How to Make Old Fashioned Strawberry Fig Preserves [Easy Recipe]

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Today, my mom and I have teamed up to tell you how to make the best old-fashioned strawberry fig preserves easy recipe. It’s a tradition we at First Day of Home hope you’ll enjoy sharing with your friends and family all summer long!

Easy fig preserves recipe

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Notes About Fig Preserves Recipe

One of my favorite childhood memories is picking fresh fruit in the summer. Sometimes I’d eat the fruit “paleo” style, but true summer bliss came when Mom made fresh strawberry fig jam.

The photo below comes straight from the tree in my mother’s backyard. There’s nothing like pulling these fresh figs straight from the tree and turning them into gooey jam.

Large fig on the tree ready to pick for homemade fig preserves
Large fig on the tree at “Grandma’s House”

Here are the most important tips to making old fashioned fig jam that lasts:

  • Always sterilize your mason jars before canning.
  • After canning, make sure the lids of the mason jars are indented, not raised. This means you have a full seal and can store the jam without having to refrigerate (until opened).
  • Don’t skip the lemon juice! It’s needed to help the preserves “set” and also to prevent bacteria from forming.

How long do fresh fig preserves last?

I always like to write the date on my fig preserves so I won’t forget when to toss them out. Here are some good guidelines on how long to keep your preserves:

  • Homemade jam will last 6 months to 1.5 years if sealed properly.
  • After opening the jar, the preserves will keep 6 months to 1 year.

Ingredients for Fig Preserves Recipe

Four simple ingredients for old fashioned fig preserves
Four simple ingredients for fig preserves

This recipe for fig preserves uses only four simple ingredients and four (8-ounce) mason jars per batch.

  • 3 cups of fresh figs (about 40 figs, washed with stems removed)
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 boxes of strawberry gelatin (3 ounces per box, Jell-o or another brand)
  • 2 tbsp of lemon juice*

*This is an update from 1 tbsp recommended before.

Washed figs with stems removed to make fig preserves recipe
Washed figs with stems removed

For best results, my mom recommends making only one batch at a time. And I highly recommend taking my mom’s advice when it comes to cooking!

Bonus Free Printable Labels!

As a bonus, I’m now offering free printable labels to decorate your homemade fig preserves. These fit a standard 8-ounce mason jar.

See the end of the post for details…

Old Fashioned Fig Preserves Easy Recipe - Printable Mason Jar Labels for Canning

Steps for Cooking Figs and Canning

1. Prepare jars for canning

Before cooking your small-batch fig preserves, you’ll need to heat the glass mason jars in the oven at 300 degrees to sterilize them. Then, place the lids in a pot with shallow water, and warm them on the stove at medium heat.

Fresh fig preserves recipe preparation with the boiling of mason jar lids
Heating lids of mason jars on stove

Once you have heated the lids for about 10 minutes, remove them from the hot water and place them on a clean towel.

2. While the jars and lids are heating, prepare the figs

You can read the full USDA guidelines here.

Once the figs are drained, you can remove the stems and cut off any bruised pieces. Then begin mashing the figs.

When mashing your figs, leave a few small- or medium-sized pieces if you desire a thicker texture. Nothing is better than a PB&J with some chunks of fig preserves in the mix!

Mashed fresh figs for making old fashioned fig preserves
Mashed figs for fig preserves

3. Add all ingredients to mashed figs

My kids love spending time at grandma’s house, partly because there’s always something good cooking in the kitchen. My little helper added the strawberry Jell-o and other ingredients into our fig preserves mixture for us.

Adding lemon, sugar and gelatin to mashed figs to make easy fig preserves recipe
Adding lemon, sugar and gelatin to mashed figs

4. Place preserves on the stove and bring to a boil

At low heat, cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens.

Cooked strawberry fig preserves
Cooked fig preserves

5. Pour preserves into mason jars

Remove the heated mason jars from the oven, and use canning tongs or an oven mitt to handle the warmed jars.

When canning fig preserves, use a kitchen funnel. The shape fits perfectly into the hot sterilized jars and leads to minimum spillage.

You’ll want to wipe the rims if the preserves do spill over the edge. I usually can’t resist the urge to steal some finger-licking goodness in the process.

Canning fresh strawberry fig preserves by pouring into mason jars with funnel
Pouring fig preserves into mason jars

6. Seal the mason jars

After filling the jars and replacing the lids (finger-tight only), flip the jars over to set for about 5 minutes. Once the jars are set, flip them right-side-up again. You’ll know the jars are sealed when the tops of the jars have an indented lid.

Final step in how to make fig preserves (mason jars turned upside down)

Luckily, the strawberry fig preserves do not need refrigeration as long as the lids are sealed properly. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1-2 years, and always refrigerate after opening. Your preserves will last 6-12 months in the refrigerator after opening.

If your lids did NOT seal properly, have no fear! Just refrigerate the preserves immediately.

Free Mason Jar Labels

I’m now offering free printable labels for your 8-ounce mason jars!

E-mail subscribers: You can find these printables in the VIP Members-Only Library using the password in your most recent e-mail.

If you are not currently a subscriber but would like to receive the printable labels and all other freebies, you can sign up below:

Note: You can print and cut these labels on cardstock OR order these Avery round labels or oval labels to print and peel.

Enjoying your homemade fig preserves recipe

Now that you know how to make fig preserves with fresh figs, you’ll have loads of jars to give away to friends and neighbors.

Try dressing up your mason jars with some simple fabric and ribbon, and print off my free recipe card template to share the love!

Pin it for later!

Fig preserves made the old fashioned way and canned properly
Fresh fig preserves recipe

How to Make Fig Preserves

Yield: 64
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Resting time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

A quick 30-minute recipe for delicious preserves using fresh figs and strawberry-flavored gelatin.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups figs, (washed, about 40 figs)
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 boxes Strawberry-flavored gelatin, (3 ounces per box)
  • 2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 4 jars (8 oz glass mason jars)

Instructions

  1. Place glass mason jars (without lids) in an oven-safe cake pan to heat at 300 degrees.
  2. Heat mason jar lids in a pan on the stove at low heat (not boiling).
  3. Place the figs (with stems and peels) in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then drain, remove stems and any bruised ends of the figs. Gently mash figs and transfer to soup pot. There is no need to remove skins.
  4. Add lemon juice, sugar, and gelatin mix to mashed figs.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil on the stove, and boil gently 15 - 18 minutes until thickened. Remove the preserves, mason jars, and lids from heat. Gently dry lids.
  6. Pour preserves mixture into hot jars and wipe any excess around the rim of jar before sealing with lids (finger tight only).
  7. Turn jars over to rest for 5 minutes. Then, flip the jars right side up again. The mason jars are sealed when the center of the lid is indented.

Notes

*Don't skip the lemon juice. It acidifies the figs, making them safe for canning.

If doubling the recipe, make separate batches rather than doubling the ingredients.

Refrigerate upon opening.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 64 Serving Size: 1 Tbsp
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 33Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

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42 Comments

  1. I used your recipe today and the preserves turned out super! It was really easy and all of my lids sealed. I was a bit nervous about that. Thank you so much for the recipe!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Anita! That’s wonderful to hear. We have been making it for many years, so it’s always fun to know that others are enjoying it too! Take care, Crissy

  2. Hello,
    Question. On the 6 oz boxes of Jello, it states it will not set when using figs. Are the 3 oz boxes different? I thought maybe there was more “room” to print stuff on the 6 oz boxes of Jello. Curiosity always gets me in trouble, so I thought I would ask. Before diving in.
    The first batch i used exactly as you directed and it turned out so awesome. Best canning recipe I have ever tried.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi, Ann-Marie! How interesting that it says that. I can’t imagine that the 6-ounce strawberry gelatin would be different than the 3-ounce boxes. I’d say go for it. Just make sure you don’t skip the lemon juice in the recipe since that helps the preserves to set. I’m so glad you liked your first batch! What a nice compliment. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks, Crissy

  3. Crissy, here’s the link where this recipe is featured on My Hubbard Home.
    Thanks again for allowing me to feature your family’s old fashioned recipe!

    take care,
    RR

    1. Hi Margaret! It’s 2 boxes, 3 ounces per box. I have it in the recipe card at the bottom, but I’ll add it to the article as well. Enjoy! -Crissy

  4. Glad to have you aboard for the post. No, you don’t need to do anything. I will add your picture and link back to this post.
    I will be posted on Aug. 7th.
    Thanks again:)

  5. Chrissy, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve seen on canning jam. The strawberry jello is unique and must make the jam taste divine!

    I’d love to feature it in an August Friday With Friends post on summer foods!
    Let me know if you want to.

    Thanks,
    Rachelle

    1. Hi Rachelle! Thanks so much for the kind words. I would love to be featured, especially since fig season is picking up now! Do I need to link up or sign up somewhere? Thanks for your support! Hugs, Crissy

  6. Hi
    I moved from London UK to SW France and we have inherited loads of wonderful fruit and nut trees!!! Sadly I don’t like figs but love making jams and chutneys. Your recipient caught my eye as something I would like to make. But my question is regarding ‘jello’ !!!
    I have jelly crystals in a sachet but they are reduced sugar. You mix them with water and put in the fridge to have as a dessert. I am guessing this is the same? Do you think if I weighed the crystals they would work – and as reduced sugar?
    Thank you for your time
    Best Wishes
    Claire

    1. Hi Claire. Thanks for the great question. I’ve done some research, and it sounds like jelly crystals are very similar to what we call “Jello” in the U.S. Since the recipe calls for adding sugar, I don’t think you’ll have any trouble with the reduced sugar aspect of your crystals. Based on what I’ve seen online, the “crystals” appear to be in powder form, which is similar to Jello. Are your crystals strawberry-flavored or flavorless? Either may work, depending on your flavor preference. I’ll be curious to know how things turn out. Please do keep me posted! Cheers, Crissy

      1. Thank you so much Crissy for your prompt reply. I have raspberry, lemon & lime and orange.
        I think I will try with the raspberry, when I have enough ripe figs for a batch.
        I like the idea of baked Brie with fig jam, and so I think raspberry would be good for this!
        I will of course let you know how I get on, with pics via my Instagram account.
        Merci Beaucoup !
        Claire

        1. You’re welcome! I do think raspberry would work best among those options. I can’t wait to find out how the preserves come out. Thanks for following on Instagram, too! I’m happy to have another friend there.

          It looks like you are living a dream come true in France! I look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes, Crissy

          1. Hi Crissy
            I thought I would leave a reply here for those folks who don’t have Instagram!
            The jam worked beautifully using a UK product – Hartleys sugar free jelly sachets (crystals) in raspberry flavour.
            No water !
            It sets more when cold and the jelly provided a lovely pink colour.
            Thank you for a lovely quick and easy recipie.
            Best wishes
            Claire

          2. Hi Claire! You are so kind to share your experience here. I’m glad the jelly sachets worked! Now other people can benefit from your knowledge. You’re so kind to stop by and let me know how it went. It truly makes me giddy. Enjoy the fig preserves, and have a wonderful weekend. Best regards, Crissy

  7. My wife and I followed your fig preserves recipe this past weekend with some figs we have growing here at the house, and they came out great! Thanks for making this so easy!!

        1. Hi David. No, there’s no need to add any water. The lemon juice and figs themselves provide enough moisture. We just made another batch this year. It comes out with a nice, gooey texture that’s easily spreadable. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  8. Absolutely fantastic recipe and thank you for the detailed step-by-step tutorial for us who need a little extra guidance!

    1. Thanks for your question, Kim! Yes, I do turn the jars back over after 5 minutes. You’ll know the jars are “sealed” when the lid is indented. (When you push the center of the lid, it shouldn’t pop or give.)

      If your lid did not get sealed properly, you can still use the preserves. They just won’t last as long and need to be refrigerated. You can store sealed preserves for 1-2 years in a cool, dry place. After opening (or if they didn’t seal properly), they will last in the refrigerator 6-12 months. Always refrigerate after opening. Hope this helps!

  9. I can not wait to try your recipe! Love the cute fabric toppers, what a sweet gift from the heart for family and friends.

  10. The colorful fabric adds such a festive and patriotic touch. What a great homespun gift to share with friends!! Your photos are amazing and the recipe is easy to follow.