Preserving Figs: Jam and Boozy

Fresh figs are a fine treat and preserving them opens up many more possibilities, from dried to newton to jam to pudding. I covet (yes, I know) my neighbors majestic fig tree and this year made it out in time to harvest about 10 pounds of green figs in 10 minutes. I am not sure of the exact varietal but think it might be a Kadota, Desert King or lattarulla (Italian honey fig) based on climate and description. I honestly hadn’t put much thought to figs (a flying fig?), other than I loved to eat them in any presentation but especially as a jam with cheese. Do some research for your self about this complex inward blooming druplet. Now let us get down to figgin’ business [groan].

Sultry Fig Jam

This recipe is made a tad bit sultry by adding balsamic vinegar. Inspired by Put Em Up by Sherri Vinton


  • 2 pounds of figs, any edible variety
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup nice quality balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup commercial lemon juice
  • ½ orange for zesting

Makes about 4 cups and doubled well, just increase time to reduce.


  • Prepare the figs by trimming off the stems and halving or quartering the fruit.
  • Add them to a large nonreactive pot, add the water and heat it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes until the fruit is really soft. You then can mash up by hand (potato masher) or use an immersion blender, on low, pulsing.

  • Add the sugar, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice. Keep it at a simma’ and stir frequently for 20 to 30 minutes, until it becomes thicker than honey. You can use the gel test or my favorite, guessing. About 10 minutes before done, zest in your orange peel.
  • Ladle into jars (smaller is better for sharing), leave about ¼ inch headspace and process using a hot water bath method for 10 minutes. If you have never canned please take a class or do more research on safe canning practices, as I do not expound on them here….

Enjoy this sophisticated jam served alongside cheese, on buttered toast or stirred into yogurt. You could even use as a marinade or filling for cookie (think jam thumbprints!)

Options: add in candied ginger, simmer a 2 inch cinnamon stick (then remove), fresh or dried apricot or really play up the orange flavor.

Boozy Figs in Honey Syrup

Boozy is optional but figs packed in honey syrup is a must. Inspired again out of Put Em UP! I cannot wait to try these out. I am thinking to smoosh and spread on a cheese plate or warmed up and served over ice cream. Black Mission figs are in the stores right now and for color/interest I used them in combination with my green figs. If all else fails, they look pretty in the jars.


  • 3 pounds of figs, stemmed, washed
  • 1 cup of honey
  • ½ cup Cointreau or other favorite liquor (thinking brandy or bourbon)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Commercial lemon juice, enough to put a tablespoon in each pint jar
  • 2 cups water plus more for initial simmer
  • Optional orange zest

Makes 3-5 pints, depends how good you are at packing the jars and how much syrup you have.


  • Place the prepared figs in a saucepan and cover completely and then some with water. Bring this to a boil and then just simmer for 2 short minutes. Drain.
  • Combine the honey, sugar and water in small pan and bring to a quick boil. Pour syrup into larger pan with the figs, add the booze and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Do not over cook them or they will be even more fragile. Turn off the heat but you can leave the pot on the burner.
  • Have your pint jars all prepared (clean hot and ready) and add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each jar and the orange zest if you like. I used my wire egg yolk separator to scoop up each fig and place into the jars. Ladle or pour in the syrup into each fig filled jar, leaving about ½ inch of headspace. Put the lids on and swirl and invert to make sure that there are not air bubbles lurking. Take the lid off and remove bubbles as needed. You might need to add more syrup too. I poured the warm syrup into a large glass measuring cup and then poured. It was easier than ladling with this recipe.

  • Process the boozy figs for 45 MINTUES (yes, fourty five) in a hot water bath. Why so long? Do not question; just figgin’ do it… because you are packing lightly cooked whole fruit and figs are really low acid.

Some Figalicious Resources

  • Seattle Can Can: recipes, classes, references
  • No post on figs would b complete without mentioning the world renowned fig knowledge repository –
  • Wikipedia – for lots of big words and interesting facts
  • Excellent overview of the canning process

Sorry for the fig puns….

One thought on “Preserving Figs: Jam and Boozy

  1. I still don’t get the 45 minute processing time. If you’re really worried about botulism, no amount of water bathing is ever going to make it safe. I think the high concentration of sugar should be sufficient – as in other low-acid jams.

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