Most Afrikaner grew up in homes where rows and rows of jams, pickles and chutneys were stuffed into pantry shelves, jostling for position – a legacy of an era where everything edible had to be preserved in some way or another. Groenvyekonfyt (green fig preserve) may not have originated in the Afrikaner kitchens but almost every home had a couple of jars squirreled away for special occasions and it was served with cheese or bread and butter, turned into cakes and tarts and at Christmas, became an essential ingredient in the trifles and Christmas puddings inherited from the British.
1. Select figs which are plump, with no cavity inside.
2. Scrape and wash the figs. Make an incision in the shape of a cross at the blossom end of the fig. Weigh.
3. Soak over night in a solution of Bi-carbonated soda, 2 (T) soda to 3,5 liters of water.
4. Rinse fruit, place in boiling water, and boil for about 15 minutes until tender. Use the water to make the syrup.
5. Press out the water and gradually put figs into boiling syrup. Use 2 cups sugar for every 500gs fruit, and for extra syrup 1 cup per every 375ml water. Prepare 1,5l (6 cups) of extra syrup to add when necessary.
6. Add a few cloves, cinnamon sticks and bruised pieces of ginger and 3 to 4 teaspoons lemon juice for every 3kg fruit.
7. Boil rapidly for about 2 hours in the syrup until the fruit is clear and the syrup thick.
8. Pack into clean sterilized jars, fill with syrup and seal.
Tip: Test the syrup by allowing a little to cool in a spoon and then pouring it from the spoon. It should stick together and not fall in separate drops.
Allow to mature for 6 weeks.