‘Country Gourmet’ yields great fig preserve recipe

Summer is fig season, and from all reports, this summer’s crop has been excellent.

My dear friend and canning buddy Virginia Noland and I have made all kinds of preserves in more than 20 years of cooking projects, but our few attempts at fig preserves have been less than successful. Our last try produced jars with hard, shriveled figs.

My previous failures with figs left me with mixed emotions when Wayne Daigle brought my husband a box of figs he had picked that morning. How could I let such a gift go to waste?

I spent an hour going through cookbooks trying to find one recipe that was clear and specific. There were fig preserve recipes in many of the older Southern books, but most were vague, especially when it came to the question of how long to actually cook the figs.

And then I found “The Country Gourmet,” self-published in 1976 by Miriam G. Cohn, of Port Gibson, Mississippi. Mrs. Cohn was a childhood friend of my stepmother, the late Frances Graham Kling Nathanson, who gave me the cookbook on my birthday many years ago.

In an introduction to her book, Mrs. Cohn wrote, “I have collected recipes that I found in old trunks, apothecary jars and cedar chests that have been in my family for over a century. I found scores of these priceless versions that have been cooked in many imaginative ways, each generation improving on the one before.”

Mrs. Cohn’s recipe for fig preserves is clear and accurate and produced 14 beautiful jars of figs. Even if you don’t have figs this summer, clip and save this recipe. You will be so happy when next year’s crop comes in.