Posted by / Monday, August 6, 2012

"Jamming" Fig Preserves

I mentioned back on my "Figs in the Fan" post that I'd been eyeing my neighbor's fig tree since we moved in. Well they are coming in strong and she's let me know that in years past the tree has continued to produce fruit right on through September and basically until the first frost.

If this is the case, I hope I have the opportunity to show you many recipes utilizing figs. I remember my grandmother having a fig tree and there was nothing like pulling a ripe warm fig right off the tree and taking a bite!

I wanted to make something that would last and we could enjoy spreading over warm toast on cool winter mornings to remind us of the warm days when these became available. Turning to Pinterest, I came across exactly what I was looking for — Southern Fig Preserves from Simple Plate.

  • 8 cups small, firm but ripe figs
  • 2 cups unrefined sugar
  • 1-inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced
  • juice of 1 additional lemon
  • 1 cup of water
In a wide, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive pot, layer the figs with the lemon slices, sugar, sliced ginger, and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

The next day, add the cup of water and cover the pot with a lid. Bring the fig mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Turn the figs down to low and slow cook covered for 1 hour (watching carefully). 

After the figs have cooked covered for 1 hour, vent the lid and cook for another 1/2 hour with the lid vented (or until the figs are translucent and the syrup has thickened).

Transfer the fig mixture (with the lemon and ginger) to sterilized jars. At this point you can keep one out for immediate use. As I mentioned above, I wanted to save some jars for use during the winter and yes, that is a heart I cut out of the fig leaves and placed in the bottom of the jar.

So after filling the jars and sealing them hand tight, lower them in a pot of boiling water for 20 minutes. After the time is up remove from the water set aside to cool.

This recipe makes 4 - 6 pint jars and as mentioned, leave the lemon and ginger when you transfer — this really does add an extreme candied depth to the flavor.

I really am a novice at canning but have enjoyed experimenting with this and other canning projects, like my most recent test with dilly beans.

What are you preparing to can or what have you already done this season?

E.A.T. local E.A.T. well


  1. Lucky you - here in Provence we have a real bad fig year. The ones on my tree are tiny and green and hard.

    1. So sorry to hear. My neighbor has so many coming in I am having trouble keeping up!

  2. Fresh figs right off the tree are one of the best things ever. I love the idea of this spiced jam too!

  3. This is my second year in RVA with a fig tree in the back yard, the tree is massive and sags under the weight of all the figs, but it is covered in bird and squirrel shit.

    Just as a fig starts to get ripe it is eaten or pecked at and destroyed. Nothing scares them away, and it is too big to put a net around. Any ideas?

    I'd really like try this recipe but the birds always beat me to the ripe figs.

    1. Well it is tricky. My neighbors figs are also covered with japanese beetles. I just get over early in the morning and pick the ripest ones I see. Some are riper than others but they both worked for this recipe. Rinse them well and use. The one thing about figs is they really do not ripen once picked.

      Good luck and let me know how things turn out!

  4. We have a very prolific fig tree in our backyard (Manayunk in Philadelphia). It's three years old and we didn't know what to do with all the 'extra' figs. We followed your recipe last weekend with success. Tastes wonderful. Thank you for the post ... easy to follow and helpful with the pictures. We're going to try the fig Greek yogurt pops next!

    1. Awesome so glad you enjoyed it and thanks for the compliments! Good luck on the yogurt pops!

  5. Thanks so much for the mention! And I'm glad my old family recipe helped you with your own iteration! Best! ~D


"Some people eat to live; I live to eat." -Tim Vidra

An avid home cook, I believe in using simple ingredients, local when possible and am inspired by the principles of supporting a sustainable food system. I’ve cultivated this blog as a way to share my passion for the preparation and enjoyment of food in a way that everyone from beginners to long time foodies can get involved in.



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