Old-Fashioned Fig Preserves

Remember Grandma’s preserved figs? They were perfect to eat on a hot, buttered biscuit. With fig season here, try this simple recipe and enjoy them all year.  It takes some time to cook the figs down and you must watch the syrup carefully so it doesn’t burn, but once you’ve made them you’ll be enjoying them spread on those hot biscuits once again.  Of course, don’t stop there – you might also like them spooned over ice cream, or spread on toast with goat cheese or even mixed in with a great salad and blue cheese and toasted pecans.  And yes, you can even enjoy a spoonful all by itself. We won’t tell.



12 cups whole figs, washed

4 cups water

6 cups sugar

pinch of salt


Bring a pan of water to boil.  Add figs and remove from heat allowing them to sit about 3 minutes.  Drain. Combine sugar and the 4 cups of water in a heavy pan and bring to a rolling boil.  Stir constantly until sugar is dissolved and forms a clear syrup.  Add whole figs to syrup mixture. Lower the heat to medium. Cook figs approximately 2.5-3 hours until they seem soft.  Be careful stirring the pot so as not to break the figs – you want them whole. Remove the figs from heat. Use a slotted spoon to gently fill hot jar with figs then cover with the hot syrup. After filling, wipe the mouth of each jar with a clean cloth, making sure to remove anything from rim that would prevent a solid seal. Add lids and screw on tightly. Process in a boiling water bath for 10-15 minutes.

Notes: Consult a professional canning resource for details on water bath canning.  The number of jars you will need will depend on the size and type of figs you use.  If you don’t want to process in a water bath, you can keep the figs in the refrigerator for 4-6 weeks or you can freeze them for up to 6 months.  We kept the figs whole, however if you prefer a more spreadable jam, you can cut them in half so they will cook apart more readily.