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This preserving project is a fun and make-ahead friendly way to use up peak-season figs, and the payoff is great: Once the holidays roll around, you'll have an elegant fruit at your fingertips to serve with cheese platters, cookies, and pies. While this recipe from chef Scott Peacock is an easy one and mostly hands-off, it does take a couple of days to complete, so plan accordingly! 

Martha Stewart Living, November 2019


Credit: Con Poulos

Recipe Summary

15 mins
1 hr 10 mins
Makes 2 quarts


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Wash figs a few at a time by quickly dipping them in a bowl of cool water. (Do not soak.) Place in a single layer on a kitchen towel; drain. Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar evenly in a wide nonreactive pot. Top with figs, then sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Cover; refrigerate at least 12 hours and up to 2 days.

  • Place pot over low heat, uncovered, and bring figs to a bare simmer. (Tilt pan from side to side or swirl a bit to help sugar dissolve, but do not stir, or fruit may get damaged.) Partially cover and simmer 10 minutes; remove from heat. Cover; let stand 4 hours.

  • Repeat step 2 twice; figs should turn translucent in final simmering stage. (If necessary, allow to simmer longer than 10 minutes in final simmer, until they do.)

  • Carefully spoon hot figs into hot sterilized canning jars (ideally pint-size or smaller). Bring syrup to a boil, skimming any scum that rises to surface. Turn off heat; stir in brandy. Taste; add more brandy as desired. Pour hot syrup over fruit to cover. Seal and process in a hot-water bath 10 minutes. Figs can be stored in a cool, dark place up to 1 year.

Cook's Notes

If you start early in the morning, you can complete this recipe within a day, but you can also let the figs cool to room temperature and refrigerate them overnight between simmers.

Resting the figs in sugar overnight before cooking helps draw out moisture and lessens the chance of scorching, but in a pinch you can cook them right away.