Late summer and early fall means peak fig season here in San Diego. I just learned that 98% of our country’s fresh figs are grown here in California, as well as 100% of all dried figs. Inspired by an abundance of figs in our local markets, I decided to adapt my family’s recipe for mango chutney and develop one for fig chutney.
I decided to combine both fresh and dried figs, hoping for an intense “figgy” flavor in my chutney. Many thanks to the generous folks at the California Fig Advisory Board who supplied me with beautiful fresh Brown Turkey figs and dried Mission and Golden figs. I combined the Brown Turkeys with a mix of dried Goldens and Missions. (Did you know that priests here at our San Diego Mission first planted figs in 1769, hence the name “Mission”?)
With fall and cooler weather around the corner, serve this rich-tasting chutney with grilled pork, beef or chicken. Slather goat cheese on slices of toasted baguette or crackers, top with chutney and serve with wine. I love fig chutney in a chicken sandwich instead of mayo or swirled into Greek yogurt for my breakfast.
If you don’t want to can the chutney, it will keep, covered, in your fridge for at least a month. For a review of safe canning procedures, I refer folks to the site at Ball. For me, canning is a comforting kitchen ritual that reminds me of canning with three generations of women in my family. My great-grandmother, grandmother and mother all shared their favorite recipes for jams, preserves and chutneys.
My husband can’t stop eating my fig chutney and says it is his new favorite chutney, reminding him of the Fig Newtons he enjoyed as his favorite childhood cookie…And we are both eagerly anticipating the upcoming Fig Fest here in San Diego on Sunday, September 8, sponsored by Les Dames d’Escoffier of San Diego at the San Diego Public Market.
TIP: You can buy pomegranate molasses at Whole Foods, Mideastern grocery stores or online. I f you can’t find it, no worries. I had some in my pantry and decided to add some to my chutney.
- 3 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 pounds fresh figs, stemmed and chopped
- 1 pound dried figs, stemmed and chopped
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- juice and zest on 1 Meyer lemon – or any fresh lemon
- ¼ cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 1 tablespoon mustard seed
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Combine the brown sugar and vinegar in a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.
- Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours.
- Pour into sterile jars and seal, according to safe canning procedures.
- Store in pantry for up to 1 year.