Canning Figs in Bourbon | A Drunken Fruit Dessert Topper

Canning figs in bourbon is a unique method for preserving figs long-term. The steps for preserving bourbon figs calls the fruit to be slightly cooked in a simple syrup, with a splash of bourbon on top.

preserving figs

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Canning figs is an ideal way to store this very short seasoned fruit. For younger kids or those who do not prefer drunken fruit, simply can this fruit in a simple syrup. However, for those who enjoy a little something special in their canned fruit, a bit of bourbon will do the trick.

I love fruit. In fact, there has not been a fruit which I do not enjoy, and trust me, I’ve tried many types of fruits over the years. Living the life of a military brat gave me the incredible opportunity to consume foods and fruit most never knew existed.

It was the summer of 1983 when I fell in love with figs. My grandmother had a large bush on the side of her home, and that’s where I had my first picked fresh off of the tree fig. There was nothing more divine, not even Fig Newton cookies, and I love Fig Newton cookies.

Long story short, I parked myself in front of that fig bush for the day, eating as many figs as I could before my stomach could handle no more. I remember that summer quite well – Florida, beaches, sunshine, theme parks, and figs.

Canning Figs in Bourbon and Other Alcohol

Drunken fruit has become one of the tastiest items I preserve. Of course the alcohol content burns off when heated, but the bourbon flavor remains.

Canning figs and other fruit in bourbon, rum, whisky, Amaretto, and even vodka puts a scrumptious spin on things. Will the kids enjoy the flavor? Probably not, but many adults will. There is something special when the combination of fruit, simple syrup and alcohol comes together.

Think about it, what’s better than serving drunken bourbon peaches and brandied cherries over pastries and vanilla bean ice-cream? Or Amaretto apple butter? What about apple cinnamon fruit leather with a twist? How about a raspberry cordial as a dessert sipper?

Is all this deliciousness possible? Yes, in fact it is possible, and more importantly, it is delicious.

The Sustainable Canning Course

Are you searching for canning classes near you? Look no further! The Sustainable Canning Course is a self-paced series of online classes designed to help you on the road to achieving food ownership.

The Sustainable Canning Course is an extension of my book, The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest. I wrote this book to help guide those who seek to own their food source the opportunity to do so. It is a comprehensive, easy to understand book covering all methods of home food preservation, canning, drying, fermenting, curing, freezing, and storing fresh foods.

  • Understand why pressure canning is necessary to preserve foods.
  • Confidently alter or create recipes to be canned.
  • Preserve many tomato products utilizing scientific information with traditional tools.
  • How modern canning tools, such as the steam canner and steam juicer, revolutionized preserving methods.
  • Understanding how to decipher information shared by the National Center of Home Food Preservation.
  • Discover how easy it is to can meat, fish, soups, and stews.

These topics and many more are available within The Sustainable Canning Course. Reserve your spot now, and begin gleaning the necessary information needed to preserve foods as a modern sustainable homesteader does.

Growing and Preserving Figs

I recently planted two fig bushes into a very large contain with hopes that someday soon I’ll be able to reenact 1983. The temperature outside of Seattle on the coldest day of winter rarely drops below 15 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes our location ideal for growing figs.

Many fig varieties can tolerate -4 degrees Fahrenheit, though, if your climate is much colder learn how easy it is to grow a fig tree in a pot.

Before moving on to the actual recipe, give these additional recipes a try:

canning figs

Canning Bourbon Figs

There are two opportunities a year in which preserving bourbon figs can be achieved, around the first week of June and then again from August through October. With over 1,000 varieties available, it is a nice surprise when they are available at your local market.

Ingredients

  • 16 cups fresh Figs, halved
  • 12 cups Water
  • 8 cups Sugar, or honey
  • 1/4 cup bottled Lemon juice
  • Bourbon, 2 tbsp per jar

Equipment

  • Steam Canner or Hot Water Bath Canner
  • Air Bubble Remover
  • pint-size mason jars, 6
  • Jar Funnel
  • 8 quart non-reactive stock pot, copper jam pot, enamel Dutch oven, or stainless steel
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoon

Instructions

  1. Wash figs, remove stem, and cut into half.
  2. Bring water and sugar to boil in a non-reactive pot, make sure to stir often until sugar dissolves.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low, add sliced figs and continue to simmer until figs have softened.
  4. In each pint-size jar add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice, for quart jars add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per jar.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, add figs to pint size Mason jars leaving a 1-inch head space.
  6. Next, add simple syrup to jars covering the figs, remove air bubbles using the air bubble remover. Add additional syrup if needed, taking care to not exceed 1-inch headspace.
  7. Add bourbon to each jar making sure to leave a 1/2-inch headspace.
  8. Wipe the rims of the jars using a clean damp dish towel, add warmed rings and lids to finger tight.
  9. Process jars in a steam canner or hot water bath canner based on your altitude, see the chart below.
Type of PackProcessing time0 – 1,000 ft1,001 – 3,000 ft3,001 – 6,000 ftabove 6,000 ft
HotPint45 min50 mins55 mins60 mins
Quart50 mins55 mins60 mins65 mins
PROCESSING TIME FOR CANNING FIGS IN BOURBON

Notes: 

Reserve any remaining fig liquid to be used as a syrup for waffles and pancakes. Because the Bourbon has been heated up there is no alcohol content when preserving figs.

The processing time for canning figs in bourbon is based on the altitude in which you reside, check the chart in the article prior to canning figs.

My Book

The Farm Girl’s Guide to Preserving the Harvest is a comprehensive book covering multiple methods for preserving foods in the comfort of your home. Learn how to safely can, dry, ferment, cure, freeze, and store foods fresh as a sustainable homesteader would. The tips, tricks, and recipes within this book will provide you the confidence and knowledge needed to own your food source.

Grab your autographed copy here, or an unsigned copy on here.

Printable Recipe Card – Preserving Bourbon Figs 

Print Recipe
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Preserving Bourbon Figs

A delightful adult way to enjoy preserving figs. Figs preserved in a simple syrup with a splash of bourbon makes for an excellent dessert topper!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Canning Time based on 0 – 1,000 ft45 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Canning
Cuisine: American
Keyword: canning bourbon figs, canning figs, canning figs in bourbon, preserving bourbon figs, preserving figs
Servings: 6 pints
Cost: $15

Equipment

  • Steam Canner or Hot Water Bath Canner
  • Air Bubble Remover
  • 9-pint size mason jars
  • Jar Funnel
  • 8 quart non-reactive stock pot, copper jam pot, enamel Dutch oven, or stainless steel
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoon

Ingredients

  • 11 pounds fresh Figs, halved for 9 pints 16 pounds for 7 quarts
  • 12 cups Water
  • 8 cups Sugar
  • 1 tablespoons bottled Lemon juice, each pint-size jar (2 tbsp each quart jar)
  • Bourbon

Instructions

  • Wash figs, remove stem, and cut into half.
  • Bring water and sugar to boil in a non-reactive pot, make sure to stir often until sugar dissolves.
  • Reduce heat to medium low, add sliced figs and continue to simmer until figs have softened.
  • In each pint-size jar add 1 tablespoon of bottled lemon juice, for quart jars add 2 tablespoons of bottled lemon juice per jar.
  • Using a slotted spoon, add figs to pint size Mason jars leaving a 1-inch head space.
  • Next, add simple syrup to jars covering the figs, remove air bubbles using the air bubble remover. Add additional syrup if needed, taking care to not exceed 1-inch headspace.
  • Add bourbon to each jar making sure to leave a 1/2-inch headspace.
  • Wipe the rims of the jars using a clean damp dish towel, add warmed rings and lids to finger tight.
  • Process jars in a steam canner or hot water bath canner based on your altitude, see the chart below.

Notes

Reserve any remaining fig liquid to be used as a syrup for waffles and pancakes. Because the Bourbon has been heated up there is no alcohol content when preserving figs.
The processing time for canning figs in bourbon is based on the altitude in which you reside, check the chart in the article prior to canning figs.

Canning figs in bourbon to use as a dessert topper is delicious. However, make sure to give the other recipes mentioned in this article a try.

preserving bourbon figs
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Comments

  1. Michele Keeley says

    I use baking soda on dates prior to making sticky toffee pudding. I believe the baking soda is used to help breakdown skin/fruit and make it softer. That is my guess… as you use boiling hot water in combination with the baking soda.

    • Ann Accetta-Scott says

      Sadly, I do not have the recipe. This was passed on by an individual whom I met at the market.

  2. Sherrie says

    Sprinkle the baking soda over the figs; cover with the 12 cups of boiling water. Soak for 45 minutes to 1 hour. This helps remove any latex from the skin of any slightly under-ripe figs. Gently turn the figs into a colander, draining all the water. Rinse the figs at least twice with cold water and drain.

    • Ann Accetta-Scott says

      I have done both, but it is easier to consume with the peels discarded. I have edited the recipe card to use bottled lemon juice which is a higher in acidity than fresh lemons.

  3. Sue Glenn says

    Thank you so much for this recipe!
    My Mom used to make figs but with no bourbon. She did not write the recipe down so I was looking for something similar. I began with your recipe but put sliced lemons in rather than juice (they look so pretty in the jars) and added some cinnamon sticks enough to put one in each jar. We used brandy and just put a generous 1/2 cup in the syrup. Wow! They are delicious? Thank you for the framework to bring back something we loved! We do save the syrup— you are right it is yummy! And the lemon slices are delicious as well! My Mom took 3 days to make her figs. Simmering them each day… I simmered mine for 2 days. These are so delicious! We have made two dozen pints and will make some more this fall. Christmas gifts!!!?
    Thanks again for the effort of testing and posting—an encouragement to try my own way!?

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