FIG or PEAR PRESERVES...The Old Fashioned Way
By Bea L. BeachChic
This is my dear sweet mama's recipe, which was handed down through generations past. I love preserves so she shared the recipe with me.
I have made these preserves countless times. When I was first learning to make them it was a disaster. I cooked them too long and once they cooled I could barely get my spoon out of the jar. I was so disappointed but I have these babies down pat now.
You can make either fig, peach or pear preserves with this same recipe. They are so good in a biscuit, on toast or on a saltine cracker.
*For Figs...wash and slice. Small figs cut in half. Large figs cut into fourths.
*For Pears...peel and slice.
*Get out a large pot you plan on cooking them in.
*Get out a medium size bowl for measuring.
Use the same bowl to measure fruit and sugar.
Put into large pot three (3) parts fruit to one (1) part sugar. Be sure to use the pot you're going to be cooking them in. Cover with lid and let stand overnight (not refrigerated) or for 10 to 12 hours to allow the sugar to melt.
Remove lid and stir. Add 3 or 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and stir again. This just makes them a beautiful golden color but it's your choice whether to use it or not. I normally always use it.
Cook on medium-high without the lid. You want a steady rolling boil, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking to bottom of pot. Boil for 1 1/2 hours to 4 hours, depending on amount of fruit you have. A smaller amount won't take as long so use your own judgement.
Laddle them into clean jars and seal tightly. If you want you can turn the jars upside down for 15 minutes then right side up but it's really not necessary. A lot of older people used to do this. (It is not necessary to do a water bath with this recipe). You should hear them "pop" within 30 to 40 minutes. If you have one that doesn't seal, just put it in the fridge.
I start checking them after they have cooked for about an hour and a half or so. I put a small amount into a cup and let it get cool to see how runny it is. I keep doing this so I'll know when they're the consistency I want. In the meantime, I put my jars, lids and rings into the dishwasher on the rinse cycle. This way they are sterile. Be sure they are absolutely dry before filling. Also, I always carefully remove the rings before storing. You can reuse the rings but not the lids. Good luck.