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Unripe Figs in Syrup

Preserved Unripe Figs. Batch #1 
I recently acquired a copy of 'The New Wildcrafted Cuisine' by, Pascal Baudar (many thanks to Dominick Tekos for sending it me). Despite the fact that he resides in California, much of the books content is applicable with regards to techniques, philosophies, creativity and inspiration, and some of the wild plants, regardless of where in the world you reside.
Understanding our native floras & faunas is the same the world over I guess. Climates, habitats, techniques, cultures etc do differ but I firmly believe we all have innate and transferable knowledge and practices, whether they be ancient or contemporary (some yet to be rekindled/discovered/attained even), and we can adapt them to our own wild plants, landscapes, seasons, resources and requirements.

Now, moving swiftly on to the main theme of this post, the figs. Pascal has a recipe for preserving unripe figs in syrup, I'm aware of a number of fig trees located in and around Leeds, I've never once, despite the many footsteps, found a single ripe one. This recipe made perfect sense, here was a way II could partake in the harvesting, preparation, consumption of - and connection. I've used the books basic guidelines but adjusted the flavouring of the syrup, to suit my local landscape and seasonal elements; this is where my dried preserves store comes in handy.

Preserved Unripe Figs. Batch #2

Unripe Figs
Sugar Syrup (prepare during one of the fig boiling phases), dissolve 600g of sugar in 1L of hot spring water

Gather the unripe figs, take them home, remove any excess stalk, pierce each one several times with a cocktail stick or other spiky item, place them in a pan with warm water, bring to the boil and boil for 15 minutes. Strain, return figs to the pan, top up with fresh warm water, bring to the boil, boil for 15 minutes and strain again. This time taste a small piece of one of the figs to ensure the bitterness is reduced to your liking, if not put them back in the pan, add warm water and boil again for 15 minutes (mine took three boilings to remove the bitterness). Once satisfied with the taste, gently place the figs into clean sterilised jars, adding herbs, spices, flowers etc of your choosing as you do so and then cover with the sugar syrup. Place lids on jars (I used Kilner 500ml screw-top jars) but not too tightly and then place filled jars in a deep pan (covering the pan bottom with several layers of kitchen roll to prevent the jars from coming into direct contact with the base), top the pan up to the base of the jar lids, bring to the boil and boil for approx 30 minutes. After 30 mins, turn off the heat source, remove jars very gently and place on a wooden chopping board, leave 12 hours and test the lids have sealed properly - as the jars cool after the boiling phase, an air vacuum will form and pull the lids tightly onto the jar.

Batch #1: I used a Douglas Fir Sugar to make the syrup for two of my jars, adding, Elderflower, Meadowsweet blossoms, Red Clover flower heads and slices of lemon, altering the flavour combinations. To the third jar I added a simple sugar syrup and added sprigs of Noble Fir, Elderflower and slices of lemon.

Batch #2: Golden Granulated Sugar w/ Honeysuckle,  Lime Zest, Rose, Orange & Cloves.

You can keep up to date with some of my other foraging activities, dare I say it, on facebook:

Happy foraging!


  1. Love this idea. Have you actually tasted the end product? Or is this your first try out? Just wondering if it is worth sacrificing some of our fig harvest this year. What size / stage is optimum for picking unripe to pickle them. I am guessing they are delicious if they taste anything like the smell of unripe fig which I love.

  2. Hi. First time making. After tasting them after boiling they were fairly neutral in taste. I reckon that the sugar syrup and the flavour additions will play a big part in the final taste outcome - similar to pickled mushrooms, the pickling liquor is all important. It's more about preserving for longer shelf life. Craig

  3. Pleasure. Thanks for asking :)


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