Easy Homemade Fig Jam: No Canning Equipment Required

We have an overabundance of fresh figs. I mean a serious overabundance.

Vertical top-down image of two slices of whole wheat sandwich bread, two whole figs, a jar of fruit spread with a spoon in it, a knife, a red and white lid, a jar of peanut butter, a brown cloth napkin, and a green glass jar.

A bunch of you are probably wondering how I could ever think of that as a problem, but, really, I don’t even like figs. I’m not big on the flavor, and the seeds just weird me out. Let’s not even talk about their shape and what they resemble… I’ll just eat other fruits, thanks.

A white bowl of black figs on a crumpled beige cloth, on an unfinished wood surface.

But when you have a giant fig tree in your backyard that produces infinitely throughout the summer, well, you gotta find something to do with them. So I give them away (I’m considering selling them, due to the fact that I saw them at the farmers market this weekend for four dollars a pound!), feed a few to the dog, and then give up when the tree is about to fall over with the weight of its ripe fruit and make jam.

Vertical image of two pieces of whole wheat bread, a jar of fruit preserves with a spoon in it, with a knife next to it resting on the red and white patterned lid, a jar of peanut butter, two whole figs, and a reddish brown cloth with a green glass jar on top, on a wood cutting board.

The funny thing? The jam is actually pretty good. It’s still too figgy for me, but I know some fig-loving people who adore the stuff. And when combined with a bunch of peanut butter and smashed between some bread, it’s actually kinda good. In a weird I-don’t-even-like-this-stuff kind of way.

I somehow keep finding myself sticking the spoon back in the jar for just a little more. And the best part is that the seeds aren’t so noticeable and there is no off-putting shape! So that takes care of those two problems right there.

Vertical image of two stacked pieces of whole wheat bread with a dollop of peanut butter and jelly on top, with a jar of fig jam, scattered whole fruit, a jar of spread, and a folded brown cloth napkin, on a wood cutting board.

A lot of people are scared of making jam because of the need to “can” it, putting it in special jars with special lids and boiling them until you’re sure everything that might hurt you is dead, so that you can stick it in the back of your pantry and eat your carefully prepped and preserved harvest a year later without getting sick.

Sounds fun, right?

Vertical top-down closeup of a jar of homemade jam with a spoon stuck into it, next to a red and white metal lid, a knife, and a black fig on a wooden cutting board.

The truth is, I really do like making jam – when I can afford pounds of fruit and if AJ doesn’t get to it first (the guy really likes his fruit). But, there are easier ways!

If you just make a small batch of jam, then stick it right into the fridge, you skip the need for all of that the fancy equipment and don’t end up with enough jam to last you eons. Someday you’ll end up wanting to do the whole shebang, but this here recipe is good enough to get you started.

Vertical image of two pieces of brown bread with peanut butter and jelly on top, with a jar of jam and fresh figs on a wood cutting board.

SO! If you are of the fig-loving variety, I wholly recommend you make this. I made it last year and gave it away as gifts to a few people who I knew loved figs. Each one raved about it, so I feel pretty confident about putting this recipe on here, even though figs aren’t really my kind of thing.

So get to makin’ this jam – even if you don’t really like figs – because you’re going to love what’s coming! In addition to sweet preparations, it’s also delicious in sweet and savory combinations, and it makes a tasty addition to a meat and cheese platter.

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A jar of fig jam with a fresh fruit beside it, and two pieces of whole wheat toast.

Easy Homemade Fig Jam


  • Author: Raquel Smith
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 17 minutes
  • Yield: 1.5 cups 1x

Description

An easy homemade jam recipe made with fresh summer figs. Perfect for enjoying on its own, in a PB&J sandwich, or in other recipes. No canning required – just stick it in the fridge when done!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Pull the stems off the figs, then puree them in a food processor until mostly smooth (a few chunks are okay to give it some texture).
  2. Transfer the fig paste to a medium-sized heavy-bottomed (but not cast iron) pot. Stir in the sugar, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium.
  3. Boil, stirring nearly constantly, until it becomes jam-like in consistency. At this point it’ll look kind of shiny and will fall off a spoon in bigger clumps or sheets, as opposed to small drips. If you are unsure, turn off the heat and place a bit of the jam on a cold plate (stuck in the freezer before you begin), let it sit for a minute or so, then check the consistency to see if it is jam-like. If needed, return to the heat for a few more minutes.
  4. Once it is finished cooking, remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Carefully transfer the jam to a clean jar. Screw the lid on a bit, but don’t tighten it. Let it cool for an hour or so, then transfer to the fridge (still with a semi-loose lid). After it has cooled completely you can tighten the lid – it just gets stuck if you tighten it while hot. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Do not tighten the lid and store at room temperature. The jam at this stage has not been sterilized and is meant only to be stored in the refrigerator – this is a quick jam, not a true canning recipe.

You could most likely go ahead and can this if you wish, but I have not tried it with this exact recipe, and therefore make no promises. The proportions of ingredients may need to be altered, and the batch is small.

Jam can be refrigerated for a maximum of 10 days, or frozen.

  • Category: Jam
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Canning and Preserving

Keywords: jam, fig

Craving more? Find more canned and preserved recipes here.

And if you’re a fig-lover, try these recipes:

Be sure to let us know how you’re planning to enjoy this recipe in the comments below, and give it a five-star rating if you loved it.


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A collage of photos showing homemade fig jam in the jar and being spread onto a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Photos by Raquel Smith, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 25th, 2014. Last updated: September 21, 2020 at 16:21 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

About Raquel Smith

Raquel is a whole foods enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, and a dog lover. She works by day at Food Blogger Pro and formerly maintained her food blog "My California Roots" (now merged into Foodal).

64 thoughts on “Easy Homemade Fig Jam: No Canning Equipment Required”

  1. Oh, man! I would really like to experience an over-abundance of figs. They are so expensive around here. $10 for a small box with about 20 figs that are about to go bad any minute. I do love figs but tried fig jam once and didn’t like it at all. Love your styling as usual 🙂

    Reply
      • My trick is mix a box of strawberry jello with figs amazing difference and I’ve been doing bathos for thirty years??? Every one loves this and with turkey and meats try it maria let me know I want to do u tube so much. I just got through plum jam

        Reply
    • I love fig jam and hope to make more of this wonderful recipe as the figs ripen locally, I did make half this recipe from a few figs I got from the Raleigh Farmer’s market which is fabulous, by the way!

      Reply
  2. Easy recipe! A fig tree is a blessing! We love fig jam on Pancakes, French Toast, Peanut butter sandwich, Scrambled Eggs, Biscuits, etc, etc. Even Love it with just a spoon!!

    Reply
  3. Best ever jam so easy made it three times always turns out great, this time I used the juice of our oranges so yummy 😄😄☺☺

    Reply
  4. I don’t have a fresh lemon but do have lemon juice. I have figs I need to make jam with before they go bad So my question is how much lemon juice is equal to 1/2 a small lemon. Thank you so much

    Reply
    • Sorry for the lack of detail, Charlene! About 2 tsp. lemon juice should suffice. We’ve updated the recipe card for clarity as well. Enjoy the jam!

      Reply
    • I made this fig jam and it was average to me sorry. A Lebanese lady showed me a different recipe and without any Vanilla. It was so delicious. Anyway I thank you for your recipe

      Reply
  5. I just picked a ton of figs from my friends tree, can’t believe that they hadn’t picked any and they get waisted!
    Figs are marvelous and so nutritious.
    I just finished trying your recipe and it turned out beautifully ❤️
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Some jam-makers recommend peeling figs with tougher skins, but you could certainly blend these after removing the stems.

      Reply
  6. My neighbor’s green fig tree is over flowing, and I can’t let them go to waste…do you suppose green figs would work in this recipe instead of the purple?

    Reply
  7. If it is too figgy try adding thinly sliced lemons, pulp, pith and zest, quartered. Add while cooking the figs. That’s how my mother in law used to make it and it was wonderful.

    Reply
    • C.A., it sounds like your jam was over-cooked. But you may still be able to save it! Some jam-makers recommend reheating it gently in a saucepan with about 1/4 cup water, lemon juice, your favorite type of alcohol, or a combination of these per cup of jam. As an alternative, you could try using your overly thickened finished product as a fruit filling for pastry.

      Reply
  8. This is very good and I will enjoy it. It made four small containers. I processed three and kept one for the fridge. I have to say however that I love figs and I think it would be better and more fig-tasting had I left the vanilla completely out, so will do so next time.

    Reply
  9. We also have an over abundance of figs… I’ve made this jam 2 times for my adult kids to take home, they love it! For my son who’s a bachelor, we only filled the jar half way and used the food saver to freeze the other half. Thank you for this.

    Reply
    • You could, but you will need to make some adjustments, and the finished product won’t have quite the same texture or flavor as what you would get if you used fresh figs. Decrease the quantity of figs to about 1/3 cup, and increase the water to about 1 cup. The simmering time will also need to be longer, to reconstitute the dried fruit.

      Let us know how it turns out!

      Reply
  10. If you actually like figs, I suggest eliminating the vanilla or at least cutting it down drastically. And add lemon zest. Less sugar. This is definitely a recipe for someone that doesn’t like figs. I should have paid more attention to that statement.

    Reply
  11. Well well, my tree is in it’s fourth year, loaded, and I mean loaded. Will try this recipe but will can the fruit.

    Reply
  12. I was wondering if you can use figs that aren’t ripe for the jam I have figs that fell off the tree but aren’t ripe i need to know if I can use them?

    Reply
    • Using unripe figs isn’t recommended for this recipe- they are usually soaked for a certain amount of time to remove sap before making jam. I’d recommend searching for a recipe specifically designed for use with the unripe fruit.

      Reply
  13. I made this today and was going to warn everyone to use gloves and a long-handled spoon for stirring because I got popped on and burned during the early stages of boiling. I resolved it by putting a lid on and stirring occasionally. I have a mandarinquat tree, so I juiced a couple of those instead of lemon.

    Reply
  14. I just made this recipe for the first time (the jam is cooling right now). I grew up eating homemade fig preserves, and I’ve missed them for years, which is why I planted fig trees to begin with. I was honestly dubious about this recipe as I cooked it (first time making any kind of jam), but quickly changed my mind when I tasted the final result. The jam turned out wonderfully. Quick, easy, and delicious! Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply
    • We haven’t tested it Margie, but this should work if you reconstitute them first. The flavor and texture will not be exactly the same as what you would get if you used fresh fruit, and you may need to adjust the liquid and sugar content.

      Reply
  15. Great taste and easy. I made fig jam for the first time using this recipe. I’d love to toy around with it. Add lemon zest, honey, etc.

    Reply
  16. Hi! First time I have ever made jam and I followed your recipe. Only changes I made was to add some more water, sugar and lemon juice as I used a lot of figs and I cooked it for longer to thicken it up. It tastes delicious and I am so proud 🙂 Thank you!

    Reply
  17. Hi, I was wondering why the amount of lemon juice does not change when you press the scale button. Is it correct that no matter how much you make (even with 3 lbs of figs), you just use 2 tsps of lemon juice?

    Also, other recipes say you can leave it for up to a month in the fridge. How do you know when it’s no longer good?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Jill,

      Thanks for your questions. No, this is not correct- thanks for pointing out the error! The lemon juice measurement was not formatted correctly to work with our plugin for doubling or tripling. This has been corrected.

      Our best advice regarding food safety is to rely on your senses. If you see mold growing on the top after a long period of refrigerator storage, detect off flavors, or are otherwise in doubt, throw it out. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the batch long before it spoils!

      Reply
  18. “After it has cooled completely you can tighten the lid – it just gets stuck if you tighten it while hot.”

    You should not be allowed to post recipes online if you don’t know about everyday kitchen hygiene procedures.

    What makes the lid stick is the vacuum that is forming in the jar/can/whatever. The lack of oxygen is what makes your product last longer, it will also prevent oxidation which will make your marmalade brown because even the antioxidant properties of the lemon juice have its limits.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your message, Adrian. You are correct that the vacuum seal that is created when canning hot products like homemade jam helps to make them shelf stable. But as noted in the recipe, this is a quick refrigerator jam- not a recipe designed for hot water bath or pressure canning with subsequent shelf storage.

      If you do make this recipe, we recommend cooling the jam completely before storage, and storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.

      Reply
  19. Questions: Does the long boiling process not sterilize the jam? Does the boiling jam not sterilize the inside of the jar? If you turn over the jar for five minutes and set it upright, and the lid pops, does that not seal the jar?

    Reply
    • Great questions, Heidi. To sterilize jars for canning, they need to be submerged in boiling water for 10 minutes – filling jars with boiling contents does not qualify, in large part because whatever you are canning will not come in contact with every part of the interior surface of the jars. Lids and rings need to be sterilized in boiling water as well. However, any canning recipe that calls for more than 10 minutes of processing time (in a water bath or pressure canner) does not require pre-sterilization since the jars will be sterilized during processing.

      When lids are screwed on top and the hot contents create a vacuum, this does seal them. Figs have a pH value around 4.6, right at the mark that is considered safe for canning. The acid level of natural products can vary, so testing is recommended to ensure a proper pH level. Acidity is very important for food safety of canned products, and adding lemon juice helps to acidify them. We have not tested this recipe for safe pH levels, so refrigerator or freezer storage is recommended.

      If you are an experienced canner who is able to ensure safe sterilization of the jars as well as a safe acid level of the jam, by making your own adjustments to the recipe as needed, you may be able to create a product that is suitable for shelf-stable long-term storage.

      Reply
  20. Just a shout out to thank you for the recipe and for being so kind to the “expert” who rudely called you out for incomplete instructions. I’ve been making jams and jellies for 60+ years and am a pharmacist who had compounded mixtures in various ways. The point is you clearly explained that this was a quick jam that had limited stability as compared to traditional jam recipes that must be followed without deviation to assure desired product results and shelf life. It is pseudo experts like the commenter who make inexperienced cooks afraid to try new things. Of course one must apply due diligence to this and other recipes that are new to the cook. So… thanks again and I wished I lived near to some of these lucky folks who have an overabundance of figs!

    Reply
    • Please see the other comments on this article Chelsea. We haven’t tested this product for safety using water bath or pressure canning methods, and you’ll have to keep the pH level of the figs in mind. Rather than creating a shelf-stable product, we prefer to store ours in the refrigerator or freezer. But an experienced canner could likely produce a delicious pressure canned product using this recipe, with just a bit of tinkering to ensure food safety!

      Reply

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