COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN
AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA.
FLORIDA STATE COLLEGE FOR WOMEN AND UNITED STATES
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATING.
WILMON NEWELL, Director.
Bulletins will be sent free upon application to the State Home Demonstration
Department, Tallahassee, Fla.
A Prize Package of Food and Medicine
By ISABELLE S. THURSBY
Extension Economist in Food Conservation
Fresh, ripe figs, served with rich cream, though they make a
dish the gods would adore, are not enjoyed to any extent except
by people who live where they grow. They are rich in sugar, con-
tain two of the most important constituents of food-iron and lime
-and are excellent as a natural laxative. Figs, very lightly
sugared-if sugared at all-and eaten with cream may be used as
the main breakfast dish with good results; chilled and served with
whipped cream and sprinkled with nuts they make a delicious
When fresh figs are out of season, canned figs are delicious as
a morning fruit and preserved figs may form the basis of a wonder-
ful variety of desserts. Dried figs are an ideal addition to children's
lunch baskets, providing them not only with nourishment, but an
enjoyable, harmless laxative about which you will hear no com-
plaint. Their laxative quality lies in their skins and their seeds.
When picked thoroughly ripe, figs need not be peeled. The "good
provider" will not overlook the advantages of the fig, which gives
her so many valuable food elements in so compact a form.
Figs increase very much in sweetness, weight and general
quality as they reach maturity. (This increase in weight is laregly
sugar.) For this reason they should be allowed to remain on the
trees as long as possible. There is no distinct ripening or improve-
ment in flavor after the fruit is picked as is the case with some other
fruits. In the height of the season and in favorable weather condi-
tions, figs ripen rapidly and must be picked daily with the stems
2 FLORIDA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION
attached and placed gently in flat, shallow trays or baskets. Straw-
berry baskets are good. Every caution should be used to prevent
injury. Picking should be done in the early morning and the figs
should be canned without delay. Green figs shrivel in cooking and
do not give a nice appearance. Sunburned figs have a tough fibre
and do not take the sugar properly.
Figs for canning, preserving or pickling should be firm and
sound, taken just at the stage of maturity when the skin begins to
Figs should be given a preliminary, open kettle cooking of some sort
to remove any objectionable flavor of the raw fruit, to soften the fruit, to
facilitate packing a well-filled jar or can and to improve appearance.
Grade for size and wash. Pre-cook figs in water 2 to 6 minutes. Place
in cans or jars. Add Heavy syrup and process one and a half or two hours
at boiling. Sterilization must be long enough to overcome the "raw" appear-
ance (chalky, white color). Allow to stand.
The resulting products should be of tender texture, plump, unbroken,
translucent in appearance, and with a syrup in the can or jar that will test
35 to 40 degrees, Balling hydrometer. All open kettle boiling should be slow
and should be done in small lots in abundant syrup in order that as few
of the figs as possible be broken. Some advocate a cook for figs of 30
minutes in a light syrup, allowing to stand several hours or over night before
putting them in the heavy syrup for the final processing in the container.
NOTE: If water is drained from figs after pre-cooking, about 10 percent
fruit sugar is lost; therefore, this water should be used for making up the
heavy syrup (50 to 55 degrees Balling) used in canning. It has been demon-
strated by the commercial canners that there is much greater potential
demand for figs canned in syrup of medium sugar concentration than for the
time-honored fig preserves usual in the South. While fig preserves are popu-
lar and appeal to most palates, they are extremely sweet; and on this account
only a small quantity can be eaten at a time. Also they are relatively ex-
pensive. On the other hand, figs canned in light or medium syrup, are not
excessively sweet and not unduly costly. They make a delightful breakfast
fruit as well as a good dessert when served with cream cheese.
This is made from the broken figs or over-ripe stock. Clip off stems,
run through coarse food grinder. Measure. Place in heavy aluminum
kettle and cook until thickened. Add 12 to % measure of sugar to one
measure of fig pulp and cook to 221 degrees F. Pack in hot jars, seal and
process by boiling 5 minutes. This makes a most wholesome "spread" for
lunches and may also be used for cake filling and ice cream. Use 15 percent
of the product in ice cream to get a distinctive fig flavor. Over-ripe figs
also may be pre-cooked in open kettle, without sugar, packed solid in jars
and sterilized for use in baking and for making ice cream.
Select very ripe figs, wash and drain, stem and remove peel if blemished.
To every gallon of figs add 2 qfiarts of sugar, mash and cook to the proper
consistency. When nearing the finishing point be careful not to scorch. If
using a thermometer, cook to 220 degrees F.
THE FIG 3
FIG PRESERVES NO. 1
Sort over and weigh. Wash dust from figs by placing in wire baskets,
or colander and dipping in and out of boiling water. Give figs a pre-cook
of about 8 minutes, depending on degree of ripeness. Add sugar in pro-
portion of % pound sugar to 1 pound of figs. Cook gently, without stirring,
until syrup thickens slightly and figs become semi-transparent. Allow to
stand, covered, over night to "plump." Continue cooking the fruit until it
is thoroughly saturated with sugar. (Some of the best known commercial
firms preserving figs use several days for the process and from three to five
short cooks instead of the one long period.) Pack figs in sterilized jars, fill
to overflowing with syrup, partially seal and simmer 20 minutes for pints.
FIG PRESERVES NO. 2
To 3 quarts hot water, add six pounds of sugar and bring to boil. Add
eight pounds carefully selected figs. Boil carefully but not too rapidly until
the thermometer registers 220 or 222 degrees F., as preferred. Allow to
stand in syrup over night. If a very heavy syrup is desired, 224 degrees F.
insures thickness. However, this makes a preserve that is very sweet and
does away with much of the delicate fig flavor. Cooking to 220 degrees F.
preserves full fresh flavor and is sufficiently sweet. Avoid stirring. If
sufficient syrup is kept on figs, stirring will be unnecessary.
FIG PRESERVES NO. 3
Use 8 lbs. figs, 6 lbs. sugar and 4 quarts water. Select fruit that is ripe
and firm. Wash. Add the fruit gradually to the syrup made by boiling
together the sugar and water. Cook until figs are bright and transparent,
and the syrup is sufficiently heavy. Should the syrup become too dense before
the fruit is transparent, add a half cup of boiling water. Repeat as necessary.
The method for plumping given in No. 1 may be followed or the figs
may be removed to the rear of the stove and put immediately into sterilized
jars and sealed.
NOTE: Where it is desired, ginger root may be dropped into the syrup
for flavor, sliced lemon or stick cinnamon.
SWEET SPICED FIGS
Use 5 qts. of figs, 1 qt. of water, 1 pt. of vinegar, 1 qt. of sugar, 1 tbsp.
of whole cloves, 1 tsp. of allspice, 1 tsp. of mace, and 2 tbsp. or 1 stick of
Prepare figs in same manner as for fig preserves, i. e., cook figs until
tender in about a 30 degree syrup, allowing one quart of water to each pint
When figs become tender, add to them one quart of sugar, one pint of
vinegar, one tablespoonful of cinnamon, one teaspoonful mace and cook until
figs are clear and transparent. Allow them to stand in this syrup over night.
On the following morning pack the fruit into jars, cover with syrup and process
pint jars in a water-bath for 15 minutes at boiling or 30 minutes at 180
degrees F. (simmering).
To a quart of the broken figs, stems removed, add the juice and pulp
of one orange or twelve kumquats sliced thinly, one cup sugar and one-half
pound raisins and cook until thick and transparent. Add two-thirds cup
pecan meats and boil three minutes longer. Remove from fire. Pack and
process pints 15 minutes at simmering.
NOTE: Kumquats, in above recipe, may be sliced and added to other
ingredients at once. The orange should be grated lightly, sliced thinly, one-
half cup water added and allowed to stand an hour or more and then sim-
mered gently until tender-before combining with other ingredients.
4 THE FIG
SWEET FIG PASTE
Wash ripe figs, drain and put through a food chopper or a colander.
Measure. Allow one pound of sugar for each quart of pulp. Mix and cook
until it is a rather solid mass. Spread with an oiled spatula on the oiled
surface of a flat dish, marble or glass slab, and finish drying in the sun.
Three or four days will be required for drying. The trays should be brought
into the house each night, and they should be protected from both flying and
crawling insects. It can be dried in a cool oven or in a home fruit and
vegetable evaporator but the color is brighter if the product is dried in the
sun. When perfectly dry sprinkle with sugar. Cut into two-inch squares
and make into little finger-shaped hollow rolls. To roll the paste use a small,
smooth, oiled stick about the size of a pencil. These little fruit rolls, or
lady fingers, as they are sometimes called, add variety of shapes to the sweets
used in packing boxes of mixed candied fruits. They also make a most de-
licious single product and a very attractive box when packed alone in layers
between sheets of oiled paper.
FIG AND NUT CONFECTION
Remove plump fig preserves from the syrup and drain. Place them in
the angel-food oven which registers about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Dry
slowly until outside of figs have lost their syrupy appearance. Dip in syrup
dense enough to thread. Stick half a nut on the side of each fig. Dip in
To cream fondant add chopped figs as above, and broken nuts; form
into nut bars. Roll in granulated sugar, or use as candy centers.
FRESH FIG DESSERTS
Material: 2 cups crushed figs, juice one lemon, 1/1 cup cold water, 1 cup
sugar, 1 tablespoon gelatin, % cup boiling water, 1% cups cream or evaporated
milk whipped. Peel and mash enough figs to make 2 cupfuls. This will take
about a quart. Sprinkle with the sugar and lemon juice and let stand for
an hour. Then run through a strainer. Soak the gelatin in cold water for
5 minutes and dissolve in the boiling water. Add to the figs and cool in a
pan of ice water until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the cream,
whipped stiff, and pour into large or small molds. Cover the top of each
mold with buttered paper before putting on the cover. Bury in equal quan-
tities of salt and finely cracked ice and let stand 2 or 3 hours.
Frozen Fig Cream
Material: 1 cup heavy cream, 1% cup chopped pecans, 2 cups whole figs,
1 cup powdered sugar, 2 cups crushed figs. Whip cream until stiff, fold
in the sugar, nuts and slightly crushed figs. Pour into a pudding mold, having
a tube in the center. Cover the cream with buttered paper, adjust the cover
of the mold and pack in equal parts finely cracked ice and rock salt for 2
or 3 hours. Turn out and fill the center with the whole figs sugared and
Fig Ice Cream
Material: 1 quart milk scalded, 1% cups sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 table-
spoon vanilla, 2 tablespoons flour, 2 eggs, 1 cup cream, 1 quart peeled crushed
figs. Mix flour, sugar and salt; add eggs well beaten and then stir in hot
milk slowly. Cook over hot water for 10 minutes, stirring constantly at
first. Cool, add flavoring, crushed figs, cream and freeze, using 3 parts finely
cracked ice to 1 part salt. One cup undiluted evaporated milk may be used
instead of fresh cream.