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Fig Leaf Syrup (adapted from “Herb A Cook’s Companion” – by Mark Diacono (Quadrille))

  • Yield: 3 cups


3 fresh fig leaves

1 lb 2 oz sugar

2 cups water


Take fig leaves and dry them at 250F/130C until they turn crisp, not brown, about 15 minutes.

Prepare a simple syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil until the sugar is dissolved completely.

Add the dried fig leaves and steep overnight in the refrigerator covered. You could also use a shorter steeping time for a milder flavor.

Store in a sterilized airtight bottle in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


When picking fig leaves avoid coming into contact with the plant’s sap. Fig sap contains a substance called ficin which irritates the skin (I know from personal experience because I went to the dermatologist to get treated after I accidentally let it get on the back of my neck while trimming a fig tree). I’ve been told that the sap levels of ficin are lowest before sunrise and at sunset, so you could collect the leaves then or simply just use gloves and be careful. Heating the leaves destroys the ficin so it is not an issue during cooking.

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