August 27, 2013

Fig Fail

Never let it be said I'm too proud to admit my mistakes! What did I do? I forgot to add the citric acid to this batch of canned figs...

I realized it when I was cleaning up after a fig canning session. I didn't see my container of citric acid and realized I'd forgotten to add it! As a double check, I noted that the liquid in the jars was light brown. Citric acid turns it a purplish color.

Figs are a low acid fruit, which means they require either the addition of lemon juice of citric acid (such as Fruit Fresh) to be canned in a water bath canner. Alternatively, they could be pressure canned.

So what did I do? I remembered a post I recently read at Stephanie's. She made fig sauce out of some of her figs. Talk about providential!

I added both figs and fig liquid to the blender & whirred them
up. Looks like applesauce, doesn't it? But it tastes pretty bland.

I dumped the contents of the jars into my blender, liquefied it, and because it was pretty liquidy, decided to cook it down a bit in my crock pot. For seven pints of figs I added half a cup of lemon juice and a tablespoon of cinnamon.

Cinnamon is a good addition to figs

Because it looks like applesauce, I mentally was expecting it to taste like applesauce. It doesn't. Not quite satisfied, I remembered my plums.

First plums, frozen.

My Stanley plum tree had produced a first ever offering of 14 plums. I'd popped them into the freezer until I could decide what to do with them. I put a little of the fig sauce in a sauce pan, added the plums, and cooked until the plums were soft. I ran is all through my foley food mill.

Plummy Fig Sauce

The yield was 6 pints of plummy fig sauce; 5 pints for us and one for a Christmas gift. I processed this batch in a boiling water bath as for figs, 45 minutes for pints.

My initial taste test was while the sauce was still warm but I think I'd prefer it chilled. At any rate, it was a good experiment for my abundance of figs and my few plums. It will be another enjoyable treat this winter.

Fig Fail © August 2013 


Farmer Barb said...

I think of this sauce, possibly with the addition of some spicy note like tabasco ( also acid note) and then slice off a beautiful hunk of fresh chevre (where would you ever find that?) drizzle the sauce over it and set out the crackers or crusty bread. VoilĂ ! Appetizers!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

You may have accidentally created something better than what you were making!

Benita said...

Great save!!! Next year you can make this on purpose. :)

Nina said...

Not really a fail when you salvaged the situation so beautifully.

Woolly Bits said...

I'd say many of the famous dishes today have had a helping of mistakes, when they were first "invented":) it's a bit like dyeing: if you don't like the first outcome, try again!
sounds like a nice base for "cranachan". add some cream (I tend to skip the original whiskey addition) and top with a blend of pan-roasted oats/sugar, hmmmm:)

Sandy Livesay said...


I'm happy to hear you were able to save your canned figs. I've had this happen to me once, and I was so mad because I couldn't figure out what to do. This was when I first started canning.

Leigh said...

Barb, now you've got my imagination going. Not so sure about the hot sauce, but I can almost taste this over cream cheese on toast!

Sunnybrook, I can only hope that it's a hit!

Benita, thanks. It is true that I've preserved enough canned figs, fig jam, and dried figs to last awhile. :)

Nina, very true. I wasn't sure what to do at first, but this turned out very well.

Bettina, I had to look up cranachan. I love that it's made of raspberries, I love raspberry. Sounds like a yummy idea to try with the figs.

Sandy, I think we all do this at one time or another, and probably more than once. There's always a save! It just takes a little imagination. My first idea was to make a bunch of fig cakes for the freezer. :)

Susan said...

Looks like you saved the day! I am going to try raising a fig tree (potted) this year. I love figs. I wouldn't have thought to add plums, but I think that was a brilliant idea!

Dani said...

"Figs by Mistake" or "Plums by Mistake"? LOL

Whatever - it sounds delicious :) And, for future reference, you've saved the recipe on your blog:)

Anonymous said...

So glad you were able to use my idea to save your figs! It looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

Yum! That is one very delicious treat :) m.

Tina T-P said...

You could cook it down some more and make Fix/plum newtons! :-) T.

Tina T-P said...

Oops - I meant fiG/plum newtons

Laura said...

Too late now, but you could have popped the lids, added the acid, and reprocessed them. I happen to love ginger with figs, and last year I made some plum butter with ginger, and that was pretty good too! Sounds like you made the best of it, though!

Sue said...

Looks and sounds yummy. My mom invited me over last night for fresh figs & pirscuitto, which were made totally sublime with the addition of fresh goat cheese and a nice glass of wine. Love figs!

Ed said...

Many years ago I forgot to add the citric acid when putting up fruit and I never noticed a difference so I have skipped doing it ever since. But reading this, I realize that I always pressure can then so perhaps this is why I get by. What would happen if you just left the figs hot water canned without the citric acid? Would they go bad? I always thought it was just to preserve the color?

Leigh said...

Susan, sometimes you just use what you've got! :)

Dani, either way! LOL And yes, a blog is a great place to keep track of things, isn't it?

Stephanie, and I'm very thankful for it!

Maria, I hope so. :)

Tina, I admit I've bookmarked several recipes for fig newtons, but have yet to try any. With an abundant fig harvest, however, I definitely need to give them a try.

Laura, I thought about that but the jars had already cooled enough so that some of them were sealing. That made me explore other ideas.

I will definitely try ginger in my next batch of fig anything. :)

Sue, sounds lovely! I like fig jam with yogurt cheese on toast.

Ed, good question. I know Fruit Fresh is advertised for that purpose, but it also lowers the pH. The need to do this is to prevent potential botulism. Clostridium botulinum spores cannot survive a pH below 4.6, hence only acidic foods are considered safe for water bath canning. Pressure canning, can reach temperatures high enough to kill them as well. So, it was a better safe than sorry move, and I was able to add the proper amount of lemon juice to my plummy fig butter to safely WBC.

CaliforniaGrammy said...

You are so intuitive Leigh, what a great idea to save your figs. And the sauce looks delicious. I like the idea of smearing it over cream cheese on a cracker or toast!

Leigh said...

Janice, it's what happens when you have a lot of a good thing. :) Did you do something with your blog? Your name doesn't link back to it anymore!

* Crystal * said...

Leigh.... you gave me a panic attack! Hit my blogger reading list, and you weren't there... Clicked your link, said it didn't exist, finally got a redirect and WHEW!! lol Here you are!! :) Was scared my favorite blogger left blogging!!

Ok, ok, I'm done raving about my technical Now to get on topic.....I LOVE anything fig, and personally don't believe anything fig can "fail" ;) The sauce sounds yummy!! :)

Leigh said...

Crystal, I'm honored! What happened was I bought a domain name though google awhile back. I went from to Then they changed their policy for annual renewal to an automatic bank withdrawal and I didn't' want to do that. So I changed to a different "registrar." Now blogger puts those warnings up sometimes, such as when you came over via a blog list.

I'm finding blog readers and blog rolls didn't update, however, so that the last post they have for me is "Fig Fail." I've written lots more blog posts since then! If you have me on a blog roll or blog reader, you'll probably need to delete my old blog name and add me under the new one.