Savory Sweet Fig Onion Relish

We have a clump of wild fig trees that are growing neglected in the field behind our property here in Umbria and as soon as they begun to ripen, we have plowed our way through the field to collect a huge bowlful of fresh figs every other day. The figs growing on these trees are green ones, with jewel red centers that explode with tender sweetness when you bite into them.

I have already made two batches of delicious fig jam, and a number of pies and tarts using figs in combination with other fruits. With my latest bowl of figs however, I wanted to made a savory sweet relish to serve with roasted pork or chicken. Umbrians eat a LOT of pork, so we often find delicious pork roasts or nice, fat big pork chops at our local grocery stores, and as everyone knows, pork is delicious when combined with apples or figs.

I decided to use an onion, fig combination as onions when slowly caramelized also gain an earthy sweetness that I thought would go really well with the figs. Since I wanted a chunky relish I simply cut off the top and bottom of each fig and coarsely chopped them leaving the skins on.

This recipe makes about 4 cups of relish when completed, and rather than go through the process of using a water bath canning method, I simply packed mine in meal sized airtight plastic containers and stored them in my freezer. I like to use the full amount of balsamic which really gives the relish a nice tangy flavor, but if you prefer a milder taste simply use just half the vinegar.

Note: You can also add a little cinnamon and cloves to this relish which is also delicious.

A Large Bowl Of Fresh Picked Figs!

This Relish Is Delicious On Roasted Pork

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Fig Onion Relish

Fig Onion Relish

Yield: Makes About 4 Cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Caramelized onions and figs work extremely well together in this tasty relish that is delicious with pork.


  • 3 Large Onions, Peeled And Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 4 Cups Chopped Figs
  • 1/2 Cup Honey (I Used Chestnut Honey)
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (Approximate)
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Fennel Seeds


  1. In a heavy pot, heat the oil and butter together and then add the onions.
  2. Slowly cook the onions, stirring often until they are deep golden in color and very soft, about an hour.
  3. Add the figs, honey, sugar, and fennel and bring to a boil.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, then reduce the heat and cook until thick and jam like, about 30 minutes.
  5. Add half the vinegar and mix well.
  6. Taste and add the rest of the vinegar if needed.
  7. Cool to room temperature before using.
  8. Store excess in airtight containers in the freezer, or in sterilized jars using a water bath sterilization method.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram


  1. Any idea how long the processing time should be in a boiling water bath canner? I would be using 1/2-pint jars. Thanks!

  2. I made this and it is very nice to our English taste buds. We are living in southern
    Italy and when we told our Italian friends of this recipe they laughed at the idea of putting figs and onions together. Not something that is done they said. It was so strange they all told their friends and no one wanted to try it. Crazy English is what they think

  3. Made this with figs from our tree today and canned it for fall. Beautiful and delicious. We will use it on squash.

  4. dWhile in Florence my husband and I repeated returned to a weekend market just to sample and purchase fig/onion compote. It was featured at several booths and is absolutely delicious! Can’t wait to try this recipe, although I will probably cut down on the sugars.

  5. I just made this, doubled the recipe but only used 1 cup sugar and 1 cup honey. Perfect. I think depending on how sweet your onions and figs are determines the amount of sugar or honey you need. The balsamic vinegar puts it over the top!

  6. This is a delicious! Pork is the perfect pairing but I use it on fish, chicken, beef and on my cheese tray too. I did cut the sugar down to 1/4c. Thank you for a fabulous recipe. Nova’s from Maryland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.