My amazing friend Christy and I spent our Saturday morning drinking champagne and making fig preserves. We share many things in common, but one monumental aspect of our friendship is that we are both fanatic about figs. Figs have brought us closer together and truly made us realize that we have an everlasting bond. Thank you, figs.

These sweet and delicate fruits are only in season for a very short time and we wanted to capitalize on the opportunity.

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Look how beautiful they are!

This recipe makes about 5  half-pints (jelly jars) of preserves.

Ingredients:

3 lb figs such as Mission, or Brown Turkey

4 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups freshly squeezed orange juice

3/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Grated zest of one orange

Canning tools:

When you are canning or preserving, you want to make sure you have the proper tools. To make these preserves you will need:

5 half-pint jelly jars with lids and rings

1 large canning pot with a rack 

Tongs (for handling the hot jars)

Canning funnel (optional)

Magnetic lid lifter (optional)

If you really want to get into canning, I would recommend buying a canning kit. This is the one I have.

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Look at these two, just working away in the kitchen! Now for the method

Set your oven to 200 degrees.

Very thoroughly wash your jars, lids, and rings, making sure that you are using new lids to ensure that the jars seal properly.  Place the washed jars, lids and rings on a sheet tray. (It’s okay if they are still wet).

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Place the jars in the oven. Leave the jars in the oven until you are ready to use them.

Next, fill your canning pot with water, cover, and place on the stove over high heat. The water will take a long time to boil so you want to make sure you get this started right away.

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We started with 3 lbs of figs. Trim the fig stems, leaving a little of the stem attached to each fig. Either slice the figs in halves or quarters.

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Grate the zest of one orange.

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Set the orange zest aside.

Squeeze 1 1/4 cups of freshly squeezed orange juice, and 3/4 cup lemon juice.

In a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat, add the juices and 4 cups of sugar. (I know it seems like a lot, but you are making preserves for goodness sakes!)

Bring the sugar and juices to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Add the figs, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the figs in the juices for 5 – 10 minutes.

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Using a slotted spoon, remove the just the figs (not the juice) to a bowl.

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Add the orange zest to the liquid in the saucepan and cook, uncovered, until reduced by one third. Return the figs to the pan and cook for a few minutes longer to heat them through.

Remove the hot jars from the oven. Using a ladle or a canning funnel, divide the figs into the hot jars leaving 1/4 inch of headspace.

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Wipe the rims very clean. Place the lid on the hot jar (use a magnetic lid lifter if you have one). Tighten the ring around the lid so that it is hand tight.

Place the jars on the rack and lower the rack into the canning pot so that the jars are completely under water. Cover the pot. Process the jars in the boiling water for 10 minutes. No peeking!

Remove the jars from the pot after ten minutes using tongs and place them on a clean towel.

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Allow the jars to cool completely. Once they are cool, you can test the seal two ways: 1) Press on the top of the jar to ensure that the lid does not pop up and down; or 2) Remove the ring and lift the jar up by just the lid. If the seal does not break than the jar is properly sealed.

The fig preserve can be eaten immediately!

The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year. If the seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Spread some goat cheese on a cracker or piece of crusty bread and spoon some of the preserves on top. Serve at breakfast with some coffee, or as a snack with some champagne. Amazing!

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