My family has two gorgeous fig trees in the back and front yards of their house in Israel. They are packed full of sugar, tanins and pectin which makes them ideal for making jams, confitures, fig butter, fig jelly, compotes and preservs.
All of these are based on the idea of cooking them in sugar and allowing the sugar to naturally preserve them. Some if these ideas make use of sugar and pectin to thicken or gel the substance further (you may already know all of these but just for the sake of posting to everyone's benefit):- Jam
has equal or more sugar than fruit. Fruit is mostly sectioned or crashed.- Confiture
is a jam made primarily with whole fruit- Fruit butter
(or fig butter in this case) is a jam that has more fruit than sugar. It therefore may be a little more tart and slightly more perishable.- Fruit Jelly
(or fig jelly in this case) is a jam where the fruit has been strained so there are no fruit particles in it. Instead, the flavored liquid jells on it own. (The pectin should be enough, no need for gelatine)- Compote
is a desert of fruit cooked for long time in water and sugar until it is soft but not disintegrated (cook gently, water should not boil as it will cause the fruit to disintegrate). Often there are other fruits with it and sometimes flavorants such as lemon juice, wine, liquor, spices (such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, juniper berries, etc.)- Preserves
of figs - like a compote but with much heavier syrup (I mean, higher sugar contents). You would vacuum jar it (Very easy, no machinery needed, you simply boil the jarring cans and cool them, waiting for the lid to pop). They will store for months, even years (just put them in a cool shaded pantry).
It is also delicious in pies
. It pair phenomenally well with goat's cheeses
(especially Crottin or fresh Chèvre) and it a star of many salads
. It bakes really well with chicken or roast
. For the holiday dinner last year I did fish with figs
, Calvados, pecan and pistachio with herbes de provance, it was REALLY good (if I may say so myself).
It also bakes well just on its own
, or as you would make baked pears or apples (really nice bakes in port wine with sugar, lemon zest and a sprig of thyme)
In the hot months, I make fig ice cream
. I have adopted a recipe by David Labovitz which I find utterly perfect! Here's the recipe: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2011/07/fresh-fig-ice-cream-recipe.html
You can also dry the figs
. It's one of the best dried fruits out there and if you pack the dried figs well you can use them throughout the off months too.
Also, if you are feeling brave and want to try your hands at making liqueurs
, you can look up this incredible fig liquor called Feigling. It's a vodka made of figs. You can also make fig wine
I hope I gave you enough ideas for a few years