Season 3, Episode 3: Gettin’ Figgy With It | A Chef's Life | PBS Food

Season 3, Episode 3: Gettin’ Figgy With It



Vivian is under the gun to pen an entire book chapter on figs in three days. The stress inspires a fig and honey bourbon slushie tasting with Warren and a fig preserves session with Ms Rose. After much debate, Vivian and Ben make the tough decision to begin charging for bread at the restaurant.

Vivian’s Cooking Demo


Vivian’s Featured Recipe

Fig and Lemon Preserves



  • 2 heaping quarts perfectly ripe figs
  • 1 quart granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, sliced thin, seeds removed


  1. Wash your figs thoroughly, but treat them with kid hands. Broken figs will cloud the syrup and will not hold up during the cooking process. Lots of folks remove the stem. I do not. I like the way it looks in the finished product. So that’s your call...
  2. In a medium bowl, gently toss together the figs, the sugar and the lemon slices. Cover the bowl and nestle it in the fridge for a minimum of 6 hours or up to overnight.
  3. When you’re ready to make the preserves, remove the figs from the fridge and transfer everything in the bowl to a heavy bottomed stainless steel or enamel coated cast iron pan. Bring the figs, sugar and lemon up to a boil and reduce it to a simmer. Allow the preserves to cook at a good simmer for up to an hour. Try not to bother them too much, as the more you stir, the more figs you could potentially break.
  4. Over the course of an hour, the preserves will take on the color of strong tea and the figs themselves will shrivel, but amazingly hold their shape. For a lot of preserves, it’s important to skim scum from the surface like mad. For these, it doesn’t matter so much. 45 minutes in, check the preserves by dipping a spoon into the syrup, removing it and running your finger along the back of the spoon. If the syrup separates and holds it’s stance briefly, your preserves are done. If the syrup is watery and runs together as soon as your finger is gone, cook the preserves a bit longer.


These preserves will keep, covered in the fridge, for up to two months. If you choose to can them, follow basic canning instructions and process them in your water bath for five minutes.

Yield: 4 pints


Preview the Next Episode


More Episodes

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 1: Stop, Squash and Roll

Episode 1: Stop, Squash and Roll

Vivian seeks motherly advice from Mrs. Scarlett and her sister Johna over dinner. Premiered September 5. Check local listings. Continue

A Chef’s Life - Season 3, Episode 2: Pretty in Peach

Episode 2: Pretty in Peach

Mrs. Scarlett teaches Vivian the secrets of Gramma Hill’s canned peaches and shares fond fried chicken memories from her own childhood. Premieres September 12. Check local listings. Continue


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