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Fresh figs are abundant and delicious

Maor X/Wikimedia Commons

Fresh figs are so good eaten just as they are, you might have a hard time saving any to cook with.


Every year I anticipate the season for fresh figs. I usually end up eating all of the ones I buy, just as they are. A few times I have controlled my fig greed and managed to bake or preserve some.

I really miss the huge fig tree my grandparents had when I grew up in Gilroy. Eventually the tree was cut down and I don’t think I ever got over that. Now I have several fig trees planted, but only one has figs on it. Last year that same tree was the only one fruiting. The figs were ripe, but I decided to give them one more day. Well, I guess the ants decided the same thing, because they beat me to the figs and had gone inside each one to feast. This year I am ready with a product called Tanglefoot applied to the trunk. I hope it works.

Wish me luck and enjoy the recipes.

Fig raisin spice cake

1 cup chopped fresh figs 1 cup raisins 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1/4 teaspoon salt Boiling water 1/2 cup vegetable shortening 1 cup brown sugar, packed 2 eggs, beaten

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a standard loaf pan, or use an 8-or 9-inch pan or muffin tin. (If using other than loaf pan, the stated baking time will be different, so watch carefully when baking.)

  2. Cover figs and raisins with boiling water and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.

  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt; set aside.

  4. In a large bowl, cream shortening and brown sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs.

  5. Add flour mixture, half at a time, to the wet ingredients. Blend until smooth and combined. Fold in figs and raisins.

  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before slicing. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Spiced fig pickle

2 cinnamon sticks 1 tablespoon whole allspice 1 tablespoon whole cloves 2 slices (1/4-inch thick) fresh ginger 30 ripe fresh figs, peeled 5 cups granulated white sugar, divided 2 quarts water 3 cups cider vinegar

  1. Tie cinnamon sticks, allspice, cloves and ginger into a cheesecloth bag; set aside.

  2. In a heavy saucepan, measure 3 cups of the sugar and stir into the water. Bring to a simmer, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add figs to sugar water, lower heat, and simmer gently for 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Stir in the remaining 2 cups sugar, cider vinegar and cheesecloth bag of spices. Continue to gently simmer until figs become translucent. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Remove and discard spice bag, cover figs in syrup with a lid, and refrigerate for 24 hours to marinate.

  4. Return figs to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. When heated through, pack hot figs with liquid into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch of head space.

  5. Process in a boiling water batch for 15 minutes or according to your canner’s manual recommendations. Makes 8 pints.

Fig pecan bread

3 eggs 2 1/2 cups sugar 2 cups ripe figs, mashed 3/4 cup vegetable oil 3 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs; add sugar and beat well. Add the mashed figs and vegetable oil.

  2. Sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the fig mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Beat well. Fold in chopped pecans.

  3. Bake for 1 hour in greased and floured loaf pans. Makes 2 large or 3 small loaves.

Fresh fig cookies

1 cup sugar 1/2 cup shortening 1 egg 2 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoons salt 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1 cup chopped fresh figs 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350. In mixing bowl, cream sugar and shortening and add beaten egg.

  2. In another bowl, sift dry ingredients and blend with creamed mixture. Fold in figs and nuts.

  3. Drop by spoonfuls on greased sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 18 servings.

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