Brandied Figs

What You'll Need

  • good kitchen knife and clean cutting surface
  • medium stock pot or jam pan
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small saucepan
  • 4 Pint canning jars with lids
  • water bath canner with rack
  • canning funnel
  • canning jar lifter
  • clean kitchen towels
  • 1 2/3 cups brandy
  • 1 1/3 cup, plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 8 cups (about 3 pounds) fresh, unblemished figs 

Generous, succulent figs do not store or travel well, so it’s a blessing that they have two crops a year, one in early summer, and another later in the fall. Even so, you may still have trouble getting your fill. This recipe, which comes to us from The Preservation Kitchen: The Craft of Making and Cooking with Pickles, Preserves, and Aigre-doux, by Paul Virant, steeps the tender fruits in a brandy syrup, which somehow heightens and makes more poignant their soft, dreamy texture. This preserve smells like heaven and the taste will make you swoon. The figs are minimally processed, so they keep their seductive shape; a very pretty preserve, indeed. The liquid that remains after the figs have all been eaten is a treasure worth the making of this recipe; it’s magic in cocktails, over cake, or incorporated into sauces.

If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything. 

Makes about 4 pints


Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 4 pint jars (or these lovely Weck Deco jars). You will want to set the water to boiling before you begin preparing the figs, as the prep time for this recipe is minimal.

Choose figs that are ripe, but still a bit firm; super-ripe fruits will become mushy in the canning process. We used a combination of Black Mission, Brown Turkey, and green Adriatic figs here; each has their own particular flavor, but all are equally delicious poached in brandy and sugar.

In a large pot over high heat, bring the brandy, sugar and water to a boil. Decrease to a simmer and cook until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, prepare the figs.
brandied figs
Wash the figs gently, and slice off the stem end. Cut them neatly into halves or quarters.
Divide the fig pieces among the warm, sterilized jars, arranging rather than packing them into the jar. 
place figs in jar
Pour the warm brandy syrup over the figs, leaving a 1/2” headspace from the rim of the jar.
Release any air bubbles from the side of the jar; the figs can trap a lot of air space, and it’s important to get the volume of liquid right in order to cover the figs after processing. You may need to add more liquid after releasing air bubbles. 
pour liquid over figs
Wipe the rims with a clean towel, and secure the jar lids.
place jars in cannerPlace the jars on a rack in a boiling water bath canner, and enough water to cover the jars by about 1 inch. Return the water to a boil and begin timing from the time when boiling commences.

Process the jars for 15 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow them to rest in the hot water for a few minutes. Remove the jars from heat and allow to cool. Store at cool room temperature in a dark place for up to 1 year.

figs in syrup
Serve these succulent jewels spooned over ice cream or creamy yogurt, or with a simple unfrosted cake. It’s a spirited, welcome addition to cheese and charcuterie plates.
The liquid that remains when the figs have been spooned away is heavenly on its own; consider it in cocktails with lemon, rye whiskey, and a little sparkle for a warming winter treat. This preserve can also be used to make a succulent sauce for venison or other gamey meats; simply set aside a few figs and reduce the liquid by about half. Add a knob of butter and stir the figs back in before spooning the figs back on the plate. Mmmmmm….yes.

If you are not familiar with the water bath canning method watch our water bath canning video workshop. Always make sure you are following all safety guidelines outlined by the USDA when canning anything. 


Over to You

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