Aug 24

Fig, Ginger, Star Anise Preserves

in Fruits & Vegetables, Sauces & Condiments

Fig Week

Today’s fig adventure features Kadota figs—the fig with honey sweet amber colored flesh.

Kadota Figs

I couldn’t resist using some of the figs to make a batch of fig preserves.

A jar of fig preserves

I decided that the sweet honey flavor of the Kadota figs would be especially delicious paired with the spicy bite of fresh ginger and one of my favorite ingredients—star anise.

Aromatic Star Anise

I sliced the figs in half and scooped out their soft flesh with a grapefruit spoon.  Then I went through the process of turning the figs into preserves—making a sugar syrup, then adding the figs, fresh ginger, and star anise, and stewing everything together until it had reduced and become thick and syrupy and fragrant.  After the preserves had cooled slightly, I filled glass jars, sealed them, let them finish cooling, and then put them into the refrigerator.  I didn’t go through the actual canning process to seal the jars, as I knew I would be giving all but one of the jars away.

Fig, fresh ginger, and star anise preserves

The finished preserves were absolutely delicious.  The ginger complimented the sweet fig flavor perfectly, and the flavor of the star anise added a wonderful aromatic licorice flavor.  As soon as the preserves were ready for tasting, I pulled out some toasted whole grain crackers, spread them with a bit of cream cheese, and then added a spoonful of the fig preserves.  A perfect afternoon snack.  I highly recommend it.

Fig preserves with cream cheese on crackers

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Fig, Ginger, Star Anise Preserves

Makes 2 3/4 cups preserves

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 pounds fresh ripe figs, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
3 star anise

1. In a medium-size pot, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.

2. Reduce the heat level to medium and add the figs, lemon juice, ginger, and star anise.  Continue to cook, stirring periodically, until the mixture reaches 210 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer.

3. Remove from the heat, remove the star anise, and pour into warm, sterilized jars.  Cover and seal.  Let the jars cool then store in the refrigerator.

* Variations: Replace some of the water with freshly squeezed orange juice.  If you don’t like the flavor of star anise/licorice, replace the star anise with 2 cinnamon sticks.

** To have the preserves last longer, you will need to go through the actual canning process.


* Don’t forget to enter for the chance to win your own box of fresh California figs!!  Details can be found in my Fresh California Figs + A Giveaway! post.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Manju August 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm

I am getting some fresh figs from the CSA this week. I am definitely going to try this recipe. I can imagine the spiciness from the ginger and anise mingling with the sweetness of fig..heavenly!!


jenjenk August 24, 2010 at 3:55 pm

yummmm…i’ve decided that i don’t need the crackers, bread, or anything. it’s great on its own.

BTW, i didn’t mention this to you but I don’t even like licorice but this was GREAT!!!! the figgy flavor was wonderfully rich!!


Barbara | VinoLuciStyle August 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I absolutely love the sound of this. I am relatively new to using figs…I know it’s not fair but I blame my lack of interest on Fig Newtons; the one cookie I could not stand as a girl. I know, I know, but it’s true. Now, can’t get enough of them when in season and these preserves look and sound amazing. Spice store list is growing, adding star anise to cardamom. Savory Spice Shop…tomorrow!


Jenny Flake August 24, 2010 at 5:09 pm

So pretty! I can practically taste it smothered over some toast! Beautiful girl!!


Paula - bell'alimento August 24, 2010 at 5:14 pm

You know I LURVE it ; )


AmyS August 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

OH MAN!! These fig posts are taking me back in time. My grandma would make jam with figs. I’m going to have to get my dad to check and see if the the fig tree is alive and kicking next time he sees my uncle at the old house…


Angie August 25, 2010 at 5:06 am

These preserves look amazing. I’ve actually never cooked with figs, but I’ve got to change that.


Joy August 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

That looks great. I love the figs and ginger combo.


Erika - In Erika's Kitchen August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

I make fig jam and fig chutney every year – I’m intrigued that you scooped out the flesh, because I use the skin as well. Why did you decide to use only the insides? I’m curious.


Fuji Mama (Rachael) August 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

@Erika – In Erika’s Kitchen, I chose to use only the flesh because Kadota figs have a thicker skin and I was going for a smoother texture than I could get if I had used the skins. Also, I wanted to preserve the color of the flesh and didn’t want the skins changing that at all!


Erika - In Erika's Kitchen August 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm

@Fuji Mama (Rachael), Got it. I’ve never worked with Kadotas – the trees to which I have access are Brown Turkey (we think), Mission, and some other unidentified variety with small brown fruit. All have very thin skins. Thanks for the quick response, R!


Lora August 26, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Ab fab flavor combo. Love it.


Christine September 4, 2010 at 7:44 am

This recipe for fig preserves sounds lovely. I bet your kitchen smelled so good when you were making this recipe, too! My elderly neighbors behind me have a small tree that they very carefully tend to as it’s not so hardy in our gardening zone. Unfortunately for me, they haven’t shared their harvest in a while. Perhaps I ought to be forward and offer making jam for them in exchange for some fruit?! :D


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