A recipe for a sweet and savory Meyer Lemon and Dried Fig Conserve, enhanced with wine, honey and walnuts.
What do you do when the out-of-doors temperature is bone-chilling and you don’t need to go out? I have to be honest…I love a good reason to stay inside and nest. Give me a good, chilly, rainy (or lately icy and snowy) day and I can easily come up with 127 things to blissfully occupy myself indoors.
Somewhere towards the top of that list of 127 things would be canning and preserving. This is the time of year when I am most likely to put up several quarts of chicken and beef broth, as well as bone broth. And while I prefer making jams and jellies with fresh, seasonal produce, I am not opposed to using dried fruits when appropriate.
PLUS, I was gifted with a lovely, aromatic Meyer lemon by one of my friends just before Christmas and I was looking for a way to use to its best advantage.
So, with a bag of dried figs, a luscious and sunny Meyer lemon and a few pears…the making and canning of this dried fig conserve is just one of many things that can keep me happily busy on an inclement day.
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With figs being a low acid fruit, I am not comfortable totally ‘winging’ a recipe. As such, I used the Fig Preserves recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving as a reference, making adjustments but assuring that I kept the Ph low with lemon, lemon juice, white wine and vinegar.
This was also the first time I have canned with Weck jars and very much enjoyed the process. They are more expensive, but there is no guessing about whether or not you have the lids screwed on too tight or too loose. Plus, they are really pretty and I am a sucker for pretty storage things.
I used my jar lifter for my Ball/Kerr jars, but just ordered The Weck Jar Lifter…I was worried that my Ball/Kerr jar lifter was going to pop the metal brackets off of the Weck jars.
If you are new to canning, I highly recommend The Ball Book of Canning and Preserving. I’ve been canning for years and I still refer to it regularly to make sure I am canning safely. A basic canning set is also very handy. I am not a collector of unnecessary tools and the tools in these kits are really very necessary for canning. You’d have a hard time pouring the jam neatly into the jars and lifting the jars out of boiling water without some of the tools in a canning kit.
Tools and Equipment I Use For Canning:
A Meyer Lemon and Dried Fig Conserve made with honey, pears and walnuts. Perfect with your favorite cheese or on your morning toast.
Bring 2 1/2 cups of wine and rosemary to a simmer.
Turn off heat and let steep while you chop and prepare the remaining ingredients
After 30 minutes, or when all other ingredients are prepped, remove rosemary branches and remeasure wine. Add additional wine so that you still have 2 cups, in case any evaporated while it simmered.
Pour wine into your jam pan or wide-bottomed stainless steel pan and add chopped figs, chopped meyer lemons and lemon juice
Bring mixture to a full boil that cannot be stirred down.
Add sugar, honey and pears, stirring to dissolve and return mixture to a full boil. Stir constantly and let boil for 1 minute.
Stir in walnuts and balsamic vinegar and remove from heat.
Spoon your jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace if using Ball/Kerr jars or 1/2 inch if using Weck jars
Center lid on jar and screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip tight. Or, if using Weck Jar, place rubber gasket, glass lid and metal clips on the jar.
Place jars in canner, making sure they are completely covered with water by at least one inch.
Cover pot and bring to a boil
Boil for 10 full minutes, or adjust for altitude via Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The time to bring your pot to a boil should not be counted in the minute boil time.
Remove your jars from the pot and let them sit, undisturbed for 24 hours. Your Ball/Kerr jar lid centers should pop down when sealed and the orange tab on the Weck jars will slightly curve down.
This recipe assumes some knowledge of proper and safe canning techniques. Please see the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance.
So…this dried fig conserve…wow!
I found myself eating it by the spoonful….please don’t judge.
Let me see if I can put the taste into words (hold on a second, I need to get a jar and a spoon to be as accurate as possible)
OK…I’m back. So…in each bite there’s clearly the fig, but it’s accompanied with the sublime flavor of the Meyer lemon rind which gives it just a little tang. Don’t try to substitute a regular lemon…you really do need a Meyer Lemon. Not only is the rind of the Meyer edible on it’s own, but its flavor just can’t be replicated with a regular lemon.
(Wait a minute, I need another bite) And then there’s the earthy crunch of the walnuts! The Balsamic vinegar is barely there, just enough to offset the sweetness from the honey and sugar.
There’s no overt taste of rosemary, it’s very subtle, in the back.
So, you’ve made your Dried Fig Conserves and after you’ve given one to your mom (because she birthed you after all…it’s the least you can do) and you ate one full jar (because you lack self-restraint), what is the best way to enjoy this deliciousness?
In addition to the recipe, I produced a wee video showing how I made and canned this conserve.
If you are looking for more sweet preserve recipes, check these out:
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Until next time…