Whole Green Fig Preserve


Following my recipe for fig jam online, I was contacted by a very nice guy called John Titterton who said:

I noticed your blog update with the fig jam recipe and thought I would pass this recipe on to you. It is made using green figs - harvested just before they ripen on the tree. The preserved figs are best eaten with a nice soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert, but are also good with some harder cheeses. Maybe even a nice home smoked cheese and crackers!

The recipe was from my father, who used to make a few hundred bottles at a time and passed to me after his death. I make a batch every year if I am at home, but they do not last too long!

John Titterton
Cape Town, South Africa.

Regrettably, the file he attached became corrupted when I lost a lot of my emails, and with one thing and another, it's taken this long for me to be able to put John's dad's recipe online.

Whole Green Fig Preserve

100 green figs
2 tablespoons bicarbonate of soda
3.4 litres water


  • Scrub the figs and cut a cross into the end opposite the stalk.
  • Mix the water and bicarbonate of soda and soak the figs overnight.
  • Remove from the water and weigh the figs, recording the weight.
  • Place into clean boiling water and boil for 15 minutes or until soft.
  • Drain and then dry the figs well, removing excess water.
  • For each 500g figs or part thereof, mix 500ml water with 500g sugar.
  • Boil the syrup until it just starts to thicken.
  • Add the figs and boil until the syrup is thick.
  • Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice for each 250g figs and just bring to the boil again before removing from the heat and letting cool.
  • Bottle the figs and cover with the syrup.

Note 1: If the syrup froths whilst boiling, add a small lump of butter.

Note 2: A small stick of ginger can be added during the boiling process to add a slightly different flavour.

Many thanks John.

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Fig Jam

Until a couple of years ago, I'd never come across anyone with a fig tree. Recently, I've met two people growing them locally. This year's been a good one for them and I've been offered surplus figs from both. When one brought some to the pub to give away and offered me what remained at the end of the night, how could I refuse? However, whilst I do enjoy eating them raw, large quantities have a debilitating effect on my digestive system! Not nice when you're a wheelchair user.

In the circumstances, I thought I'd better look for something else to do with them; a trawl of the internet produced a number of recipes for fig jam:

Figs for Jam

Click here, there's more to read...

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Candied Fruits - Oh Dear!

Candied Lemons and oranges

The Candied Oranges and Lemons looked so promising during the majority of time that they were soaking in sugar syrup, but the end result is quite a disappointment. The rinds are far too hard and the structure of the lemons has partially collapsed. I think that perhaps I didn't poach them for long enough on the first day. I've not given up all hope and have left the bulk of the fruit in the syrup to, hopefully, candy further.

I'm almost sure that it's me at fault and not the recipe, so I've shown 'the courage of my convictions' by risking another attempt. This time using pineapple.

Pineapple Candying

Chilli, Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

Chilli - chili sauceI've mentioned before. Well, along with the plethora of beetroot that he brought recently were all the tomatoes that were left on his tomato plants when he cleared his greenhouse. Some red, but mostly green when they arrived; in between then and now, most have turned red.

End of season green and red tomatoes? A red pepper past its best but still usable? A bag of chillis?

It's got to be a chilli sauce!

Chilli, Tomato and Red Pepper Sauce

750gm end of season tomatoes - some red, some green - peeled and chopped
1 large Red Pepper - chopped
3 or 4 large chillies - chopped
2 onions - chopped
2 inch piece of ginger - grated
3 garlic cloves - crushed
200 ml white wine vinegar
150 gm white sugar
salt - to taste
2 tsp Chilli powder (US - use Cayenne pepper - our chilli powder is just powdered chilli, not a spice mix like yours)
2 tsp paprika
¼ tube tomato puree (50 gm)

Put all the ingredients except the sugar, chili, paprika, salt and tomato puree in to a pan and simmer them until soft. Liquidise, and then sieve them and return them to the pan along with the other ingredients. Simmer them for a further 30 minutes or so before bottling in jars that have been sterilised by putting them into a 120°C oven for about 20 minutes. Cover with lids that have been sterilised in boiling water.

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Beetroot Relish

The Christmas preparations march on. Blast, I've gone and said the C-word when I'm meant to be a miserable old Scrooge. This could ruin my reputation!

Anyway, enough of all that; my mate left a bag full of green tomatoes and beetroot in the front porch the other day so, to use some of the beetroot, I decided to make a beetroot relish recipe that I had seen on the Expat Gourmet blog.

Beetroot relish

Mine only differed in that I omitted the port as can't have alcohol. It makes a nice change from 'chutney type' accompaniments and the 'orangey' taste that initially dominated has now mellowed and is very pleasant. All-in-all it's a great one to add to my 'make-it-myself' Christmas presents.

I think I must be on the same wavelength as The Expat Gourmet as I notice that he/she has made raspberry vodka; I have also made some and our recipes are very similar. I've made damson vodka, sloe gin, blackcurrant brandy, and blackberry whisky as well!

Oh, I nearly forgot, the cheese in the picture is from Sainsbury's and is their "Blue Cheese, Basics"; at £6.45/kg it's nearly £3 a kilo cheaper than their Blue Stilton. However, other than the inclusion of annatto, the nutritional breakdown's identical. Not similar, identical: I'll leave you to draw your own conclusions!

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