“Fig-flavored balsamic vinegar is pretty common, so I thought, Why not make my own?” says Ernest Miller. It was a great idea: This recipe creates not only that delicious vinegar, but also all the tender whole figs that are infused with it. To guarantee that the figs remain whole, Miller suggests using firm fruit, since the double cooking process would break down very ripe figs.
Slideshow:Easy Food Gifts
Four 1/2-pint canning jars with lids and rings
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 cups water
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 1/4 pounds small firm-but-ripe Black Mission figs (about 24)
How to Make It
Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil. Add the canning jars, lids and rings along with a set of tongs and a ladle and simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes to sterilize. Cover the pot and turn off the heat.
Set a metal rack in another large pot. Fill the pot with water, cover and bring to a boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the figs and simmer over low heat, stirring a few times, until they are barely tender, about 10 minutes.
Using the sterilized tongs, remove the jars from the hot water and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Pack the figs into the hot jars and ladle the hot balsamic vinegar over them, leaving 1/2 inch of space at the top. Using the tongs, place the lids on the jars followed by the rings. Screw on the lids securely but not too tightly.
Using canning tongs, lower the jars onto the rack in the pot of boiling water, making sure the tops of the jars are covered by at least 1 inch of water. Boil the jarred figs over high heat for 15 minutes. Using the canning tongs, transfer the jars to a rack to cool until the lids seal (they will look concave); refrigerate any jars that do not seal. Store the sealed jars in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.
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