Fresh figs are difficult to beat if you want a delicate decadent fruit. Why mess with them and pick them green?
I hadn’t tried pickled green figs before this batch, so it was a leap of preserving faith, so to speak. The risk of them not working out, was a pile less of ripe figs than there would have been had I not picked them green. I would genuinely feel bad about that…
However I am experimenting more and more with unripe fruit in pickles, and I have been pleasantly surprised. There are a few reasons why preserving unripe fruit (if it is edible unripe of course) is a good idea. Firstly, it beats lots of other critters that like eating ripe fruit too. Bats, birds and fruit fly, to name a few. Second, it means you can process a batch before the hectic-ness of the ripe fruit season, where all of a sudden you have too many! (If that is at all possible when it comes to figs). Finally, green fruit, green figs in particular, have their own flavour profile and texture, so there is no compromise here at all.
This recipe was adapted from Leda Meredith’s recipe at The Spruce Eats for Spiced Pickled Figs Recipe with Ginger and Cardamom, that uses fresh figs.
Pickled green figs
Makes 1 large jar
300g unripe green figs, each with a few small cuts in the side
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cardamom pods
1/2 tsp whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
6 allspice berries
1 inch of fresh ginger, sliced
1 strip of lemon peel
1 tbs honey
Place all the ingredients, except the figs, in a large saucepan. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Once dissolved, place the green figs in a single layer in the saucepan and cover.
Simmer for 30 minutes, keeping an eye on the fluid level to ensure the liquid does not evaporate. If the figs are not fully covered, gently turn them half way through.
Remove the lid and reduce for 10 minutes.
Sterilise a glass jar. Place the figs carefully into the jar and cover with the hot liquid. Let cool and place in the fridge. They are ready to eat within a few days.
Try them served with a soft curd cheese, some fresh mint and honey, on a piece of sourdough. Scrumptious.