Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves

Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves from "Preserving with Pomona's Pectin" by Allison Carroll Duffy.

Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves from “Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin” by Allison Carroll Duffy.

Excerpted from Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin by Allison Carroll Duffy (Fair Winds Press, June 2013).

Allison says: In this spectacular preserve, a touch of heat from the ginger and a little tartness from the lemons beautifully highlight the lushness of fresh, ripe figs. Try serving sandwiched between gingersnap cookies to accentuate its flavor profile. To ensure proper acidity levels, be sure to use commonly available, full-acid lemons such as Eureka or Lisbon lemons in this recipe.

Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona’s pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water may be stored in the refrigerator for future use.

Yield: 4 to 5 half-pint (8-ounce) jars

Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves Ingredients

2 pounds ripe figs
2 tablespoons peeled, finely grated ginger root
7 medium lemons, divided
4 teaspoons calcium water
1¼ cups sugar
3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin powder

Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves Directions

1. Wash your jars, lids, and bands. Place jars in canner, fill canner 2/3 full with water, bring canner to a rolling boil, and boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize them. (Add 1 extra minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.) Reduce heat and allow jars to remain in hot canner water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small sauce pan, heat to a low simmer, and hold until ready to use.

2. Rinse figs, remove stems, and slice them in half lengthwise. (Cut them into smaller pieces if you prefer, or if you’re working with large figs.) Combine figs in a saucepan with grated ginger.

3. Wash lemons thoroughly. Using a vegetable peeler, slice off long pieces of the exterior of some of the lemon peels, avoiding the inner white part. Then, using a chef’s knife, slice these pieces into very thin strips about 1-inch long. Repeat this process until you have accumulated ¼ cup of thin, 1-inch long strips. Add these strips to the fig mixture.

4. Slice lemons in half and squeeze out their juice, discarding the remaining peels. Divide the juice, setting aside 1/3 cup for later use. Add the remaining quantity to the fig mixture.

5. Bring the fig mixture to a boil over high heat, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 12 to 15 minutes or until lemon peels are soft, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

6. Measure 4 cups of the cooked fig mixture and return the measured quantity to the saucepan. Add the reserved 1∕3 cup lemon juice and calcium water and mix well.

7. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and pectin powder. Mix thoroughly and set aside.

8. Bring fig mixture back to a full boil over high heat. Slowly add pectin sugar mixture, stirring constantly. Continue to stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes to dissolve pectin while the preserves come back up to a boil. Once the preserves return to a full boil, remove from heat.

9. Can Your Preserves: Remove jars from canner and ladle jam into hot jars, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, put on lids and screw bands, and tighten to fingertip tight. Lower filled jars into canner, ensuring jars are not touching each other and are covered with at least 1 to 2 inches of water. Place lid on canner, return to a rolling boil, and process for 10 minutes. (Add 1 extra minute of processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level). Turn off heat and allow canner to sit untouched for 5 minutes, then remove jars and allow to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Confirm that jars have sealed, then store properly.

TIP: Grate That Ginger!
Using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, slice the thin, brown skin off a chunk of fresh, firm ginger root. Then, using a fine mesh grater, grate the ginger root. Don’t peel the whole root at once—continue to peel as you go along, so that you don’t peel more than you need. Grating the ginger will create a good bit of juice; be sure to incorporate it into your measured quantity of grated ginger.

For more inspiring recipe ideas, see Preserving with Pomona’s Pectin: The Revolutionary Low-Sugar, High-Flavor Method for Crafting and Canning Jams, Jellies, Conserves, and More by Allison Carroll Duffy and the Pomona’s Partners, published by Fair Winds Press, June 2013, and available in paper or ebook everywhere books are sold.

Pomona’s Pectin is available at your local natural food store, food co-op, and many farm stands. Find it also at Sur La Table and a growing number of more conventional grocery stores with natural food sections (Wegmans, Hy-Vee, Rosauers, Nugget Markets, Coborns, Fairway, and others). If you can’t find a store near you on our store locator, you can order from our website or many other online sellers.

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8 thoughts on “Gingered Lemon-Fig Preserves

  1. Can I reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe?
    How much bottled lemon juice would I need instead of using fresh lemon

  2. We have a Meyer Lemon tree and would like to use those lemons in this recipe. What amount of bottled lemon juice could we use to achieve the correct acidic level for water bath canning. I have been using pomonas pectin for a few years now and really like the ability to use low sugar. The jam I made earlier this summer, strawberry, was/is delicious !!!
    Thank you for your reply.

    • Dear Jan,
      Due to figs being a low-acid fruit, with variations depending on the type and where grown, we can’t tell you with certainty how much bottled lemon juice you would need to use to offset the lower acidity of Meyer lemons. This recipe was only made and tested using the regular higher acid lemons, Eureka or Lisbon.

      You could substitute the Meyer lemon peel for the peel if you wanted to do that.

      If you have the freezer space and want to make the whole recipe with Meyer lemon peel and juice, you would need to freeze the finished preserves for long-term storage, not water bath process. You would leave 1/2″ of headspace in the jars and freeze unsealed jars for safety. Frozen jam is great when defrosted.

      G​lad you found Pomona’s. I hope this answers your question.

    • Hi Christina,
      Yes, you can do both of those things. We can’t say how the recipe will turn out in comparison to the original, but we imagine it would be good.

      Here is a new FAQ on our website about equivalencies when substituting honey for sugar in a Pomona’s recipe that calls for sugar.

      If you do this, would love to know how it comes out and if you like it.

      Happy Holidays — and Happy Jamming!

  3. Here in Central Texas, making Fig preserves every summer is a ritual event. My gran used to use just sugar, lemons, and figs, but I never liked it. Years ago I got a Paul Prudhomme cook book and saw a recipe for Fig Pie with Sweet Crust. Man, he had a rich crust with egg in it that was hard to handle but was like a cookie to eat. His fig filling was a lot like making preserves but his recipe called for fresh ginger, lemons, and a whole orange chopped up. That was it for me! Seeing your recipe with the ginger reminds me of how I do my fig preserves now. Try substituting a whole orange chopped up for a couple of the lemons. GREAT! I’ve never used pectin in my preserves, but I’m going to try it to cut down on the sugar.

    • Hi Cynthia,
      Your idea of adding an orange to this recipe sounds delicious. HOWEVER, we would not advise substituting orange for some of the lemon. The lemon in the recipe serves two purposes: 1) to create the proper acidity level for safe water bath canning since figs are a low-acid fruit; and 2) flavor.

      If you want to add chopped orange to this recipe, you would need to substitute it for an equal amount of the chopped fig. Oranges are lower acid than lemons, but higher acid than figs, so the substitution for figs would not create a safety problem.

      If you do this, would love to hear how it comes out! And I think once you try lower sugar preserves, you won’t want to go back.

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