Simple and Delicious Fig Jam Recipe

Recipe Pin
50 minutes
48 servings

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Get your flavor jam on with this Simple and Delicious Fig Jam Recipe! Ready in under an hour, it’s a quick mix of figs, sugar, citrus peel, and lemon juice, and perfect for perking up your everyday dishes. It keeps for three months in the fridge!

A jar of fresh fig preserves.

Let’s delve into jellies, preserves, condiments, and sauces for just a moment and talk small batch fig jam. You need this in your life if, for no reason, but to enjoy summer’s ephemeral fruit, the fig. This modified version, inspired by a Food and Wine Magazine recipe, is amped with the addition of citrus peel, be it zesty pink grapefruit or sweet clementines. I also offer a list of add-ins for unique customization. This recipe yields about 3 to 3 1/2 cups, a manageable batch for enjoying on your own, adding to a cheese board, or jarred and thoughtfully gifted to a friend.

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Fig Jam or fig jelly, as it’s also referred to, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three months. It’s a versatile addition to your culinary repertoire, perfect for tricking out charcuterie boards, assembling EPIC grilled cheese sandwiches, or replacing raspberry preserves for a Monte Cristo. And when drizzled over ice cream with a shard of benne brittle, this jam transforms into a dessert showstopper.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe!

·         Unprocessed and FRESH – there is no guilt here, nothing processed, just incredible. The flavor reflects that. Swap fig preserves for the stuff on your kid’s peanut butter and jelly sandwich and feel good about it.
·         Compliments Every Meal of the Day – Enjoy on toast at breakfast, spread as a base on a bleu cheese flatbread at lunch, and add to pork tenderloin in the final minutes of roasting for a sweet/savory nuance at dinner.
·         Easily Flavored – Fig preserves are significant because so few ingredients are required, but this method benefits from thoughtful add-ins if you are inclined. I like fresh thyme and rosemary, vanilla extract, stick cinnamon, cardamom, or lemon zest for color.
·         No Pectin Required – As a matter of fact, no boiling water or hot water bath is required either. This is a no-can, small-batch, easy fig jam recipe.


Ingredients Needed to Make Fig Jam

When a recipe calls for just a few ingredients, using the highest quality you can afford is crucial. If you are lucky enough to have your own or know somebody with a fig tree, great! Otherwise, choose ripe, slightly soft figs with vibrant color and no signs of bruising when purchasing. They should emit a sweet fragrance and maintain their shape when cut.

An image displaying all ingredients required to make a small batch of homemade fig jam using fresh figs.
  • Fresh Figs – The key ingredient is natural sweetness and rich foundation. Use fresh and seasonal, including black mission figs and brown turkey figs.
  • Citrus Peel – Introduces an unmatched brightness to an otherwise sweet condiment; I like Meyer lemon, orange, tangerine, clementine, pink grapefruit, and kumquat. Use a vegetable peeler to peel 2 to 3-inch strips, being cautious not to include the white pith.
  • Lemon Juice – A necessary acid that helps balance the sweetness and aids the jam’s setting.
  • Sugar – Increases the sweetness of the figs and helps preserve them.
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See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.

Variations and Add Ins

Per Food and Wine Magazine, I dabbled with the addition of a White Port (1/4 cup) and rosemary (leaves of 1 stem, chopped) combination and found myself speechless. That combination worked well with tangerine peel. You do you. Keep the jam au naturale or jazz it up to the point of swoon!

  • White port (1/4 cup)
  • fresh thyme (the leaves of 3-ish stems)
  • fresh rosemary
  • vanilla extract or vanilla bean, split
  • cinnamon stick
  • cardamom
  • lemon zest for color (no more than 2 teaspoons) AFTER the jam is cooled
A jar of fresh fig preserves.

When Is the Jam Done Simmering?

There’s this thing homesteaders and avid canners use to test when their jams and jellies are finished simmering. It’s called the ‘saucer test.’ 

Place a saucer in the freezer to chill. Once it’s cold, spread a bit of jam on it. Run your finger through the tiny pool of jam; if the track your finger makes remains intact, and the jam on either side of your finger track does not immediately fill the void, your jam is ready.

How to Make Homemade Fig Jam

Images that show the process of mixing ingredients to make fig jam with citrus.

Step 1. Wash, stem, and halve your figs. To wash figs, gently rinse them under cool water and pat them dry with a soft towel. All in all, your prep time is about 10 minutes. Add the figs to a large, nonreactive saucepan.

Step 2. Add 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and two 3- to 4-inch-long strips of any variety of citrus peel you wish to use (use only 1 peel if using pink grapefruit). My photos illustrate orange and lemon peels. Also add any additional ingredients to customize your jam with the exception of fresh herbs which are added after the jam has cooked. Bring the lot to a boil.

Step 3. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer the jam, stirring the contents of the pot occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the fruit is jammy and very soft, about 40 to 45 minutes. 

Step 4. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove and discard the citrus peels and any additional ingredients such as a cinnamon stick or vanilla bean. Allow the jam to cool slightly before spooning it into jars with tight-fitting lids. Leave 1/2-inch room at the top of each jar before securing those lids. Let cool to room temperature before placing into the fridge for up to 3 months.

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Tip: Chunky or Smooth

For a chunkier jam, lightly crush large fig pieces with a fork or potato masher during the simmer; for a smoother consistency, blend in a food processor or use an immersion blender after the simmer.


Fig jam with citrus in a jar with a spoon.

Complementary Recipes and Pairings

  • Layer it on both slices of bread for a gourmet grilled cheese, or swap out your usual jelly for a more decadent spread on morning toast. It works wonders in desserts, topping mini cheesecakes or spooning it over ice cream. If you’re feeling creative, use an immersion blender to whip up a distinctive sauce that’s fantastic spooned over pork tenderloin. 
  • Wine Pairings: Enjoy with a Riesling, whose sweet floral notes complement the richness of the fig jam, or a Sauvignon Blanc to accentuate the citrus elements with its crispness.
  • Beer Pairings: A Belgian Witbier highlights the citrus flavors, while a light Pilsner complements without overwhelming the subtle flavors of the figs.

Tips for Best Results

  • Use a Wide Pan – Use a wide, shallow pan. The increased surface area versus a deep pan allows the jam to cook down faster and helps to achieve the perfect consistency without overcooking the fruit.
  • Add a Splash of Vanilla – A teaspoon of vanilla extract or a vanilla bean pod during cooking makes this amazing. This adds a subtle depth of flavor that complements the sweetness of the figs and citrus. In terms of citrus where vanilla is concerned, go tangelo, clementine, or orange.
  • Mind the Foam – Foam forms on the surface as your jam cooks. Skimming it off as you stir can help clarify your jam, making it look more appealing and reducing sugary waste that solidifies on the wall of the pan.
  • Test the Temperature – Use a candy thermometer to check the jam’s temperature—it should reach 220°F (104°C), which is the point at which the mixture will set properly once cooled.
  • Stir in Fresh Herbs – Stir in a tablespoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary or thyme after cooking your jam. This adds a uniqueness that pairs wonderfully with the figs’ sweetness and the citrus’s brightness, especially if you plan to use the jam on roasted or grilled meats or cheeseboards.

FAQs When Making Fresh Fig Jam

Do figs need to be peeled for jam-making?

No, the entire fruit, minus its stem, is used in the jam process.

What type of figs are best for making fig jam?

Any fresh figs can be used to make jam, but the most popular are Black Mission, Kadota, and Brown Turkey figs due to their sweet flavors and soft textures, which break down quickly when cooked.

Can I reduce the sugar in my fig jam?

Yes, you can reduce the sugar in your fig jam, but remember that sugar not only sweetens the jam but also helps it set and preserve it. Additionally, reducing sugar may shorten the shelf life of the jam.

Additional Fig Recipes to Browse!

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After trying this recipe, I would love to hear your thoughts! Consider leaving a star rating in the recipe card located below or sharing your feedback in the comment section. Your reviews and comments are highly valued and appreciated.

Simple and Delicious Fig Jam Recipe

Jenny DeRemer
Prepare this Simple and Delicious Fig Jam Recipe in less than an hour with just a quick mix of fresh figs, sugar, citrus peel, and lemon juice!
No ratings yet
Servings: 48 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Jam, Jelly
Cuisine American, Southern
Servings 48 servings
Calories 41 kcal

Ingredients
 

  • 2 pounds ripe figs green and/or purple; washed, stemmed, and halved
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice fresh
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 3-to-4-inch-long citrus peels use a vegetable peeler but avoid the white pith; tangerine, clementine, orange, Meyer lemon, pink grapefruit, kumquat

optional add-ins for flavoring

  • 1 tablespoon rosemary minced fresh; optional
  • 1 tablespoon thyme minced fresh; optional
  • 1 cinnamon stick optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract optional
  • 1 bean vanilla split; optional
  • 1/4 cup white port optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom optional

Instructions
 

  • Add 2 pounds halved, ripe figs to a large, nonreactive saucepan. To the figs, add 1 1/2 cups sugar, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, and 2 3- to 4-inch-long citrus peels from the variety of citrus you wish to use. If using pink grapefruit, use only 1 strip of peel. If using an additional ingredient to customize your jam, add it now with the exception of fresh herbs which are added once the jam is finished cooking.
    2 pounds ripe figs, 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1/2 cup water, 2 3-to-4-inch-long citrus peels
  • Bring everything to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar and avoid the fruit scorching. Reduce heat to medium low. Simmer the jam, stirring the contents of the pot occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the fruit is jammy and very soft, about 40 to 45 minutes. 
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove the citrus peels and any add-ins immediately. Allow the jam to cool slightly before spooning it into jars with tight-fitting lids. Leave 1/2-inch room at the top of each jar before securing those lids. Let jars cool to room temperature before placing into the fridge for up to 3 months.

Notes

The Jam is Finished Cooking When – Once a saucer placed in the freezer is sufficiently chilled, spread a bit of jam on it. Run your finger through the pool of jam. You will know the jam is ready if the track your finger makes remains void. If the jam on either side fills the void, simmer a few minutes longer.

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 41kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.03gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.01gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 49mgFiber: 1gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 36IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 9mgIron: 0.1mg
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