Preserving Figs

Do you have a fig tree? A friend with a fig tree? Or access to locally grown figs? If so, we have a great recipe on the Home & Garden Information Center website for making fig preserves!

I made this recipe a couple of weeks ago. This is a true story.

First, let me say that I was gifted a bundle of fresh figs from a friend. My first thought was, “Ugh, what am I going to do with all those figs? Looks like a lot of work!” Then… Aha Moment. “Figs are awesome! They may be my favorite fruit ever. I’m going to preserve them so I can eat them all year long!”

I started by giving the figs a thorough rinse. Here are what beautiful, ripe and freshly harvested figs look like.

Ripe and freshly harvested figs.

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Next, I made myself a fig snack. I needed to confirm that those figs tasted as good as they looked. They did not disappoint.

Figs are a great snack.

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

OK. On to work. Really got down to this fig preserving business.

I brought a large pot of water to a boil.

Pot of boiling water

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Poured boiling water over figs and let them stand 15 minutes.

Figs covered with boiling water

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Drained. Rinsed the figs in cold water. Prepared a syrup by mixing 4 cups of sugar, 1½ quarts water and lemon.

Prepared syrup for figs

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

I brought the syrup ingredients to a rapid boil and boiled for 10 minutes.

Bring syrup to rapid boil

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

ON a side note. While I was waiting for the syrup to come to a boil, I took a picture of my cat. Her name is Tomato. I didn’t touch her though, because that could have created a food safety issue.

Tomato the cat

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Back to work again.

After the syrup had been boiling for 10 minutes, I skimmed the syrup; removed and discarded lemon slices. Then dropped figs into syrup a few at a time. Cooking rapidly until the figs were translucent. (forgot to get a picture of that part). Removed figs and placed in shallow pan.

Figs after cooking in syrup

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Then boiled the remaining syrup until thick.

Boil remaining syrup until thick.

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Poured it over figs and let sit for 6 to 8 hours (ended up being closer to 8 hours for me). I loosely covered the pan of figs in syrup with paper towels.

Syrup poured over figs

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Want to guess what I did while my figs were marinating in syrup?

I went for a hike with my hubby and saw this beautiful waterfall!!

**I did come home and clean up really good before starting back to work on preserving the figs.*


Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

Once I was back at home and ready to finish, I reheated the figs and syrup to boiling. Poured the hot preserves into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wiped jar rims and adjusted lids and processed the jars for 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Jars of fig preserves!

Adair Hoover, ©2019 Clemson Extension

And there you have it. Jars of fig preserves! Not bad for a day of work and play!

For more factsheets related to safe canning methods see: HGIC 3200, Jelly and Jam Recipes and HGIC 3040,
Canning Foods at Home.

Fig Preserves

3 quarts figs
3 quarts boiling water
4 cups sugar
1½ quarts water
2 lemons, thinly sliced (optional)

Pour boiling water over figs. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain. Rinse figs in cold water. Prepare syrup by mixing sugar, 1½ quarts water and lemon. Boil rapidly 10 minutes. Skim syrup; remove and discard lemon slices. Drop figs into syrup a few at a time. Cook rapidly until figs are transparent. Remove figs and place in shallow pan. Boil syrup until thick, pour over figs and let stand 6 to 8 hours. Reheat figs and syrup to boiling. Pour hot preserves into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe jar rims and adjust lids. Process 5 minutes in a boiling water bath.

Yield: About 10 half-pint jars

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at or 1-888-656-9988.

Factsheet Number



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