Preserved figs

Preserved Figs Recipe

At least 15 years ago I planted a fig tree, it is now a fabulous source of figs both for preserving and for the fruit-eating birds in the vicinity. The fig preserve works well on a cheese board or as a dessert.

Preserved Figs

Yield: 4 large mason jars
Prep time: Fig prep 15 minutes

                  Soaking figs overnight

                  Boiling and bottling time


2kg green figs (plump, not hollow inside)

3 liters water

For the soaking solution:

5 liters water

25ml (5 teaspoons) cream of tartar

5ml (1 teaspoon) bicarbonate of soda

For the syrup:

2.5kg sugar

2 liters water

2ml (½ teaspoon) lemon juice

One knob of fresh ginger, peeled (thumb size)


  1. Prepare the figs: Cut a cross in the stem end of each fig with a small, sharp knife this is important as it allows the syrup to be soaked up into the figs.
  2. Make the soaking solution: Place all ingredients for the soaking in a large plastic container and soak figs in it overnight, pushing them down with a lid or weight.
  3. Boil the figs: The next day, boil the figs in 3 liters of water for about 20 minutes until they are just tender, then drain off the water.
  4. Make the syrup: bring 2 liters of water, sugar, lemon juice, and ginger to the boil. Add figs and boil rapidly until the figs are soft enough to break open but not fall apart and the syrup is thick. This will take about 4 minutes.
  5. Bottle the figs: Remove from the heat and bottle in hot sterilized jars. Fill the bottles to the brim with the syrup as the fruit will keep on absorbing more syrup when cooled.

Interesting Figs Facts:

If a fig tree produces a:

  • 3-point leaf then the fruit is dark-red fig with deep red flesh,
  • 5-point leaf then the fruit is yellow-green or purple with pink flesh,
  • 7-point leaf then the fruit is yellow-green skin with white flesh.