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Vanilla Fig Preserves
A perfect way to explore the gastronomical wonders of the fall season is to make fig preserves; fresh figs are abundant in the summer and fall. Vanilla fig preserves with its autumnal red colour, delicate vanilla aroma, and unique taste is a gourmet delight. Give the gift to homemade vanilla fig preserves to family and friends! This recipe is not only a tried and tested one but also it is very simple and easy.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
  1. How to select the best figs for your preserves: 1. Pick seasonal fruit. 2. Choose fresh, soft to the touch but not squishy or bruised fruit. Their stems should be bright green.
  2. Wash the figs under cold running water; drain them thoroughly, remove them to a paper-towel lined plate to dry. Stem them, and remove the skin just around the bottom with a paring knife.
  3. Put the figs, water, and sugar into a large saucepan. The saucepan should have a thick base for a good slow simmer. Set the saucepan on medium heat. Bring the preserves to the boil and simmer for 50’. If necessary, you can use a wooden spoon to remove any scum that floats to the surface. Do not stir the mixture, but only gently shake the saucepan.
  4. Split and scrape the vanilla seeds from the bean. Add the seeds and the lemon juice into the saucepan. Simmer for about 5' and remove from the heat.
  5. Allow the preserves to cool in the saucepan. Store your homemade vanilla fig preserves into sterilised jars.
Recipe Notes

Greek spoon sweets and Philoxenia

The ritual of Greek hospitality

Greece has a long tradition in hospitality due to its history. The Greek word Philoxenia is actually a synonym for hospitality. According to the Ancient Greek tradition of hospitality, called Xenia, Greeks show courtesy and generosity to strangers; bound by this cultural law, Greeks offer guests spoon sweets accompanied by Greek coffee and cold water — the ultimate Greek ritual of hospitality. Spoon sweets are sweet preserves, served in a spoon as a gesture of hospitality in Greece. The most enthralling element of the Greek custom of offering homemade spoon sweets as a gesture of hospitality is that this historic bond that links gastronomy to hospitality has endured for centuries in Greece; from the king of the Ancient Greek Olympian gods, Zeus Xenios, the patron of hospitality and guests and the Ancient Greek gastronomy, the Graeco-Roman gastronomer, Athenaeus of Naucratis, and his work Deipnosophistae, the wide range of Byzantine Greek spoon sweets, the Pontic/Constantinopolitan/Smyrna Greek custom of offering guests spoon sweets as a welcome treat to the Cypriot kerasma (treat) of spoon sweets, there is a timeless thread connecting hospitality and gastronomy.

Ways to use vanilla fig preserves

  1. Symbols of hospitality, spoon sweets are a traditional offering to guests. Homemade vanilla fig preserves is a traditional Greek dessert, a delicious light way to finish a meal.
  2. Turn a simple sweet crêpe into the perfect autumnal dessert by filling it with homemade vanilla fig preserves.
  3. A jar of homemade vanilla fig preserves is a very elegant gift.
  4. One of the most exquisite and exotic natural sweeteners used in bourbon whiskey cocktails is fig preserves. Fig preserves makes the most decadent and exotic bourbon whiskey cocktails.
  5. Spread fig preserves on toast for a festive breakfast: If you have a more sophisticated palate, slice freshly baked bread, top with Sophia's vegan and dairy-free almond cheese and homemade vanilla fig preserves. Homemade vanilla fig preserves is perfect for a picnic, Thanksgiving and Christmas breakfast, a beautiful Sunday brunch with family and friends.
  6. Vanilla fig preserves is a delicious topping for pancakes and waffles.
  7. In pastry kitchen fig preserves is used as a cake, tart/tartlet, tsoureki (traditional Greek Easter sweet bread) and cookie filling.
  8. Vanilla fig preserves adds an earthy sweetness to any smoothie.
  9. Make fig vinaigrette, and dress a green salad with red currants and fresh figs; fig vinaigrette dressing has subtle nuances of tart and fruity flavour and winey fragrant.

Jars sterilisation process

You should make sure that your jars are clean to maintain the freshness of the preserves. Sterilise your jars by washing them (and their lids) thoroughly in hot soapy water. Rinse them well. Heat oven to 100°C. Place the jars and their lids on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 20'. Using a funnel, ladle the vanilla fig preserves into the hot jars, filling to just below the rim. Vanilla fig preserves can be stored in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.

Useful Information

  1. Fill sterilised jars with your homemade vanilla fig preserves and screw their lids on tightly.
  2. Vanilla fig preserves will keep for up to 12 months unopened. Refrigerate after opening.
  3. My recipe makes approximately 2 x 500ml jars homemade vanilla fig preserves.

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