Fig syrup is a great way to use lots of figs, which happens when you have a fig tree, or live where they grow wild. Here’s how to make it.
I first made fig syrup years ago, after several people suggested that this would be a good use the avalanche of figs I get every year. It is, and there are several ways to make it.
Your primary enemies are fig seeds. Syrup should be seed-free, but fig seeds are minute, like a strawberry, so they must be dealt with.
The easiest way to make a clear syrup is to simmer the figs in water, strain, then add sugar and cook down to the consistency you want. You can do this by simmering (my preferred method), or by steeping them overnight.
You can also push cooked figs through a food mill, then let the mix strain through cheesecloth or a jelly bag. This method makes a better syrup, but it’s harder.
(Got raspberries or blackberries? Make blackberry syrup. Elderberries? Make elderberry syrup.)
What to do with it? Pancakes spring to mind, as would a drizzle over ice cream, cake or sweet bread. Maybe add it to a pan sauce for venison or other game, or even put it in your coffee. It’s syrup, after all — and a pretty one, with a beautiful garnet color that’s loaded with fig flavor.
For the record, I use Mission figs, because that’s what sort of tree I have. Any variety of fig will work — brown turkey is another great choice — and the color of your syrup will reflect that.
Once made, fig syrup is shelf stable. I’ve kept it in the pantry for more than a year.
Another great use for lots of figs is to make fig bread or fig jam. My jam uses a bit of ouzo for a Greek touch.
If you liked this recipe, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below; I’d love to hear how everything went. If you’re on Instagram, share a picture and tag me at huntgathercook.
- 4 to 5 pounds ripe figs
- Zest and juice of 3 lemons
- Chop the figs well, add the zest and juice of the lemons, cover with water by about an inch, and simmer over medium-low heat for 2 hours. You want everything to break down and be a mush. Add water as it cooks so it won't stick to the pan.
- Get a large kettle of water ready so you can can the fig syrup as soon as it’s ready.
- Strain the mixture through cheesecloth, then measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return to the pot to reduce to the consistency of maple syrup, or honey — your choice.
- Turn off the heat and push the fig mixture through the fine plate of a food mill. If you don't have a food mill, you could use a drum sieve or a fine colander. But a food mill is best. After everything is through the food mill, pour the fig mixture into a jelly bag if you have one — I don't, so I used a clean spare undershirt — and push everything through. You will leave a lot of good stuff in the bag, but it's the price for a clear syrup. If you are OK with a cloudy syrup, just use cheesecloth.
- Measure out the fig juice and add an equal amount of sugar. Pour this into a clean pot and bring to a simmer. Let this simmer gently for 10 minutes.
- Pour into sterilized pint jars and seal. Process in boiling water for 15 minutes. The syrup should last at least a year. Keep in the fridge once you open it.
I’ve always had this confusion when the term equal amount is used. Although in this case it probably doesn’t make a difference. If this were two liquids I would assume equal amount by volume. But with sugar is is equal by weight or volume?
Hank Shaw says
James: In this sort of thing, sugar acts like a liquid. So if you have a pint of liquid, you add a pint of sugar. In this very specific case, since the fig liquid will already be sweet, I normally short the sugar a little, i.e., maybe 7/8 or even 3/4 of a pint of sugar. You need enough to be shelf stable, but using less isn’t a problem if you keep it in the fridge.
Bernard van Kerre Broeck says
I basted the syrup on a 22 pound bone in double smoked ham AND injected the ham with a more liquid fig syrup with cinnamon in it. The seconds and thirds were impressive! I used a juicer to get the juice and keep out the seeds. Good recipe! PS the lemon is important
Tad Einloth says
Sounds good to me – will try it in August when I have a lot of figs!
mary taylor says
Awesome! Will give it a try this year! Hey speaking of Jam maybe you can create a Bacon Jam recipe for us to try?