Fig Conserve

This variation on one of my mother’s recipes is typical of the vast array of condiments we southerners pride ourselves on. I use it as a marmalade on toasted hearty bread or like chutney alongside game. I usually put several whole peppercorns in every other jar of preserves, but some years I just add a tablespoon or so to the entire batch while it is cooking.


  • 2 pounds ripe fresh figs
  • 1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
  • 2 medium lemons, unpeeled, cut into small pieces
  • ½ teaspoon pure salt
  • sugar
  • 1 cup roughly chopped nuts (optional; see Note)
  • black peppercorns to taste (optional)


Wash the figs and cut them into small pieces. Mix the pineapple and lemons, then fold them into the figs with the salt. Add an equal weight of sugar. Put the entire mixture in a heavy nonreactive pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, until it thickens but is still a little runny. It will take an hour or two.

Add the nuts and peppercorns, if desired, put in hot sterilized jars, and screw down the lids. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.