I absolutely love figs and one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is candied. Whole figs, simmered in syrup spiced with cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom until they're delectable. The Candied Figs (also called preserve figs and glace figs) are then dried on a dehydrator.
About This Recipe
So what are preserved figs or Candied figs? Let's first look at the definition of Candied Fruit: Crystallized fruit, or glacé fruit, is when whole fruit, pieces of fruit, or peel, are cooked over a long period in a sugary syrup.
Over time, the syrup absorbs the moisture from the fruit and preserves it. In most candied figs recipes, the figs are cooked for a long period of time (sometimes up to a week).
Eventually, the preserved figs are dried, or semi-dried. Sometimes the figs are dredged in more sugar.
I can't recommend candied figs if you are diabetic, or watching your sugar intake. But, if you are in good health, and want to indulge occasionally, you have to try them!
Preserved figs are delicious by themselves, or as a topping over vanilla ice cream. Drizzle some of the leftover syrup (once you strain the candied figs) over the ice cream, if you're really brave!
How to Make This Recipe
1. Stir water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, except the figs, and bring to a boil.
2. Place whole figs in a strainer and gently wash, then carefully drop individually into the saucepan.
3. Continue to boil over medium heat for 60 minutes.
4. Leave the figs to rest for at least 12 hours or overnight.
5. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow to boil for 1-½ to 2 hours. Leave the figs in syrup until completely cooled, or overnight.
6. Drain figs (retaining the syrup for other uses). Place drained figs on dehydrator trays, leaving plenty of space for air circulation. Set the temperature to 125. Dehydrate until glace figs have the desired texture.
Did you know that there are hundreds of fig varieties? But, don't worry, I won't be discussing all of those varieties.
I will focus on the three most common varieties found in America: Calimyrna figs, Brown Turkey, and Black Mission.
Before I get into the fig varieties, I would like to highlight the fact that figs originated in the Middle East.
One of the most common fig variety is Calimyrna figs. This is the variety that I have in my backyard. They were originally known as Smyrna figs, which was the name of an ancient city in Turkey.
When they began growing them in California, they changed the name to Calimyrna. These figs are green and turn lighter in color as they ripen. The sweet, nutty flesh on the inside is pink.
Calimyna figs are delicious right off the tree but can be purchased dried as well. I use them to make Fig and Goat Cheese Pizza, Fig Preserves, Fig Cake, Fig Scones, and fig newtons.
Brown Turkey Figs
Brown turkey figs have a rust-colored exterior, and a pale pink interior. Compared to most figs, they are milder in flavor and sweetness.
I love figs, but I'm not crazy about Brown Turkey figs. However, Turkey Figs are perfect for baking, or to use for making jam.
Black Mission Figs
Have you ever wondered where black mission figs got their name? Well, Spanish Franciscan missionaries are responsible for bringing this variety of figs to southern California.
In 1769, the same year San Diego was founded, the figs were planted at the San Diego Mission. As a result, these figs became known as black "mission" figs.
These figs have a dark, purplish-black exterior, and a strawberry-colored interior. This variety is very sweet and can be usually found both fresh, and dried.
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Candied Figs | Preserved Figs
- 3 cups water
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 fresh or dehydrated lemon slices
- 1 teaspoon cardamom pods
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- 1 inches cinnamon stick
- 3 pounds whole figs
- Stir water and sugar in a medium-sized saucepan, over medium heat, until sugar is dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients, except the figs, and bring to a boil.
- Place whole figs in a strainer and gently wash, then carefully drop individually into the saucepan.
- Continue to boil over medium heat for 60 minutes.
- Leave the figs to rest for at least 12 hours or overnight.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow to boil for 1½ to 2 hours. Leave the figs in syrup until completely cooled, or overnight.
- Bring the mixture to a gentle boil and allow to boil for 1½ to 2 hours.
- Leave the in syrup until completely cooled, or overnight.
- Drain figs (retaining the syrup for other uses). Place drained figs on dehydrator trays, leaving plenty of space for air circulation. Set the temperature to 125. Dehydrate until desired texture or dryness is achieved.