Four Ingredient Single Batch Fig Preserves

Recipe Pin
1 hour 35 minutes
24 servings, 1 tablespoon per serving

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Fresh summer figs become stew with sugar, vanilla, and lemons to become Four Ingredient Single Batch Fig Preserves, enjoyable alone or used as a key ingredient in seasonal baking!

a market bag, with fresh figs

All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

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Four Ingredient Single Batch Fig Preserves

What Can I Do with Lots of Fresh Figs?

This four-ingredient recipe of fresh fig preserves is an excellent way to use them before they fall to waste! For those fortunate enough to host a fig tree in their yard, you know the struggle of the harvest. Figs come in FAST once they begin to ripen. What is not plucked from the tree falls to the ground and rots. With my method for this accessible four-ingredient preserve, your bounty will last well into the fall and winter months to be enjoyed again and again!

a wooden cooling rack with jars of fig jam

Use these delicious fresh fig preserves atop your favorite toasted bread or be inspired to create delicious wholesome bakes during the fall and winter months!

Fresh summer figs become one single perfect batch of fig preserves in this four-ingredient method. Not a fan of figs? My quick method for preserving fresh figs can be applied to any in-season berry you like!

How This Recipe Came About…

Fruit is fragile, some varieties more than others. Figs happen to be among my favorites if you could not deduce that by looking at the number of fig recipes on Not Entirely Average! But figs have a short fresh life to them and after only a few days, begin to fade.

When your friend tells you that she has decided to share her fig bounty with you, you stop everything and begin to plan how to use them. That’s the spot I was in over the summer. What I learned was that to prolong the fig, I first needed to preserve it!

This sweet preserve pairs beautifully with Whipped Horseradish Cream when assembling crostini appetizers. It is one of many logical counterbalances to robust horseradish!

Do You Have What’s Needed to Make Fresh Fig Preserves? Check The List!

  • fresh figs
  • granulated sugar
  • lemon juice and lemon zest (do not use bottled lemon juice)
  • vanilla extract
a wooden cooling rack with jars of fig jam

What Do You Do with Fig Preserves?

I like to bake with fig preserves, but there are PLENTY of other uses for them that are utterly delicious.

  • Chop some hot bacon into a few spoonsful of fig preserves for a bacon fig jam that is KILLER on a burger.
  • Use them to replace the jam in holiday thumbprint cookies.
  • Serve on a Charcuterie board alongside hard and soft cheeses for the combination of a lifetime – Brie and Camembert go particularly well with fig preserves.
  • Smear a tablespoon or three atop buttered toast and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for a breakfast or teatime treat.
  • Heat fig preserves until they are runny and serve alongside hot appetizers like these as a fabulous dipping sauce making things altogether sweet and savory.
  • Chinese dumplings are luxe with warmed fig preserves spooned atop while steaming hot.
  • A block of Feta cheese sprinkled with fresh orange zest and spoonsful of preserved figs make a beautifully rustic appetizer with chargrilled bread.
  • Use in my method for Fig Bars With Oatmeal And Walnuts.
featured image for fig and oatmeal cookie bars

Do I Have to Can the Preserves?

No! Not at all. In fact, the recipe for the preserves makes just batch which will keep in a lidded jar in your refrigerator for up to ten days. During this time, be creative and enjoy!

If you prefer to can the batch, add canning jars and lids to a boiling water bath in a large pot for 10 minutes before removing from the bath carefully with kitchen tongs to a towel. When the jars are able to be safely handled, dry the jars inside and out. Keep the water hot by maintaining your pot over medium heat while you fill the jars.

Ladle the fig preserves into jars, secure the lids, and place the jars back into a hot water bath to where the water just comes up a bit more than halfway. Boil the filled and lidded jars for 20 minutes to sterilize and seal the jars.

Allow the jars to rest on the counter on towels. You will know the jars are sealed when you begin (after about 1 to 2 hours) to hear the metal lids “clink and pop.”

How To Make Fig Preserves?

Grab a non-stick saucepan, about 10-inches in diameter and several inches deep, a rubber spatula or a wire whisk for stirring, and let me show you how to make fresh fig preserves. Use a sharp paring knife and carefully remove the woody stem from the top of the fig. The bottoms do not usually require any pairing.

Halve each fig then quarter it and toss it in the post along with all of the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat until preserves have reduced by half. You’ll need to stick close and stir frequently to avoid scorching the jam or your pan.

Let cool completely and transfer to a clean, dry glass jar with a lid. Refrigerate until ready to use. The preserves will go a week or a little longer in the fridge.

a wooden cooling rack with jars of fig jam

What Can I Substitute for The Figs in This Recipe?

If you do not have access to fresh figs but want a fresh preserve, use this method for a fruit preserve using any fresh berry that is in season. I have also used apples that I have cubed very small and cooked gently for just a bit longer.

If mixing fruits is your jam, try fresh raspberries to this fig preserves recipe. Chopped fresh cherries are also very good simmered down with the figs. Not too sweet, not too tart. And believe it or not, a teaspoon of pumpkin spice is reminiscent of a figgy pudding flavor profile.

How Long Does Preserving Figs Take?

Plan on about one hour. This of course all depends on the heat you cook the fruit over, and the size of the sauce pan you simmer them in. Over medium heat in a 10-inch non-stick saucepan, the figs are reduced by half and sufficiently broken down in about 40 minutes time.

a wooden cooling rack with jars of fig jam

How Long Will Fig Preserves Last in The Refrigerator?

In a sealed container, fig preserves will last for seven to ten days. Remember, no pectin is being added, so this method is different from jam or jelly.

If you are formally canning your jars of fig jam, the shelf life is generally eight months to one year stored in a cool, dark pantry.

Can I Freeze Fig Preserves?

Absolutely! Grab a lidded freezer safe container and load it up. Freeze for anywhere from three to four months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight.

If You Like This Recipe…

…you might also like:

featured image for fig preserves

Four Ingredient Single Batch Fig Preserves

Jenny DeRemer
Fresh summer figs become one single perfect batch of fig preserves in this four ingredient method to enjoy during the fall and winter months.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 24 servings, 1 tablespoon per serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings, 1 tablespoon per serving
Calories 62 kcal


  • non-stick sauce pan
  • clean lidded jar for storing


  • 10 to 12 large figs fresh, not dried
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large lemon, juice and zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Wash and dry the figs. Use a sharp pairing knife to halve, then quarter each fig.
  • Add the figs and the remaining ingredients to a non-stick sauce pan and bring to medium heat.
  • Cook, stirring constantly to avoid the jam burning, until preserves have reduced in half.
  • Let the jam cool completely in the non-stick sauce pan before transferring to a lidded jar to be refrigerated. Jam will keep for up to 10 days.


Yields roughly 1 1/2 cups, one tablespoon per serving.

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.


Serving: 1tablespoonCalories: 62kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.1gSaturated Fat: 0.02gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.04gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.02gSodium: 0.5mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 39IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 11mgIron: 0.1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

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Recipe Rating


  1. I cooked the fig preserves 30 minutes and got , fig hard candy 🙂 I didn’t do something right.5 stars

    1. Jennifer, what temperature setting did you use when cooking if I may ask? Also, was every single fig you used both fresh and really ripe?

      It sounds as though two things may have been at play here; the ratio of sugar to fresh figs, and/or the temperature at which the fig mixture was simmered.

      1. Ratio of Sugar:Figs. By nature, figs have enough water to provide for their own “stewing.” If, however, the figs or even some of the figs were underripe, they may not have had enough water to begin the cooking process without first “weeping the figs.” What is “weeping the figs?” Some methods call for figs to be placed into a pot and granulated sugar to be poured over top. The lid is placed on, and the mixture allowed to sit or “weep” overnight, no heat, so that their water (juice) is drawn from the figs for them to then be cooked down and stewed in. If your figs, without weeping them because I do not specify that in my instructions, did not provide enough of their own liquid, your sugar turned to hard candy before your figs even had a chance to get started.

      2. Ratio of Temperature:Time. This is a very tricky ratio sometimes to where even the most experienced canners can cook too high or not cook long enough. I begin the heat on medium which is right in the middle of the dial on my stove. Just hot enough and just long enough (1 to 2 minutes-ish) to allow the sugar to dissolve in the liquid assuming my figs have enough liquid. Then, I turn it to low, and when I say low, I absolutely mean the LOWEST setting on your stove. Watch the mixture for a couple of minutes. If it’s bubbling gently, leave it at that temperature setting at cook the 30 minutes according to the recipe card. If, however, it is NOT bubbling, turn it up 1 tick. Repeat if it’s not bubbling when checked a couple of minutes later. This is the trick to finding that correct ratio of temperature to time or the amount of time it will take to cook at the correct temperature to arrive at the results you are looking for.

      I will reach out to you via email also so we can walk through it in the event you have additional fogs to process. I want your batches to go smoothly!! x – Jenny