Yields 18 half-pints of preserves. Peay says never to add water to this recipe and to make sure and leave the skin on the figs.
2 gallons fresh figs
2 to 3 tsps. baking soda
16 cups sugar
5 to 6 fresh lemons, thinly sliced
1. Soak figs in enough water to cover them, and sprinkle with baking soda. Let sit for 25 minutes. (You are not adding this water to the recipe. This is just to clean and “plump” the figs.)
2. Remove fruit from water, rinse and remove the stems.
3. In a large, heavy pot, layer half the figs, half the lemon slices and half sugar. Repeat. Cook partially covered over low heat for 1 hour. Then, uncover and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
4. Remove the figs with a slotted spoon and boil the syrup for at least 30 minutes to thicken and darken it. Watch closely as this will boil over.
5. Add the figs to the thickened syrup and let them “plump” for at least 3 to 4 hours, OR overnight. Do not refrigerate.
6. Wash and sterilize your jars and caps. Fill with figs and syrup. Seal tightly and place in a water bath for 10 minutes. Cool, label and store.
Note: After you make your first batch, there will be some syrup left over, so for subsequent batches, start with this syrup and decrease sugar accordingly.