Saturday, September 5, 2009

Fig Preserves

As a child, I remember my mother and grandmother making fig preserves. The strange looking brown fruit was cooked in syrup and left to stand overnight before cooking again the next day and preserving in decorative jelly jars. The sweet preserves were a staple at breakfast as a topping for hot biscuits and toast.

Several years ago we planted two fig trees with the hope of someday having figs, but that day has not arrived thanks to a late cold snap that has taken the summer harvest. But just 2 miles from our home, James and Mary are enjoying a bumper crop of figs and were kind enough to share.

Fig preserves are very simple to make but require an overnight soak. The 10 pounds of figs yielded 11 half-pints and 12 four ounce jars of preserves. James and Mary, thanks for sharing your delicious figs with us!

Fig Preserves

6 pounds figs, washed and stemmed
1 1/2 quart water
8 cups sugar
1 1/2 lemon, thinly sliced

Combine the water, sugar and lemon in a large pan and bring to a boil. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes. Remove the lemon and skim off any foam. Add all the figs to the syrup, a few at a time so the syrup continues to boil. Cook rapidly, stirring frequently, until the figs are translucent, about 30 minutes. Remove figs from syrup and place in a shallow pan. Boil the syrup until it is as thick as honey. Pour the syrup over the figs and let stand overnight, covered at room temperature.
The next day, heat the figs and syrup to boiling and continue cooking until the syrup is thick, about one hour. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.
While the figs are cooking, sterilize the canning jars and prepare lids and rings according to the manufacturer's directions. Spoon hot preserves into jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Add syrup to 1/4 inch from jar top. Remove air bubbles wipe rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

If you have leftover syrup, can or refrigerate it and use as a topping for biscuits, toast, pancakes or pound cake.


  1. the figs look delicious, Susan!! I bought two plants! I am going to order Tuscan olive trees, too.

  2. Good luck with your fig trees. I heard the secret to good figs is to sprinkle ice cream salt around the base every spring.

  3. this looks yummy... unfortunately i live in a place where fig is difficult to get :( ...but surely will try when i get a chance ... thanks for posting it :) ... from India