Whole Fig Preserves

It’s that time again . . .

FigsThe figs are ripe up at Camp Dularge and I am battling the birds for them.  I’m sure the guests in the camp thought I was crazy this morning while I was picking figs.  I was fussing at the birds to stay up in the top of the tree and to stop coming down in my half of the tree.  They’re getting too greedy, and all I picked this morning was this small bowl full.  Hardly enough to fool with, but I did anyway, because I love you readers (and my big sister) so much!

Canning needsFor canning, you will need a big boiling pot, about 8 pint jars, new lids (used ones will not seal), bands (can be reused), canning funnel, and canning tongs.  Oh, and a Hershey Bar for a burst of energy–optional!

Here’s what you’ll need for the preserves:
12 cups whole figs
4 cups water
6 cups sugar
4 lemon slices – seeds removed
pinch of salt

Wash figsWash figs in cool water.  Remove stems.  I’m using only firm figs for this recipe because I want them to stay “whole” and not smash up.

This recipe calls for an extra step to “set the color” of the figs.  Boil a saucepan of water, gently place figs in and remove from heat.  Let sit 3 minutes and then drain quickly.

Next . . .

In heavy-bottomed pot, combine sugar, salt, and water and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly until it makes a clear syrup.  Do not burn.  Add lemon slices, and then gently place figs into boiling liquid.

Pink fig syrupAfter only a few minutes, the liquid is becoming a pretty pink color.

Cooked figsLower heat to medium and cook figs for about 2.5 hours, or until figs seem soft.  During the cooking process, swirl the pot to stir rather than using a spoon.  We don’t want to break the figs.

While figs are cooking, get your jars ready.

Jars in dishwasherIf you have a dishwasher, keep clean jars hot on the “heated dry” cycle.

Heat jarsIf not, place them in the sink and fill them with boiling water. Also, place 8 bands and lids in a pot of boiling water.

Water bath and fig potAlso, make sure you have a big pot like this blue one filled with boiling water for your “granny bath” or boiling water bath.

Figs in jarsOnce figs are done cooking, place funnel on top of hot jar.  Using a slotted spoon, gently fill hot jar with figs, slice of lemon, and then ladle hot syrup over figs, leaving 1/4 inch head space.   Wipe edge with clean cloth, removing any syrup from rim that would prevent a solid seal.  Now, put on a lid, then a band, and wearing an oven mitt or using a hot pad, screw the band on tight.   Do one jar at a time until all the preserves are used.

Boiling water bathUsing big tongs, place each jar gently into the boiling water bath and set the timer for 10 minutes.  Make sure the water is over the top of the lids.  Using tongs, then place jars on a towel and wait for the “ping”, which is the sound of the lid making a complete seal while the jar cools down.

Toast and fig syrupAnd if you’re like me–haven’t eaten yet–take some of the leftover syrup and put it on a piece of toast with a side of fresh figs.  Mmmmmm.  Because I had quite a bit of syrup left, I filled a jar and will try it later on pancakes or waffles.

Whole Fig Preserves

Whole Fig Preserves

  • 12 cups whole figs
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 4 slices lemon – seeds removed
  • pinch of salt
  1. Wash figs in cool water.
  2. Remove stems.
  3. Boil a saucepan of water, gently place figs in and remove from heat.
  4. Let sit 3 minutes and then drain quickly.
  5. In heavy-bottomed pot, combine sugar and water and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly until it makes a clear syrup. Do not burn.
  6. Add lemon slices, and then gently place figs into boiling liquid.
  7. Lower heat to medium and cook figs for about 2.5 hours, or until figs seem soft.
  8. During the cooking process, swirl the pot to stir rather than using a spoon to keep from breaking the figs.
  9. Once figs are done cooking, place funnel on top of hot jar.
  10. Using a slotted spoon, gently fill hot jar with figs, slice of lemon, and then ladle hot syrup over figs, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
  11. Wipe edge with clean cloth, removing any syrup from rim that would prevent a solid seal. Now, put on a lid, then a band, and wearing an oven mitt or using a hot pad, screw the band on tight.
  12. Do one jar at a time until all the preserves are used.
  13. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.


And there you have it.  About three hours of your time and some beautiful, delicious homemade whole fig preserves.

Happy figging!



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  1. Will BisSis get a jar of those? I would only add one thing. Be sure to hold the jars with a potholder when you tighten down the ring cuz they are hot!

  2. My Mom liked to make fig preserves and they were so yummy. Hers were different though as there were no lemon slices in the jar. Interesting! She would also grind the figs and make fig cookies. Now those were a treat!!!

      1. HELP!! 🙂 I have an important canning question! I don’t know anyone who cans so I am hoping you can answer this. I canned figs, whole in syrup. I misread the instructions and instead of adding lemon juice to each jar, I added it directly to the syrup. Will these be safe to eat? Also, the figs are floating in the jars:-) And some of them have a bit of skin missing. I didn’t know to use only unblemished fruit. Are these safe?

        1. They should be fine. The fact that they are floating means there is more syrup than figs ratio. If you pack more figs in, then they can’t float! Sometimes you have syrup left over, and that’s okay. Next time, just cut the blemishes off, no problem! Did you taste the syrup? Adding the lemon juice to the syrup shouldn’t matter! Hey, I have an idea, next time, try one of my old fashioned fig preserve recipes!!! You don’t even really need the lemon juice!

          1. Many thanks!!! I feel so much better! I am going to try your fig preserve recipe when I get more figs. Thanks again!

  3. My mom brought two large dishpans filled with figs to the food bank yesterday to be dispersed. She also makes mock strawberry preserves/jelly with the figs and strawberry jello.
    Those look like the small sugar figs. She has a large tree of those and one of the large turk figs. You fight the birds for them and she has to fight her chickens and guineas for them.

    I love to eat them off of the tree but, never developed a love for the preserves. But, they always look so nice in the jars and yours look very nice whole. Hope big sis enjoys them.

      1. Sorry, no, I haven’t had a chance to go all the way thru yet. I’ve gotten about 1/3 of the way though. Maybe while I am recuperating after surgery, I will get lots done on the computer that I have been “intending” to do. (Don’t anyone put money on it though). LOL!

  4. I’m happy I was blessed with an abundance of figs last year! I’ve still got 7 qts. of “Regular” preserves and 5 pints of the Mock Strawberry. Gustauve wiped out my big tree and the birds are eating off the other one. I’m hoping they get their fill soon. It’s been so dry, most of the figs are like green marbles. Maybe by the time they ripen, I’ll have enough to can. I’ve watered, but I fear it’s too little too late. At least I’ve picked a few and popped them in my mouth right then and there.

  5. We had a great big fig tree on the side of my childhood home that was “my special place” It was taller than our roof, smooth thick trunks that just begged to be climbed!! I was such a tomboy, I lived in that tree for many summers, ate fresh figs till I popped. After I laid claim to that tree, dad only had to pick figs from the bottom, I happily took care of the higher branch. It produced very large juicy sweet figs. I have never seen another fig tree that large until I visited a former patient. She didnt eat figs so she placed her chicken yard under it…….those darned lucky chickens, sure hope they make good dumplins!!! Thanks for the post, I dont have access to figs, but what a sweet sweet memory to savor over coffee…

  6. I been pondering the fig vine? I run across it gets way too much care for no fruit up here i know. it grows on a south facing wall and gets a nap blankie in winter. Maybe got it confused with other fruit.

    All I do know is Elmer the world traveler salesman in family gave everybody figs and fresh dates at thanksgiving or xmas. Picture Mr Clean the guy was a dead ringer for him before Mr Clean.

    1. Blu, I traded my decoder ring for a sinker bait. So, break it down for me. Figs grow on a tree. What kind of vine are you wrapping up in the winter with a blanket?? I mean, does it ever bear fruit for you? If so, what does the fruit look like?

  7. I grew up on fig preserves, but the only ones I’ve had in recent years were from a tree next door. I got what I could sneak but when it was sold, the new people cut down the tree one day while I was at work. Came home to find it and went out and picked as many figs off it as I could reach through the laid out branches that weren’t ruined when t;hey dragged it out. Then they burned the remaining stump so it could not possibly grow back! They didn’t even know what kind of fruit tree it was. I don’t know another soul with a fig tree so no more preserves for me!! Boo, hoo!

      1. We had a big turk fig in our yard when we moved here in the mid ’70s but, my son, who loves figs, is so allergic to the plant that he can’t get within 10′ of one without breathing problems and breaking out in whelts and blisters. So, we had to cut it down and burned the stump too.
        He can eat the figs if we peel them for him. He is also allergic to fresh peaches like I am. His son, is also allergic to them and to fresh peaches. Joan S., perhaps your neighbors had a family member who was allergic to them.

        1. Now, being allergic to figs makes it more bearable, but that is also very sad! And peaches, too? Poor things! Getting all my ingredients cold right now for Fourth of July Peach Ice Cream!

          1. Boy, I hope everyone had a safer 4th than my daughters family. They set their mobile home on fire tonight and another burst of fire from the same firecracker or whatever it was, hit my son in laws mother and set her on fire almost at the same time. They got her put out with only some minor burns and bumps and managed to get the insulation under the boys bedroom put out also. I just hope it doesn’t smolder and is all out.
            We had ate dinner with them but left early so husband could get to work on time in the am. Boy, I am glad I wasn’t there. I can’t take that type of excitement!!

      2. Joan and bayou lady what state are ya`’ll in?? Cause I’d be glad to share fig next year!! Usually $3.00 a pound!! But I’ll make a deal for ya`’ll!! I don’t like seeing someone that grew up with fruits not having that pleasure no more!! I sure wouldn’t want to do without. I do sell pint for $8.00 at the FARMERS market her in Lake Charles, Louisiana!!
        Also bayou woman I just add lemon juice to my figs while cooking my grandparents said it makes the food stay brown!! If ya`’ll are interested please Facebook me or e-mail!! Thanks and ya`’ll have a Blessed Month!! May good lead you in your path!!

        1. Hi Trist, and what a generous offer of figs! I’m in Louisiana, of course, but Lake Charles would be quite a drive for me. I could probably find someone closer that would let me pick figs, but I was just hoping I’d beat the birds and the squirrels this year. Maybe Joan would be closer to you than I am. Thanks for the offer!

  8. I was sitting at one of my secret spots sac au lait fishing watching the illegal fireworks shows.

    Check out figs on gardenweb dot com. Thinking yankee way is to train them to do funny things. Pots or trellis stuff. One I can’t think of where it is gets buried in leaves to over winter. Dang I hate that. Brick garage, alley, etc etc. name of people and city escapes me. Been about 30 years ago. Maybe Monticello, In?

    Big pot of red tators, green beans, and smoked neck bones here today.
    About $4 invested good eats for couple 3 days.

    1. They all loved it—even the grandmothers, which really made me feel good because there’s no better judge than a veteran cook! Freeze me one piece of that cake for my B-Day and I’ll save you 2 scoops of ice cream!

  9. Yum! We don’t have figs, but I love them. The photo of the boiling figs is wonderful–I can almost taste them (OWWW!! just burned my tongue!)

  10. Wow, I was just thinking about fig preserve this morning. I was going to call my Maw-Maw to see if she has any figs on her tree. She always sends over a jar of fig preserve. I guess I need to watch her make it so that I can have the recipe.

  11. Hi, Gosh I was so glad to find your website. I got some figs and wanted to put them up like my Great Grandma did. I just hope they taste the same.. lol! Only thing she didn’t put lemon in hers. Well I don’t think she did. I am still cooking them and waiting to put them in the jars. I can’t wait to try them out tomorrow.

    1. The lemon is not necessary, Donnia. It’s whatever you’re used to that works well! I hope they turn out great for you and bring back lots of tasty and warm memories! BW

  12. I am making a version of your fig preserves. My friend was given two gallons of figs. She put them in her canner and added a quart of water! Then, she cooked them for a bit. I had to go through and get all the stems out. What a mess. So, we will see what comes of this five or six quarts on the stove with its six cups of sugar. I suppose it will be edible, especially for those who just love the taste of figs. There will probably be several jars of plain syrup for pancakes or something. I like your site. WordPress was suggested to me for a blog I am planning. Yours looks great. Thanks.

    1. Appreciate the kind words, Linda, and welcome to the bayou. Good luck with the figs! Check out my 2 other fig recipes also! Please visit often, as we give away something from the Louisiana Community Coffee Company each week. WordPress is pretty good to use! I would recommend it to you. BW

  13. Thanks for the recipe…I have a huge fig tree in the back yard – (big black figs – turkish maybe?), they are getting ready to rippen and I didn’t want them to go to waste as i have in years past – hadn’t had a whole lot of time, previously available to do anything with them. 🙂 BTW – I read that its a good idea to put in lemon (or citric acid)when canning tomatoes and figs due to their high PH level to lessen the chance of developing botulism, especially if you don’t use the canned items right away. Thanks again!

    1. The sliced lemons we add give it a great flavor, as well! Please let me know how it worked for you. Preserving your figs will really give you a great feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment as you line those beautiful jars up when you’re finished! And also, it’s good knowing you didn’t let them go to waste. Good for you, Bonnie! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write me again! BW

      1. Hey Cynthia, If you do indeed get the photo and identify the tree, please come back here and let us all know what type it is! Did you use the recipe, too? Thanks! BW

  14. Wonderful recipe. We like the dishwasher trick to keeping the jars warm. Thanks!! And heresyour chance to settle an argument: how long do these figs keep till we should stop throwing caution to the wind and throw them out? (we just found a few jars that are two to three years old.)

    1. Hey Cajuns!! Welcome down this bayou! Glad you like recipe and tips. Two to three years is not OLD in the properly canned realm. If the lids “POP” when you pry them open, and no signs of mold, odor, or odd taste, then they are good to eat. Enjoy!!!

  15. I am sure enjoying the site, and have fallen in love with the fig.. I love the whole fig processing, and will share with you what I do. I use a lemon, a lime, and an orange, as well a half cinamon stick and two cloves per jar. I simmer them all together, I slice the citrus.
    I find figs a great base to play with introducing other flavors. Kinda like pears are.. I love to put big hunks of ginger in pear preserve, but that is another story.
    Figs are wonderful, from fresh drizzled with cinamon honey to composted to canned whole or mashed, they are wonderful! But the Look of the whole ones in a jar with their citrus acoutrements.. lovely. Oh i do cut the rinds so that they are twisty and interesting.
    It was nice to find this blog, thank you for the techniques and tips!! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT.

      1. Hi Laura and welcome! According to Kerr and Ball Canning guidelines, this is the best method for fruit jellies and jams to be canned and have a shelf life of 18 months to two years if they seal properly. We have eaten fig preserves as old as four years because they were sealed tightly. Before opening any jar for use, though, make sure the lid is sealed tightly. If it doesn’t pop when you pry it off, then don’t consume. And if you see anything odd looking on the surface, take caution as well! If you decide to use a pressure cooker, the figs will continue to cook and I’d hate to see you overcook those valuable figs!

  16. I am thrilled to discover my neighbor has a fig tree and she is delighted that ‘someone’ can eat the figs! I have searched web for ‘green’ fig preserve and found only one. I have access to green figs – hard as marbels – and need to know – is it ok to pick unripe figs – small still – and preserve them. I have a wonderful recipe for a Christmas dessert requring green fig preserve.
    Love to hear soon – figs on tree now but not for long! Thanks

  17. These are the same recipes that my mama and daddy and I used years ago to make the Mock strawberry preserves and the fig preserves. I had lost the recipes. Thank you so much for having them on your website. My little fig tree is just 2 years old this year. I had a few on the three last year that I got to taste before the deer ate the rest. So this year I put a fence around my tree. I couldnt’ wait to get at my figs, but what was on the tree were not much bigger then my thumb and they stayed green and got rock hard. Could this have been because of the terribly hot weather we are having here in SC? Anyway I have some friends and family that have shared their figs with me, so I am off to make my fig yummies this weekend. Thank you again BW !!!

    1. I wish I had an answer for you about the tiny, hard figs. Maybe your “ag agent” would know??? I am so happy, once again, that I shared this recipe with yet another veteran of using it and loving it! It’s just a darn good and easy one, isn’t it? I hope you get lots of figs from friends and maybe your tree will abound next year. Good luck! BW

  18. Thanks for the great recipe. A co-worker gave me this recipe and I lost it last year so I surfed the web and found you. The pictures were great and my 14 year old had fun helping me. we have a white and brown fig tree and needed to do something with all those beutiful figs. We were getting tired of the birds and squirels having a field day in the fig tree. We also made fig bars. Oh and now I hear the popping of the Jars Any other suggestion on how to make figs would be welcomed. Thanks a bunch

    1. Go into the search bar and type “jello” and see the recipe for making mock strawberry and mock raspberry with figs. You will really have fun with that easy recipe!! And your family will LOVE it. Thanks for coming back and leaving a comment. We might want your fig bar recipe! If I make it and do a step by step, I will give you credit, okay? BW

    1. Hi JJWW. She might have thought it would kill any critters that were lurking about. I heard tell that great grandmothers soaked them in baking soda water for the same reason. Not sure without doing more research into this, though. Are you in Australia?

  19. How do you know if it is not ok to eat a fig? What is that white stuff that you see on them?.I love figs, too and just want to make sure I don’t get a hold of a bad batch. They come from my neighbor’s tree.

    1. Anna, does the white either wipe off or wash off? I guess you could call it “fig nectar” or sort of like a sap. It sort of seeps through the skin of the fig sometimes, but not always. Is it on all the figs or just a few? As far as I know, it is fine. Anyone else have experience with this? Steffi? Cammy? Let’s ask our resident experts, okay? And welcome to the bayou. Good luck with your preserves.

      1. I’m just curious, why do you place the figs in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes before putting them in a pot to cook?

          1. My understanding is that it is to “set the color”, sort of like blanching does to a vegetable. It stops the enzymes in the fruit somehow. I’m sorry I don’t know any better than that. It may be a totally unnecessary step! I’m not sure. If anybody else knows, we are open to learning. Right, Anna? Thanks for your question. How are your preserves coming along? BW

  20. Hello from GA!! LOVE Your Fig Receipe & Would Like To Use Splenda
    & Sugar How Do I Figure amount Of Each!! Thanks,Charles & Linda

    1. Hi Charles and Linda and welcome to the Bayou! I have never personally used Splenda, but several comments on a couple other of my fig preserve recipes have used Splenda and say that it lacks the properties of sugar that cause the syrup to “gel”. SO, they recommend using a pectin, like Sure-Jel to help with that. I am pasting something one of the readers posted from the Splenda Website. I hope this is helpful!

      Regular pectin requires a high ratio of sugar to fruit to produce a gel in jams and jellies. It will not work in sugarless recipes or in recipes using SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. Jams and jellies made with no or low sugar must be prepared using specific commercial pectins. Below are some major brands of pectin for use in low- and no-sugar recipes. These pectins contain the ingredient monocalcium phosphate, which triggers thickening and gel formation in low-sugar recipes. We have included phone numbers and web sites for information on where to find or buy them.
      Mrs. Wages Lite Home-Jell Fruit Pectin http://www.mrswages.com (800) 647-8170
      Pomona’s Universal Pectin http://www.pomonaspectin.com (413) 772-6816
      Sure-Jell Fruit Pectin for Lower Sugar Recipes http://www.kraftfoods.com/surejell/ (800) 323-0768

      Additionally, to maximize successful results for low- or no-sugar preserves, always use a tested recipe, for example, a recipe provided by the manufacturer of the specially prepared pectin. In addition, all recipes on Splenda.com have been tested in our SPLENDA® Kitchen. When using recipes created for SPLENDA® Sweetener Products, use the specific brand of pectin called for in the recipe. Converting a regular recipe to a low- or no-calorie recipe may not always result in success, and particular care should be taken with low-acid fruits. When low-acid fruits are used, the acid level may need to be raised by the addition of lemon juice or another natural acid to ensure preservative properties.

    2. Thanks Soo Much for your Quick reply & Links & I Will Go To Mrs Wages & CheckOut…Have A Large Supply on Just 1 Fig Tree & They all Looked Small But By Time To Pick figs They Were Huge!! Charles & Linda–Athens,Ga

      1. You are most welcome. I wish you great success with the Splenda and please come back and let us know what you did and what the results were. Thanks so much!

  21. My mother has a huge fig tree and begged me to do something with all the figs. After much internet research I settled on your recipe and boy! am I glad I did. They were so good I decided to put up more. I had to wait for the rains to pass this weekend and yesterday I practically climbed through this fig tree in 100 degree weather, spiders and all. I cannot express just how thrilled I am with this recipe. I followed the recipe to a T, and the resulting preserves are wonderful.

    1. And I can’t tell YOU how thrilled I am that you FOUND it, CHOSE it, and MADE it!!! I’m trying to figure out how to get every one of who has used this recipe to send me a jar, labeled with their name and screen name, and let me do a taste test and pick the top three winners!!!!! I have no clue what the prize would be, but something FUN! Do you think a contest like that would fly? I have no clue if you can send a small jar of preserves without it breaking! Anyway, welcome to the bayou and I officially invite you to be a regular reader and participant here in the Louisiana wetlands. Happy preserving and thanks so much for coming back and sharing your story with us. BW

      1. The jars can be sent in the mail if properly wrapped and boxed. I exchanged jams with an online friend in Ohio, I live in NC, and the jams arrived just fine. Just wrap the jar in lots of bubble wrap and nestle it in lots of newspaper and tape the box well.

  22. Oh Happy Day! Have been looking for a ‘whole’ fig preserves recipe forever and here you are! I’m a LA (lower Alabama) transplant, living up here in Yankee land and think I have finally found a fig tree that will survive the Winters. Of course I want to make the whole fig preserves like mom used too but couldn’t find the recipe anywhere. Can’t thank you enough and you had better believe you are now on my Favorite site list for other recipes as well. The picture of the figs cooking have my mouth watering so much I’m drowning. Can’t Wait to try it! You have made one Southerner sooooo happy. Oh! And a big Hello to Lake Charles. We lived there for four years and I sure do miss that good cooking and the warm people.

    1. And I whole heartedly welcome someone with as much love for all things south Louisiana as yourself, Beki. Welcome to the bayou, and we’re very glad to have you among us. Right now in season are the wild blackberries and dewberries. This spring I put up the recipe for blackberry dumplings— oh my goodness they almost beat cobbler!!!! So, I hope the fig preserve recipe works well for you. It’s been in this southern family for eons. My paternal great grandmother came originally from Alabama, and maybe that is where the recipe came from to start with!!!!! Enjoy!

    2. I feel the same. I’m also from lower Alabama living in Texas. My grandmother had a fig tree in the back yard and she always made whole fig preserves. Even though I loved them, I didn’t really appreciate them as a child – just thought of them as an everyday occurrence. Same way as her yeast rolls – but I think I’ve conquered that recipe.

      Thanks for the recipe and pictures…


      1. Just noticed your note about dewberries… thought I was the only person left who knew what they were. When I mention them to most people they don’t know what I am talking about, especially when I say they are better (sweeter) than blackberries.

        1. I found a bumper crop this year. Did you see that post? Enjoy! And welcome to the bayou. Please come back because there is always something earthy happening down here!

      2. Virginia, well you know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery, or something like that, so if this recipe helps, then I am glad to have added to the continuity of carrying on the tradition of good fig preserves! I think making preserves adds a depth to life and helps keep the memories of our loved ones alive! I hope this recipe serves you well as it did our great grand mother, on down the line! Thanks for finding me, this blog, and the recipe! Happy preserving! BW

  23. I just finished my very first batch of fig preserves using your recipe and the figs turned out great! Thank you for sharing your recipe, it taste and smells like my great grand mother use to make. Oh the memories!

    1. Hi Crystal, Your words are like music to my ears! That’s what it’s all about . . not only preserving figs but preserving a heritage, the heritage of doing what your great grandmother did so many years ago. And I’m happy that I’ve helped you do that! BW

    1. Of course it would. I use half pints all the time. I think that’s what you meant. The small jelly jars, right? I don’t like giving away the pint jars, since I never know if people will really eat a whole jar of preserves. And the smaller jars cost less. Happy preserving, Claire!

  24. Thank you for the super easy recipe! Loved doing it! Haven’t really preserved or canned anything ever but we have a large fig tree in our backyard and had so many figs I just had to try it! So simple and really good! I actually got 7 jars and 1 jar of syrup. It was really lots of fun! Thanks again! Can’t wait till next year to do it again!

    1. Wonderful, Jerri! Welcome to the bayou! And to this little blog about life in South Louisiana. Where are you from? I’m so glad you ventured forth and tried making fig preserves and that you actually enjoyed it! It’s so rewarding to see the pretty jars all lined up on the kitchen/pantry shelf, isn’t it! Please come back and spend some time with us here! BW

  25. Bayou Woman,
    Is the lemon slice necessary or can I substitute with lemon juice? I have figs that I want to preserve now and do not have fresh lemon. My husband is a fig fanantic and we have about 350 at various stages of growth. The good thing is they all don’t ripen at the same time 😉 I am gathering as many recipes as I can…..gonna need them. Have you ever used the leaves? You can dry the leaves and use for tea…..very beneficial for high BP and diabetes.

    1. Hi Cynthia, No, you do not have to use the lemon slice or lemon juice if you don’t want to. Not necessary–just adds a different taste for a little variety. There are a couple other recipes on here that I think you will find easy, delicious, and rewarding, too! Thanks so much for leaving a comment and I wish you good luck with your fig preserve making! BW

  26. Hello everyone & Bayou woman! Used your easy to use fig recipe Last Year w/ 48 Pint Fig preserves last To give To Friends & Just Finished my first 5 pints Today… Pick everyday to beat Insects To Figs!! Have Wonderful Week…charles

    1. Hey Charles and Linda! Welcome back and I’m so very glad that you liked the recipe enough to make again this year! That’s wonderful! Enjoy the picking and preserving, and I’m sure your friends enjoy and apprecite your doing that for them!!! BW

        1. Probably less ripe than most folks because I’m fighting birds and squirrels. When they sort of limp over on the stem, somewhat soft, but before they get the full color of ripe. It seems like if you don’t pick them every day they get over ripe.

  27. I just finished a batch of these tonight, and the jars are popping! I can’t wait to see what they taste like. I had leftover juice that was yummy tasting. My hubby asked if I could thicken to use as syrup, so as an experiment I added a box of pectin to it and brought to a boil, then put it in the water bath with the figs. I hope it turns out! Just two days ago I made a double batch of the Mock Strawberry Jam and it was wonderful!

    1. Hi Carrie! Fantastic! Isn’t it great to hear that sound? And every time you pass the jelly isle in the grocery store you’ll think, “Ha! I made my own!” Let us know how the syrup turns out, will you please? Thanks for using the recipes and for letting us know how you like them! BW

  28. I just tried two batches of your fig recipe. It is almost exactly the same as my grandmothers. We have a 40 year old fig tree in the back yard and have had more than we know what to do with for two years, so I decided to preserve a cabinet full this summer.

    I leave out the lemon, but the recipe is a winner. The only difference in this and my grandmothers old recipe is that she let them set for 6 hours after cooking to “plump up” again, then jarred them.

    The only thing I have to add is that the cooking time can vary. I cooked my first batch for 1 hour and 30 minutes and the second for 1 hour 45 minutes and the second batch was overcooked (still great but more shriveled than I like).

    Good luck everybody!

    1. Great comment, Jeannie! Let me ask you a question. I’ve never heard of the plumping up process. Did you let yours sit? What confuses me about doing that is that the preserves must be boiling hot when they enter the hot jars in order to get a complete seal on the lids. So, do you heat them up again before jarring them up? Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us!

      1. I didn’t let them sit before I jar them, but my grandmother would put the cooled figs in hot jars, reheat the syrup, pour the boiling syrup to fill the jars, then seal the jars and put them in the “granny bath” for 15 minutes. They always sealed flawlessly, but I think it is just an extra step. I believe they plump just as well going straight into the jars :).

        We had a couple cold fig preserves after lunch today. Great way to cool off after working in the yard!

        -Greenville, Alabama

  29. Hey I’m back! I made these preserves with the figs I had to wrestle away from the birds over a couple days. I definitely agree that picking them a little early is a good thing, especially of you’re like me and have to go for a couple days to get enough. I ended up using half pint jars and a couple teeny jars and I am addicted to the syrup. My only problem is this: I got anxious when making them. When I could stick the figs all the way through with a fork and it fell back off without me touching it, I took them out. But as I’ve been eating my preserves I have a dilemma! The figs aren’t really soft enough to smear on toast or biscuits. I have to sort of prechop them in the jar, then smear them. Did I mess up? Can I fix it without having to pick all new figs? I have tons of lids so I can break the old seal and reseal the original batches if need be. Let me know! Thanks for this marvelous recipe!

    1. Hm. Well, this is a new one on me. I’m wondering if those firms ones are the ones that weren’t quite soft enough to pick? Are you wanting to cook them again until they are softer? I’ve never done that before, but I guess you could try that. Mine always smear with the back of a spoon . . . .so I’m not sure if you didn’t cook them quite long enough or what. Good luck and let me know what you did and how it turned out! BW

  30. i made a batch yesterday. i am wondering about the 2.5 hours. it seemed my figs were soft after the parboil. after two hours of cooking they had turned dark and shrunk dramatically (so i took them out). they taste great, but are denser and sweeter and ultimately i only got three pints and an extra pint of syrup. are you sure that wasn’t supposed to be 2.5 “minutes”?

    1. I’m so sorry you had a bad result. I did everything just like described in the photos. Your figs should have looked like my photos from beginning to end. Maybe the heat was too high? And maybe your figs would have been done after an hour? I’ve never encountered this before. And no, we never cover the pot. It seems that maybe your figs did not have the high water content the figs I harvest do. Maybe you’ll have better luck next time. And if you don’t want whole figs, then try the recipe where the figs can be crushed first, more like a jam/preserve. http://bayouwoman.com/2012/06/19/just-plain-old-fashioned-fig-preserve-recipe/ Thanks so much for the feedback.

  31. No, I’m going after exactly what you’ve done, as it’s what my beloved Macon Grandma always made (and called fig honey). Alas, I don’t have her recipe. I should have followed my instinct and taken the figs off the heat earlier—and I did use a very low heat. It is curious how they contracted—since they started off soft, I thought they’d simply turn to mush. The exact opposite happened. What I have is delicious—if a bit too sweet—but one would assume the stuff was made from dry figs, not fresh. Odd bit of chemistry here. I’m at 3000′, but that shouldn’t make much difference. By the way, I’m a retired pastry chef—hardly a novice. I’ll get to the bottom of this!
    Oh, and, tonight broiled fresh Norway salmon in the fig syrup (and some soy sauce)—awesomeness!

    1. I’m so glad to know that there’s really something amiss and not that my recipe took you down the wrong path! I started to ask if the figs were dried ones. Were they fresh off the tree? Well, in your case, maybe with the lid on, moisture would have stayed and kept them plump? Like you, I’m not sure what caused this to happen. When you figure it out, please be sure to let me know. Mmmmm. The salmon sounds divine! I’ll be right over — where ever that may be!

  32. Using your recipe today!!! The LSU Gold figs have begun to ripen on my tree!!! Got enough yesterday and today to make a batch of preserves with lemon slices. Sooooo excited!

  33. This is the easiest and most organized set of steps out there. The ratio of ingredients are perfect. I tried it and it is excellent. Thanks so much!

  34. Hello Bayou Woman From Charles Near Athens,Ga…Have My Fig Preserves On Today for 4Th Yr using your Directions & Love It as i Give away to Our Friends & They Love the Figs & Started Bringing Jars Back.. Blessings,Charles & Linda

    1. Thank you so much for the blessings! They are well received inside your kind words! So glad that you are return, satisfied customers of this recipe. It’s a great sign when friends and family return their jars for refills. Blessings back to you both, Charles and Linda! BW

  35. Thank you for the recipe! My preserves (w/your recipe) won 2nd place at the NC State Fair last year. Hoping for 1st this year 🙂

  36. Howdy! Someone in my Myspace group shared this site with us so I came to give it a look.

    I’m definitely enjoying the information. I’m book-marking and will
    be tweeting this to my followers! Excellent blog and terrific style and design.

  37. I have been making jams, jellies and preserves for many years. I never do the water bath as there is so much sugar in the preserves it’s never been necessary.
    I melt paraffin and pour on top of the hot preserves and screw a lid on them.
    Should I be dead by now?

    1. Hi Diana! Your rhetorical question made me laugh out loud! Maybe we do what our mothers or grandmothers did when it comes to these things, don’t we? My mom started out using paraffin, but when a close friend used the same method on veggies and consumed botulism, Mother decided to go ahead and granny bath her preserves, too. To me, it’s easier than messing with paraffin, but it’s also what I know! Thanks for stopping by! BW

  38. I love all your recipes with lemon. I’m trying to purchase some. I’m leaning towards the whole fig preserves.

  39. I can about 35 quarts a year out of one big fig tree. I don’t understand why you use water in the recipe. I don’t use any water. I add the sugar and figs and put the fire or heat on low setting for about a half hour. It makes plenty of it’s own juice. Then I raise it to midway between simmer and medium heat and let it cook for a few hrs. Stir occasionally and let it cook until it is as thick as you like.

    1. I thought I said water is optional. It’s just in case your figs are dry, as mine were this summer. I’m not certain it makes a difference as the water may cook out anyway but it seemed to help the consistency of the syrup. Thanks so much for your expertise!!

    1. HI and welcome. No, I haven’t, but if you’re on a computer, do a “find” for the word Stevia in case someone in the comments has done so. Good luck!

  40. How long are they good for? I’m on deployment in Korea and the last unit left some that was made in July last year and we were wondering if it’s still able to be eaten.

    1. Rick, Sorry, I answered this last week but for some reason it didn’t post. If they are sealed properly, they are good for several years. So, open them up and enjoy!!!

  41. As a Southern boy whose mother said “her boys must know how to cook” I grew up watching her make jellies and preserves. Back then she sealed her jelly with paraffin wax. But the best of all were her fig preserves. Your recipe for whole fig preserves is spot on with what she did with two small exceptions. First, she used the same amount of sugar but always used at least one pound of dark brown sugar with the regular white sugar. Makes the syrup very dark and rich and oh So good. Then, after cooking and sealing in the jars she skipped the water bath. I’m 66 and make it the same way every year and have survived just fine. She did not use lemon but I have done it both ways. I don’t really like the lemon flavor in the preserves, but the lemon slices are delicious! I usually have some syrup left over and have added very thin sliced lemons to that and cooked them until they were soft, then canned them. This is a unique preserve and is excellent with chicken or pork. Thanks for the recipes!

    1. Hi Jerry, and welcome. I love your comment! And your mother sounds like a wise woman insisting her boys know how to cook! All three of my boys work on tugboats and know how to cook, and they cook very well. My mom used paraffin until a friend of hers, who also used paraffin, got botulism due to lack of a good seal on some kind of canned vegetables. After that, she switched to sealing with lids and the bath. But I’m sure the sugar content of the preserves keeps them nice and clean! I’m with you on the lemon … I don’t like the flavor of lemon in the preserves, but the candied lemons are delicious! Keep on carrying on that family tradition and thanks for sharing you memories and knowledge! BW Oh, and thanks for the 5-star rating!

  42. I’m sorry if this has been asked. Just found your site. OMG wish I’d found it earlier in my life!

    How long can I wait to preserve figs after I Pick them? Do they have to be in the fridge until they’re preserved?

    I can’t wait! I’m so excited. My grandmothers made fig preserves and I have the fig tree that was grown from on of my grandmothers two generations later!

    1. Hi Donna and welcome! It is so exciting that you have a descendant fig tree from your grandmother! And the tradition continues. I absolutely love this! To answer your questions. Yes, you must refrigerate them, and they will last a few days in the frig before the sucrose and enzymes over-ripen them. Some folks freeze them, but I find they become waterlogged upon thawing, so if you do this, use less water in the recipe. Best of luck to you in making your grandmother’s preserves, and I hope they turn out deliciously! BW

  43. My wife canned figs and has done so for the last 40 years. Last year was a wet year and the figs had a lot of water in them. When we opened a couple of jars there was a spot of mold on the top of the figs. We threw them away. Was there any chance that jar of figs was still good if we scraped off the top layer? They did not smell bad.

    1. Hi John. Are you sure the jars were clean and sterile and that the lids were completely sealed? I would not take the chance on botulism not being present in that mold. It’s your call, but I’d think the entire jar was tainted. Sorry this happened to y’all for the first time in 40 years! BW

    1. Hi Andrew and welcome to the bayou! I don’t sell fig preserves and currently don’t know anyone who does, except Rouse’s Market, which is a south La. chain of grocery stores. You might find them online! Good luck! BW

    1. Hi Dianne and welcome. Thanks for pointing out that was left out of instructions. It goes in same time was everything else! Good luck!

      1. I can’t find the recipe for fig cake. Anyone hgave a great one? It’s why I’m canning these figs today! They smell divine!

  44. What can I do. I don’t have enough liquid to cover my cooked figs when I put them in the jars.

  45. I love making whole fig preserves and I always add a lot of brandy or congac . Also a lot of lemon rind with the pith scraped off. When I would give a small jar away, the person would eat the whole thing at one time.
    I’ve ordered a totally different dried fig on line and hydrated them and made preserves.
    Of course, the neighbor’s tree has the best, especially if I pick them in the middle of the night.
    So enjoy your site.

    1. Hi Diana and thanks for the comment. Tell us more how you use dried figs to make preserves. I’ve never done that before and am curious about ratios in re-hydrating figs!!! Thanks! BW

  46. I have a question. I jarred some figs and forgot to put them in a bath. One of my cousins don’t do a bath. She turns them over and they pop. I didn’t do that either. Some of my jars popped but some didn’t. Will the figs spoil or go bad if I didn’t put them in a bath?

    1. Hi Holly and thanks for stopping by. I’d say that those lids that deal “pop” down and seal properly should be fine. Those that didn’t should be put in the frig and consumed first! Does that work for you? Good luck, BW

    2. Hi Holly and thanks for stopping by. I’d say that the ones that did “pop” down and seal will be fine, but the ones that did not should be put in the refrigerator and consumed first. Does that work for you? Good luck!

  47. We have an old fig tree and to keep the birds at bay, we hung a large plastic owl with shiny yellow eyes in the tree. It worked well. We were able to get a lot more figs this year. The owl spins in the breeze and the birds won’t come near.

    1. Hello Donald and thanks for writing. I’m sorry but I don’t sell fig preserves. I have a friend in Duson who does and I could contact her for you if you would like.