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Fig and Lemon Preserves

Rule
Fresh figs are a true delicacy. Their plump, natural sugar pairs with the astringent punch of lemons to create this tangy, sweet preserve. 

Makes 4 pints

2 heaping quarts perfectly ripe figs
1 quart granulated sugar
1 lemon, sliced thin, seeds removed

Wash your figs thoroughly, but treat them with kid hands. Broken figs will cloud the syrup and will not hold up during the cooking process. Lots of folks remove the stem. I do not. I like the way it looks in the finished product. So that’s your call...

In a medium bowl, gently toss together the figs, the sugar and the lemon slices. Cover the bowl and nestle it in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or up to overnight.

When you’re ready to make the preserves, remove the figs from the fridge and transfer everything in the bowl to a heavy bottomed stainless steel or enamel coated cast iron pan. Bring the figs, sugar and lemon up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Allow the preserves to cook at a good simmer for up to an hour. Try not to bother them too much, as the more you stir, the more figs you could potentially break.  Over the course of an hour, the preserves will take on the color of strong tea and the figs themselves will shrivel, but amazingly hold their shape. For a lot of preserves, it’s important to skim scum from the surface like mad. For these, it doesn’t matter so much. 45 minutes in, check the preserves by dipping a spoon into the syrup, removing it and running your finger along the back of the spoon. If the syrup separates and holds it’s stance briefly, your preserves are done. If the syrup is watery and runs together as soon as your finger is gone, cook the preserves a bit longer.

These preserves will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to two months. If you choose to can them, follow basic canning instructions and process them in your water bath for five minutes.