Balsamic Preserved Figs
The weekend! It’s the weekend! Was it just me, or did this week actually fly by? I can’t believe I’m sitting here at home, sipping an Abita Satsuma Harvest Wit (yum), and blogging. Some weeks just drag by, but this one ended before it began (I know, I know, it was a four day work week, but still…)
G is abandoning me for the Microsoft BUILD conference starting on Sunday morning (for a whole week, ugh), so I’m <i>building</i> a list (ok, no more puns) of projects for me to tackle while he’s gone. Most of the new house stuff is beyond my understanding or talent (i.e. we’ve still got to get the ceiling put in), but our interim condo definitely needs some sprucing up.
See this courtyard? Yeah, it needs work. We let it just do whatever it wanted to all summer, but now the giant weed-plant-things (no idea what they were) died back, the grass stuff is taking over, and it’s a generally unpleasant place to hang out. But with the cooler weather, I’d like to. So Sunday? Hopefully it’ll all be gone by that night.
But before I clean anything or rip out dead plants or do anything remotely useful around here, how about some figs? Beautiful, ripe, fresh-from the farm-up-the-road figs?
Figs have never attracted my palate, personally. They’re one of those fruits that I’ll eat if handed one, but will never pick out. But these looked so beautiful at market that I just had to snap up two pints worth. And am I glad I did.
After googling around for a preserving recipe that I could get behind, I found Nina of Put Up or Shut Up!‘s recipe for Balsamic Pickled Figs and I fell in love with the idea. My main issue with figs is that they’re sticky and sweet–but even though balsamic vinegar is sweeter than an apple cider vinegar or a rice vinegar, it’s still got that bitey edge to temper the sweet sweet figs.
I toyed with the recipe a bit depending on what I had on hand (one thing I did have was a gigantic bottle of balsamic vinegar from Sam’s (an impulse buy of the “but it’s so big I have to buy it” variety…bad move), and after leaving them be for a month and a half or so, I popped them open today. Yes, they’re sweet, but they’re also rich and almost smokey from the balsamic vinegar. The agave added back a bit of the honey sweetness the original recipe called for, but over all, the taste of the figs really shone through and complimented the balsamic. I didn’t add any nuts, but I can definitely see why the original used them, and the slight hint of rosemary was a nice addition. A pretty delicious start to the weekend, I must say!
Balsamic Preserved Figs
slightly adapted from Put Up or Shut Up
2 pints fresh figs
1.5 c balsamic vinegar
3 c water
3/4 c agave nectar
3/4 c turbinado sugar
sprigs of rosemary
strips of lemon zest
Bring a several cups of water to a boil. Prick each fig a couple of times with a fork. Place figs in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Gently swish the figs around. Drain. Repeat if necessary to clean figs.
Combine balsamic vinegar, water, agave, and sugar in a large nonreactive pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Carefully lower the figs into the simmering syrup. Simmer uncovered for twenty minutes. Continue simmering for another 10-25 minutes, depending on the size of your figs. The liquid should look slightly syrupy and the figs should be a little glossy.
Arrange figs in sterilized, hot jars, dividing the herbs, peppercorns and zest evenly between them. With a ladle pour the syrup over the figs leaving 1/2 inch of headroom.
Close and seal the jars . Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
My batch produced 2 pints.