Preserving Fresh Figs

I just bought 2 lbs of fresh purple figs, I wondered if anyone has a great recipe for poaching figs in a sugar syrup. I want to put them in my Weck canning jars but don't know how to can. Will they last in my refrigerator until I am ready to use or do you think it's best to try my hand at canning. would adding some sort of alcohol help to preserve them, I think it would only make 2 jars of figs. Any advice?



Diana B. August 24, 2012
Yes, you can certainly put your jams in the fridge; they will keep for quite a long time, several months, at least. If you just want to prep the fruit and can later, though, it won't hold very long, perhaps a few days at most; if you want it to hold longer, freeze it. Figs freeze beautifully for jam-making purposes - today a friend and I thawed 15 pounds of frozen figs and made 33 half-pints of the fig jam with cardamom - and it was heavenly!

And you are very welcome for the recipes. I've been canning for nearly 40 years, and it was a dear friend who introduced me to the pleasures of "saving the season." I'm just paying it forward!
susan F. August 24, 2012
Hi Diana,

I am a newbie here & just want to say a special thank you to you for all the lovely fresh fig recipes you have shared with all of us! One sounds better than the next. I'll have to try one out.

Just one thing, if I am not canning and want my fig whatever now I imaging after prep I can put it all in a jar and in the fridge?

Thanks again,
Diana B. August 24, 2012
You are most welcome! I get such good advice and recipes here that I'm happy to be able to provide some once in a while.
Brain H. August 24, 2012
Thank you! I especially love dried figs plumped up with port, so I'll do some experimenting . Lovely, lovely recipes.
Diana B. August 24, 2012
Sadly, I don't, but I wonder if you could poach dried figs in something, like a simple syrup, or even just plain water, to plump them up fully and then use them as if they were fresh? Googling around, I did find this recipe, but you can't can it unless you can find a Master Food Preserver to tell you it's safe: This looks yummy, too: Finally, this looks so good I might even try it (and I'm surrounded by fig trees!): You'll find others if you Google, although many are just a variation on that first one, but you might find some interesting added ingredients (like brandy).

I did (for those of you who can get fresh figs) find another fig jam recipe that might pique some interest:

Vanilla-Balsamic Fig Compote
from shootsandplatters blog

2.5 lbs of figs, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped
1.75 lbs of sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean, split (or about 1.5 tsp vanilla extract)
1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp (or more) freshly ground black pepper

Combine figs, sugar, lemon, and vanilla in a non-reactive bowl (glass or ceramic or non-reactive metal) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but overnight is better.

The next day, pour into a large pot and add the balsamic and pepper. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 5-10 minutes until the mixture thickens. Remove vanilla bean (if used) and proceed to canning.

Pour the hot mixture into sterilized jars, leaving about a 1/4-inch of head space.

Once the jars are filled, wipe any residue from the rim of the jars to ensure a good seal. Put on prepared lids (soaked in boiling water) and screw on sterilized rings.

Next, you can either put them in a boiling hot water bath for 10-12 minutes or using a pressure cooker at around 7 lbs pressure for 10 minutes.

If using a pressure cooker, allow pressure to come down naturally. Remove jars. Allow to cool and then check for a good seal by making sure each lid is concave against the jar (not convex) and does not push down at all when you press it.
Brain H. August 24, 2012
Diana B, do you have any fig jam recipes that use dried figs? Here in Wyoming, we don't get many fresh figs at the market, and when we do they are too pricey to make into jam.
Diana B. August 23, 2012
This recipe is from Kevin West, a former West Coast editor of W magazine, whose occasionally updated blog is a must for jam-makers; he has a canning cookbook coming out next year and I cannot wait! You can find his Saving the Season blog here:


2.2 pounds (1 kg) black mission or brown Turkey figs, about 6 cups halved
4 cups (800 g) sugar
1/2 cup sage honey
1/2 teaspoon or more wild fennel seed
3 California bay leaves
zest from one lemon
juice from one lemon

1 Figs don't need much prep. Trim the stem end and the tiny button on the flower end. Halve for measurement purposes if working by volume, then quarter for cooking.

2 Layer figs, sugar, honey, lemon juice, and wild aromatics in a bowl. Macerate overnight.

3 Put in a pot and heat. I added the lemon zest at this point, but in the future would try adding it towards the end of cooking. Bring to a full boil and skim. Moderate heat and continue skimming, gently stirring or shaking to prevent figs from sticking to the pot and scorching. About 10 minutes cooking should reduce it sufficiently. Ladle into jars and process in boiling water for 10 minutes.

2.2 pounds figs yielded 2.5 pints
Diana B. August 23, 2012
Fig Jam with Fennel and Vanilla

2 pounds of fresh figs
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
3 cups of sugar
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 vanilla pod
½ cup apple pectin stock (or water)
lemon zest

Stem the figs and halve them. If they are large, quarter them. Put them in a pan with the rest of the ingredients and bring them to a boil. Let the mixture boil for about fifteen minutes, or when you think it has set to your liking. This will be a soft, or runny, jam, so don't expect it to set fully. Ladle it into hot jars and process for ten minutes.

Diana B. August 23, 2012
Fig Jam with Rosemary and Lemon

1 dry pint fresh figs, cut into ½-inch pieces (yielding about 2 cups)
1 C sugar
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp snipped rosemary leaves
Pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a bowl that fits in the microwave oven and stir to combine. Let the mixture macerate for about 30 minutes. Prepare jars for water bath canning. Place a saucer in the freezer for testing the gel. Microwave the mixture at high speed for 6-8 minutes or until boiling. Remove and stir. Put the bowl back in the microwave and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring and checking the gel. Continue to cook for another few minutes until the gel has set. Pour into prepared jars and process in a water bath canner for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the canner lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing to a counter to site undisturbed until cool.
Diana B. August 23, 2012
Fig, Lemon, Thyme Confiture
Makes 12 4-z jars

4 lbs. fresh figs
3 organic lemons, sliced very thinly, seeds removed
1 c wildflower, acacia or clover honey
3 c sugar
1 large bunch thyme, tied together

Pour boiling water over the figs, allow to stand for 10 minutes and then drain. Quarter the figs, then place them in a large preserving or other non-reactive pan.

Wash the lemons well and slice very thin with a mandoline or a sharp knife. Remove the seeds. Add the lemons, honey, sugar and thyme to the figs.

Bring the jam to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour into a ceramic or glass bowl, cover with parchment and refrigerate overnight to develop the flavors.

The next day, put the jam back into the preserving pan and bring up to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for five minutes. Remove the thyme.

You may like this as a loose jam, but if you want it to be firmer, just add one packet of liquid pectin at this point and follow package directions.

Pour hot jam into hot sterilized jars and process for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Diana B. August 23, 2012
Fig Jam with Cardamon

2 quarts fresh figs, stemmed and chopped fine
6 C. sugar (probably can cut this because the thickening is done by cooking down)
1 C. water
2 t. cardamon, ground
3/4 C lemon juice

Placed diced figs, sugar, water and cardamon in a large heavy pot. Stir well and add lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Cook at a boil for 30 minutes or until very thick. As it thickens, stir constantly to prevent burning and sticking. Pour into hot sterilized jars, seal and process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

I have a ton of interesting fig jam recipes, so I'm just going to post them all in subsequent posts.
sdebrango August 23, 2012
Thank you Diane so much, copying and pasting all these wonderful recipes. Much appreciated!!nWill let you know how they turn out.
Diana B. August 23, 2012
They also freeze beautifully, although the texture will be slightly affected, but that doesn't matter much if you are going to make them into jam. They are lovely wrapped in prosciutto and roasted over coals, then placed on a bed of arugula and drizzled with honey. I have a terrific fig jam with cardamom recipe, if you would like to have it. Just let me know!
sdebrango August 23, 2012
I have never frozen figs, and YES would love your recipe. I make a loaf with figs and cardamom. Love the combination.
Cannizzo August 23, 2012
Eat them I love fresh figs and their season is very short so I try to eat them fresh as much as I can cut them in half put a nugget of goat cheese or blue cheese in the middle drizzle with a little honey serve with fresh crusty Italian bread and prosciutto Di Parma. In Italy we actually eat them as a sandwich on bread with cheese any lunch meat we happen to have and the figs and that's breakfast not lunch. I bet you thought that was lunch way too small to be lunch in Italy
sdebrango August 23, 2012
I love fresh figs too, I bought more so I can enjoy them that way and another 2 lbs to preserve. Totally agree the crusty bread, prosciutto nothing better. Thank you so much.

Voted the Best Reply!

Shuna L. August 23, 2012
My favorite on-the-go recipe for preserving figs:
reduce 1 bottle white or red wine with 1C+ sugar {or honey}, a few crushed black peppercorns, 1 cardamon pod, a bay leaf-- until sticky. meanwhile cut hard stems off tops of figs and cut in half vertically. place in non-reactive heatproof bowl. when spiced wine mixture is sticky & boiling hot pour over figs. if you feel you must "stir" do so GENTLY with a rubber spatula. liquid should cover & permeate all figs.

you may need to cook figs in liquid a bit more. if so-- do so over VERY LOW heat and a KEEN WATCHFUL eye. you don't want to make figs mush out, just cook through. these figs will keep for at least a month, maybe more, refrigerated.

if figs can not be cooked right away keep in single layer, not touching.
sdebrango August 23, 2012
Thank you so much Shuna, that sounds perfect. I like to use preserved figs in a loaf that I make in the fall. I love the spiced wine. Thank you!!
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