Fig Preserves

Making fig preserves is something my parents have been doing for as long as I can remember.  They do a great job, they’re always super-tasty but unfortunately the tree they used to pick from was recently cut down.  They decided to come visit for the weekend and went to my husband’s grandfather’s house to pick some.  We then spent the day canning!  Boy did my house smell good!  This recipe has a lot of information, so I’m going to type it as my dad did so I don’t leave anything out.

Fig Preserves
Recipe from:  My dad, Gerry

Before starting, you will need the following:
1 jar canning pot with the rack and lid
1 jar funnel
1 magnetic lid wand
enough pint jars with new, unused lids (jars and rings can be re-used)
enough sugar per amount of figs
enough lemon slices per amount of figs
enough pots for figs to boil
1 small saucepan

Sugar and Jar Estimate:  (2 cups sugar = 1 lb)

Fresh Figs (in quarts)         Sugar (in cups)    Number of Jars Needed
             2                                                     1                                  2
             3                                                     2                                  3
             4                                                     3                                  4
             5                                                     4                                  5
             6                                                     5                                  6 or 7
             7                                                    6                                   8
             8                                                     7                                  9
             9                                                     8                                   10
            10                                                   9                                    11
            11                                                   10                                 14
            15                                                   13                                 20
            27                                                   22                                29  

How to make fig preserves

Pick figs.  Measure (in quarts) as you put them into a sink full of water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, then carefully let the water out, re-plug the drain and refill with fresh water.  Let soak 10-15 minutes, drain and refill with fresh water.  Put enough water to float the figs, it makes it easier to remove them to the pot.  Let soak 10-15 more minutes, then scoop them out two-handed, letting the water drain off in your hands.  Put the figs into a measuring cup and then into a large stock or ‘gumbo” pot.  Add the required amount of sugar on top and one slice of lemon per projected jar of figs you will wind up with.  Turn the burner on medium/med-high.  As the figs begin to boil and the sugar melts to a syrup, you can turn the burner back until you have a gentle, steady boil.  Keep the pot uncovered and periodically pick the pot up and swirl it.  Do not use a spoon to stir them as that may bust the figs.  Let them cook a couple of hours until the figs are getting translucent and the syrup thickens and gets dark.  When the figs are nearing completion, place an empty jar (no lid) into the canning pot with enough water to cover the upright jar by an inch.  Remove the jar, put the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil.

While it’s boiling, place the jars (no lids) on the rack and lower them into a water.  A regular canning pot will hold 7 jars in its’ rack.  If you will need more, you will have to work in batches.  Put the lid on, bring back to a boil and let boil for 10 minutes (you can skip boiling the empty jars if you sterilize them and keep them hot in the dishwasher).  Meanwhile, take a small saucepan half full of water and let boil for 10 minutes.  Heat it to just before boiling and put in the number of lids (not rings) you will need.  When the jars are ready, carefully take them out of the pot using the jar grabber, empty the water from it into the canning pot and place on a cutting board near your fig pot.  Place the cover back on the canning pot and make it return to a fully rolling boil.

Put the jar funnel on top of the jar and start spooning figs and syrup into the jar (put just figs in first, then the syrup when the jar is full of figs)and making sure to get one slice of lemon in each jar.  Add figs to within 1/2 inch of the rim and syrup within 1/4 inch of the rim.  Carefully wipe the rim with a wet paper towel and using the magnetic lid wand, remove a lid from the saucepan, placing it on the jar.  Place a ring on and close but don’t tighten, just till you feel a slight resistance. 

Using the jar grabber, carefully lower each filled jar into the boiling water in the canning pot, insuring the water is at least an inch over the lids when you are through.  Cover and let boil for 15 minutes.  Take each jar out with the jar grabber and place on a wooden surface (cutting board) to start cooling.  As each jar cools, it will make a ‘pop’ sound as it creates a vacuum seal.  Listen and count the pops to insure each of your jars sealed correctly.  After the jars are cooled to the touch, you can also depress the center of the lid with your finger to test the seal.  If one depresses and pops back, you don’t have a good seal and you need to refrigerate that one. 

Some pictures…

Our Bounty


Figs in the pot with sugar

Figs after being cooked down for a few hours

Canned Fig Preserves

To give you some idea…

we used three large pots to cook the figs down in and it produced roughly 20 jars (plus half of one that we stuck in the fridge).


6 responses to “Fig Preserves

  1. What kinds of recipes will the canned figs be used in?

    • christenandjames

      I just finished making some fig ice cream (will post recipe later). Other options are just on biscuits, a fig cake and the jars are also a great addition to a holiday gift basket!

  2. This sounds yummy and as the figs are ripe in the garden now, I think I will be able to give it a try over the weekend. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Carmen L. Mottu

    thanks so much for the fig recipe, now I can enjoy my fogs with my family and friend.

  4. How long do fig preserves last? I have several jars from 2009. Still good…what do you think?

    • christenandjames

      I’d open one and see, you never know. It depends on a few things – how well it was preserved, how good the fig crop was that year. The ones at the top of the jar might not be as good as the ones more in the liquid, so try those.

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