You can use both green and purple figs in this recipe. A combination is more alluring (all photos © California Figs).
 Kadota figs keep their color when pickled.
 Mission figs, combined with Kadota figs, give the jar of pickled figs more eye appeal.
 All figs, be they fresh, dried or picked, can be variously paired as cocktail garnishes Here’s the recipe.
We’re almost at the end of National Fig Week, the first week of November. We’ve provided plenty of fig recipes, but we saved this one for the end. It sounds unusual—pickled figs—but it’s a delicious condiment and snack. The figs aren’t sour, they’re sweet-tart, somewhat like a sweet gherkin. It’s a charming gift to bring to Thanksgiving hosts, or those who host us at any time of the year. Thanks to California Figs for the recipe.
Because this recipe makes 8 pint jars that will last for 5 days in the fridge, plan to whom you’ll give them.
Truth to tell, we consumed three of the jars in one week, and we were sorry we didn’t keep more of the jars. We ran out of time to make more: Fig season is May through November.
The recipe is below, but first:
USES FOR PICKLED FIGS
First and foremost, pickled figs are a condiment. But you’ll see other uses on this list.
As a cocktail garnish, especially a Martini or a Bloody Mary and its variations.
As a garnish with ham, pork, turkey, or game meats.
Atop a green salad, sliced.
On a charcuterie board.
Simply eaten as a snack (dare we say, eaten from the jar).
With sandwiches: cheese, chicken salad, grilled vegetables, ham, turkey.
With soft or hard cheeses.
Once you taste them, your palate will lead you to even more ideas.
RECIPE: SPICED PICKLED FIGS
You can use any fig variety, but if you can, try Kadota figs. Or, mix them with Mission figs, for more eye appeal.
You can add additional spices. Allspice, cardamom, and ginger are options to include with or instead of the cinnamon and cloves.
You can use balsamic vinegar, or half balsamic, half white vinegar.
Some recipes use honey instead of sugar.
Prep time is 15 minutes, cook time is 20 minutes.
Ingredients For 8 Pints
1 tablespoon fine sea salt
6 quarts ripe California figs (about 8 pounds)
8 cups packed brown sugar
1 quart distilled white vinegar (we substituted cider vinegar)
3-inch cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons whole cloves
8 sterilized pint jars
1. COMBINE 1 gallon of water with tablespoon salt. Add the figs. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 15 minutes.
2. COMBINE the brown sugar and vinegar in a large nonreactive pan and bring to boil over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon and cloves.
3. DRAIN the figs well, add to the boiling syrup, and adjust the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 1 hour, until the figs are soft and surround by a thick syrup. Carefully discard the cinnamon stick.
4. PACK the hot figs into 8 sterilized pint jars, adding hot syrup to cover. Cover the jars with the sterilized lids and cool completely before using the figs. Store unused figs in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days.
> THE HISTORY OF FIGS