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Dennis Greville's Fig Recipe


Dennis' Fig recipe

For more from Dennis Greville's garden diary click here


1 kg hard green figs
2 tblsp baking soda
1.25 kgs sugar
20ml lemon juice
4-5 Star Aniaise
Pieces of Fresh Ginger
6-8 Allspice Berries

Pick hard green figs, using a knife or snips. The figs should be firm, without any hint of softness. Wear gloves to protect your hands from the sticky, acidic sap of the green figs. 

Cut a cross to not more than 1cm into the rounded base of each fig (not where it attaches to the tree). Don't cut too deeply or you may cause the figs to disintegrate during the cooking. 

Place figs in a basin or saucepan and cover with water, to which you have added 2 tblsp of bicarbonate of soda to every 3 litres of water.

Soak the figs overnight in this solution. This will help to ensure that the fruit will be tender and crisp.


Rinse thoroughly the next day and leave to soak in fresh water for 15 minutes.
Drain and then boil in sufficient water to cover the fruit.
Remove the figs, keeping the water to one side and allow the figs to cool in a colander.
Prepare the syrup by pouring the reserved water into a large pot and adding sugar.
Add lemon juice, star anise, several pieces of preserved or fresh ginger and 'All Spice' berries.
Ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved.
Add the figs and boil for 2 hours or until they are tender and translucent and the syrup has thickened.
Using a spoon or tongs, gently position the figs in clean sterilised jars and fill them with the syrup.
Seal jars.

Note: Allspice berries are the fruit produced by the Allspice Tree, an evergreen tree native to Jamaica, some areas of Mexico and Central America.