and a little sugar - just enough to cover the bottom of the pot. Diabetics: You can use Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) instead. Note: You can use a regular pot instead of a crockpot... if you want to stand there stirring it for hours.... Me, I'll use a crock-pot and multi-task.
Step 7 - Add the figs
Then begin layering figs (whole) and 8 pounds of sugar - alternating the two (again, those on sugar-restricted diets can substitute Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda)/sucralose). I believe you could also use a naturally sweet fruit juice, like white grape juice, but I haven't tried it yet.
The pot should be full and sugar should be the last layer.
Step 8 - Cook the figs
Allow them to cook on medium heat (5 or 6 setting on electric stove) - You should always start by setting the stove or crock pot on low or medium heat. I would recommend starting with low heat because you do not want to risk burning it! If it doesn't get hot enough to reduce in 12 hours, bump the setting up to the next position, and watch more carefully, in case that turns out to be too hot!
The goal is to cook gently until the syrup will not run "fast" off the spoon when cool. The syrup should just drip slowly off the spoon. Foam will have turned from white to light brown. You can remove the foam, but that's just to make it look prettier in the jars. It won't hurt the flavor or canning process.
How long will it take? That depends If the figs are juicy, as they will be if they were picked after a rain, it may take 10 hours, otherwise, just 8 hours.
Keep the extra syrup in the fridge - it's just too good to wash down the drain! Gently boil the figs in syrup for 5 minutes.
Step 9 - Add the natural preservative
Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar to each of the jars. Alternatively, you may add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (also goes under the brand name "fruit fresh") per quart or 1/4 teaspoon per pint to the jars. This is to increase the acidity and help prevent discoloration and spoilage.
Step 10 - Fill the jars with figs and syrup, put the lid /rings on and put in the canner
Fill jars with hot figs and cooking syrup, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Fill them to within ¼-inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.
This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy! Place them into the canner.
Step 11 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 45 minutes at sea level. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them.
To adjust, process according to the recommendations in the table below:
Recommended process time for Figs in a boiling-water canner.
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 3,000 ft||3,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 12 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last about 18 months. After that, the get darker in color and start to get runny. They still seem safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 12 to 18 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade Fig Jam - makes 7 pint jars, 16 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2006||Source||Subtotal|
|Figs||11 lbs (about 2 gallon, or 4 dozen large figs)||$8.00/gallon||Pick your own||$8.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||7 jars||$7.50/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$7.50|
|Sugar||4.5 cups||$1.25||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$1.25|
or about $2.40 per pint jar
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! If you already have jars or reuse them, just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
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* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
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