Canning

OLD-FASHIONED FIG PRESERVES

SERVING: 5-7 Pint Jars
By: Chef John Besh

I love using my granddaddy’s favorite Celeste figs, the most common in our neck of the woods, but just about any fig will work in these preserves. Larger figs should be quartered before the sugar is added.

NOTE: To sterilize the jars, bottles, and lids for all preserves, place them on a rack in a large canning pot, fill with water to the tops of the jars and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then, use tongs to carefully remove the jars and bottles. Drain them upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.
 

INGREDIENTS

5 pounds fresh figs
5 pounds sugar

directions

Wash the figs, then trim off the stem ends. Put the figs into a large pot and cover with the sugar. Allow them to sit at room temperature for about 3 hours.

Heat the figs and the sugar, stirring constantly, over moderate heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to high and bring to a hard boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and gently boil for 40 minutes, stirring frequently.

The preserves are done when the foam that has formed on the surface dissipates and the syrup coats the back of the spoon. Ladle the figs and syrup into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then place sterilized lids on top and screw on the rings.

Put the filled jars into a canning pot and cover with water at least 2 inches over the jar tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 15 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the jars from the water; place on a kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.

 

SUGAR PLUMS IN SYRUP

SERVING: 8 pint jars

By: Chef John Besh

This is a very easy way to preserve sweet plums and then use them in many ways: I serve the tiny plums with everything from charcuterie to cheese and desserts, and I use the the syrup in a vinegar-based fruit reductions as a sauce for poultry.

NOTE: To sterilize the jars, bottles, and lids for preserves, place them on a rack in a large canning pot, fill with water to the tops of the jars and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then, use tongs to carefully remove the jars and bottles. Drain them upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.

4-1⁄2 cups sugar
8–10 pounds sugar plums or other small plums

Put the sugar and 41⁄2 cups water into a large heavy-bottomed pot over high heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring constantly, until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Pack the sugar plums into hot, sterilized pint jars. Ladle the hot syrup over the plums, leaving 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then place sterilized lids on top and screw on the rings.

Use tongs to put the filled jars into a canning pot; cover with water at least 2 inches over the jar tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 20 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the jars from the water; place on a kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.

BERRIES PRESERVED IN RED WINE

SERVING: 6-8 half-pint jars

BY: Chef John Besh

In the Black Forest of Germany, this preserve is commonly made with cherries and red fruit and called Rote Grütze. I’ve made this idea work with our berries of South Louisiana. Wash but don’t peel or core the apples; the apples are where the pectin is, and you'll need it to thicken this jam.

NOTE: To sterilize the jars, bottles, and lids for all preserves, place them on a rack in a large canning pot, fill with water to the tops of the jars and bring the water to a boil for 5 minutes. Then, use tongs to carefully remove the jars and bottles. Drain them upside down on a clean kitchen towel until ready to fill.

3 cups red wine 
3 cups sugar
1 whole clove
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
6 cups chopped green apples
3 cups quartered strawberries
3 cups blueberries 
3 cups blackberries

Mix together the red wine, sugar, clove, bay leaf, cinnamon, and green apples in a deep saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the wine has reduced by half, about 30 minutes.

Strain the reduced red wine into a larger pot. Add the strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Bring to a rapid boil over high heat until the juices thickly coat the back of a spoon, about 35 minutes. Skim off any foam from the surface.

Ladle the berries and juices into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1⁄4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims of the jars clean, then place sterilized lids on top and screw on the rings.

Use tongs to put the filled jars into a canning pot; cover with water at least 2 inches over the jar tops. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Use tongs to carefully remove the jars from the water; place on a kitchen towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.