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A friend just delivered a surplus of figs – perfect for making fig chutney!  This chutney is a delicious compliment to slow-roasted pork and duck confit.  It really adds zip to hamburgers, as well.  I use Sherry vinegar in the recipe because I like the distinctive, nutty flavor it brings, but you can use your favorite red wine vinegar.   This chutney needs to cook for a couple of hours in order to maximize flavors and to reach a consistency that is not runny.  It will be worth the time involved.  You can either make a smaller batch, refrigerate it and eat it within a couple of weeks, or preserve this chutney in jars (in a water bath)  to keep on the shelf. 


5 cups red wine vinegar, such as Sherry vinegar
3 cups light brown sugar
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
Zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 stick cinnamon
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
3 lbs figs, cut into quarters

You will also need:
Large pot
Large spoon
Scale for weighing figs

If preserving in jars:
Large skillet for sterilizing empty jars
8 oz. or smaller jars (your preference) with lids and rings
Kitchen towel
Large canning pot for water bath

Combine the vinegar, sugar, onion, ginger, zest, mustard seeds, cloves, allspice, cinnamon and salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. 


Reduce heat to medium and cook for about an hour until the mixture is reduced to about 1/3.  It should be starting to thicken. 

Add the sliced figs.  Turn the heat up to medium high and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium.


Cook for about an hour, stirring frequently, until thick like preserves.  The chutney should be a deep brown at this point. 


Remove the cinnamon stick and discard it.  The chutney is ready to serve. 


If you are preserving the chutney for later, then follow these directions for preparing and filling the jars and processing them in a water bath.

Prepare at least five 8oz. jars by first making sure they are very clean.  I like to take them directly from the hot dishwasher.  Place about 2 cups of water into a large saute pan and bring to a boil.  Place the jars, bottom side up, into the skillet. Reduce the heat and simmer with the jars in there for about 10 minutes.   Keep hot.

7th pic

When the chutney has finished cooking, ladle it while still hot into the hot jars (careful – these jars are HOT), leaving only about 1/4″ of space at the top of the jar.  Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel.


Note that it is important to seal each jar before starting on the next one.  Before putting the lid onto each jar, drop the lid into the boiling water in the saute pan for 30 seconds.

lid in skillet
Remove the lid from the water and place it on top of the hot jar with the chutney.  Put the ring on and twist tightly to seal.  Repeat with each jar until all of the chutney is in the jars.  If you have a little bit of chutney left over, then put it into a dish, cover it with plastic wrap and have it with your lunch the next day.

Chutney in dish

Meanwhile, prepare your water bath by heating enough water in the super large pot to cover your jars. Gently place the jars into the water.  Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a medium-low boil, and cook the jars of chutney for 7 minutes.

jars in canner
Remove the jars from the water, dry them off and store them on the countertop.  Check them a little later to make sure that the lids have sealed.  If so, store them in a cool, dry place.  If not, then put them into the refrigerator and use within two weeks.  You can also freeze them for later use.


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