Fig Preserves

This was the first year my Celeste fig tree produced fruit, and I am quite happy with the harvest – about 13 dozen over the past couple months! Because figs have a “shelf life” of only a couple days, I peeled and chopped them as soon as I harvested them and put them in the freezer (in freezer bags) until I had enough to make fig preserves. Last week, I made three batches of preserves with this recipe – just in time to enter a jar in the competition at the county fair (where I won first place AND Best of Show third place)!

I modified this recipe a little from the original found at


  • 5 cups chopped figs (in a liquid measuring cup), fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4  1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons of Ball low/no-sugar pectin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon butter (optional – to prevent foaming)
  • 6 half-pint Mason jars with lids and rings

1. Sterilize 6 jelly jars (8 oz mason jars) in boiling water or a dish washer. Sterilize the lids and screw caps in simmering water. Turn on the heat under your filled canning pot, to bring the water to a boil.

2. Chop figs into small pieces.

Chopped figs

Chopped figs

2. Measure sugar in a bowl and set aside.

3. Measure pectin in another bowl. Take 1/4 cup sugar from the measured sugar bowl and mix it into the pectin. Set aside.

4. In a large pot, combine 5 cups figs, the sugar-pectin mixture, lemon juice, water, and butter. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often. While it’s cooking, use a potato masher to mash the figs some. There will still be chunks left.

Fig mash for preserves

Fig mash for preserves

5. Once the mixture has come to a boil, add the sugar and cinnamon. Bring the mixture to a boil again, stirring continually. Once it comes to a boil, boil hard for at least one minute.

6. Turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then stir completely.

7. Pour preserves into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp paper towel to remove any preserves that may interfere with the seal. Then apply lids and rings.

8. Process jars in your canning pot at a full boil for ten minutes. Immediately remove from the canning pot and cool on your counter. Shortly after removing the jars from the water, you should hear those lovely pings that tell you the jars are sealing! However, let the jars cool for twelve hours before checking the seals. Then, push lightly in the center of the lids; if they don’t have any give, the seals are good. (Otherwise, you’ll have to refrigerate the poorly sealed jar or jars, and eat first.) After 24 hours, the preserves should be fully set and you can enjoy!

As a note, don’t ever double a canning recipe! Follow the recipe, as is, and make multiple batches.

Fig preserves

Fig preserves

As soon as my jars cooled, I put one into the fridge to try the next morning on my toast. I never thought I would taste a rival to my favorite raspberry preserves, but this has almost pushed the raspberries to a close second! If you grow figs, you must give this recipe a try!


DISCLAIMER: If canned incorrectly, clostridium botulinum is a real and dangerous risk! Sanctuary Gardener is not responsible for how this recipe is used, the use of poor canning practices, or canning errors. Please visit the site for the National Center for Home Food Preservation for more information on canning and preserving.

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