How to Make Fig Preserves

Whole fruit canning just got a little sweeter.

Sweet preserved figs balance perfectly with goat cheese and prosciutto

Sweet preserved figs balance perfectly with goat cheese and prosciutto

Sweet preserved figs balance perfectly with goat cheese and prosciutto.

Sweet preserved figs balance perfectly with goat cheese and prosciutto.

Sweet and soft, fresh figs are a treat I missed out on as a kid. Growing up in the Midwest where cold winters make fig trees a less common sight, I was familiar with figs dried and in Newton form, but it wasn’t until I relocated to North Carolina that I discovered this often overlooked summer treat in its natural state. If you’ve never encountered one, figs are about the size of a large strawberry (depending on the type) with firm skin, soft flesh and a honey-sweet flavor somewhere between a peach and a pear. Figs can be eaten raw, cooked, or preserved in a variety of ways.

While the season for figs is fairly long, their shelf life is not. Figs do not continue to ripen once picked and will only last a few days before they begin to soften and break down. In my own yard, waiting out ripe figs and harvesting them before the birds get to them is a challenge that borders on an art form. Fresh figs are among my favorite seasonal snacks, but the bulk will be preserved to be appreciated all year long. Not such a bad thing. Fresh figs may be fleeting, but a well-preserved fig is a joy in its own right.

Figs can be dried, frozen or even pickled. Here in the South though, canning figs whole in simple syrup is a tradition it’s easy to embrace.  Fresh figs and lemon slices enjoy a slow simmer in bubbling sugar before being packed into canning jars and tucked away in the pantry until company comes calling (if they’re lucky). Sweet and syrupy, preserved figs can be eaten whole or mashed for use in baked goods or sliced for use as an ice cream or oatmeal topper. They are so tender, they can even be spread with a knife onto biscuits, toast or crackers. When teamed up with tangy goat cheese or brie and salty prosciutto and served on crostini, this old timey classic has a decidedly modern spin so delicious you may not wait for company to arrive before raiding the pantry.

If you are lucky enough to have access to fresh figs this summer, give this simple recipe for preserving them at home a try. Hurry though. The birds are circling.

Preserved Figs in Syrup

  • 6 cups fresh figs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks

Wash figs and trim stems.

Cut lemon into very thin slices and remove seeds.

Combine water, sugar and cinnamon in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and add figs and lemon slices.

Cover and cook 45 minutes.

Transfer figs, lemon slices and syrup into sterilized canning jars, leaving 1/4" head space.

Cap with lids and bands and process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Keep Reading

Next Up

How to Sow and Plant Fruiting Vegetables

Large leaves, golden flowers and heavy yields make squashes, zucchini and cucumbers ideal plants for productive pots.

Twig Newton: How to Grow a Fig Tree

This resilient fruit tree thrives in colder regions and provides a yummy snack.

How to Make a Cat Condo

Use everyday items to build a fancy cat post with baskets.

Freezing Produce 101: How to Preserve Your Summer Bounty

Don't let your garden harvest go to waste; learn how to prevent spoilage and maintain freshness by freezing your fruits and veggies.

How to Make a Trellis Planter

Take your plants vertical with a trellis planter. Use this planter as a focal point or as a privacy screen.

How to Make Wedding Confetti Cones

Adorn wedding reception chairs with these sweet confetti cones so guests can celebrate the bride and groom as they leave for their honeymoon.

How to Make a Homemade Propagator

Learn how easy it is to make a homemade propagator where you can watch your seeds begin to grow.

How to Make Rolled Paper Roses

Paper flowers fashioned from old book pages, newspaper or brown Kraft paper are a frugal alternative to store-bought ribbons and bows.

How to Make a Tea Bag

Make morning tea extra special with a handmade tea bag filled with a delicious herbal blend and a special love note

How to Make Rose Oil and Rose Water

Everything is coming up roses when you know how to capture this intoxicating aroma.


House Hunters

12pm | 11c

House Hunters

12:30pm | 11:30c

House Hunters

1pm | 12c

House Hunters

1:30pm | 12:30c

House Hunters

2:30pm | 1:30c

House Hunters

3:30pm | 2:30c

House Hunters

4:30pm | 3:30c

House Hunters

5:30pm | 4:30c

House Hunters

6:30pm | 5:30c

House Hunters

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

Log Cabin Living

11:30pm | 10:30c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

Log Cabin Living

2:30am | 1:30c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.