This recipe for sweetened, dried tomato figs is an unusual way to preserve tomatoes that I’ve seen mentioned in several old 19th century cookbooks . Despite the name, there aren’t actually any figs in this recipe at all, but the dried tomatoes do somewhat resemble figs in both appearance and taste.
In the 19th century as tomatoes were gaining in popularity in America, you start to see more and more recipes (or receipts) using tomatoes in 19th century cookbooks, including recipes for ketchups, sauces, and dried tomato figs. For making tomato figs, small tomatoes are simmered in sugar and then dried fully and coated in more sugar for storage.
I’m not quite sure if the original intention of the tomato figs was to create a more economical way to make a substitute for dried figs (like with using citron melon to make candied citron for fruitcake rather than buying imported citron fruit) or if someone preserved tomatoes this way and then decided that they happened to look and taste reminiscent of dried figs. Either way, though, they really do remind me of figs and they’re certainly an interesting way to preserve an abundance of fresh tomatoes.