This is a simple recipe for a low sugar fig jam. It’s very simple to put together this deliciousness with just a few ingredients. It’s a great jam to can and it’s a great jam to use in baked goods or simply on toast. Let’s make low sugar fig jam!
I have a serious love affair with fig jam. A seriously serious one, in all seriousness. I dream about it at night, I crave it in the morning and I am not 100% myself if it’s not present in the kitchen.
Ok, maybe I’m overreacting a tiny tiny little bit, but I seriously LOVE fig jam.
It’s not common in stores here in the US. Usually in the jam section of the grocery store I can find strawberry jam, peach jam, blueberry jam, or grape jam. No fig jam (or mango jam!)… At least not where I live.
Low Sugar Fig Jam Recipe…
In fact, even before I came to the US, when I lived in Israel, I’d never tried fig jam… Then I got married and my now ex-mother-in-law had several huge fig trees on her property (you can see them in my post on pruning fruit trees).
There are just so many figs you can eat fresh so with the rest she made fig jam. Oh my… It was love at first taste.
It’s a very close call between mulberry jam and fig jam but I think that I can say that fig jam is, hands down, my favorite fruit jam. Since she showed me how to make it, I make it every chance that I get.
I don’t have my own fig tree yet unfortunately… I tried planting a tree a couple of times now and they just didn’t make it through the winter here in central NC.
I know that I can for sure grow a fig tree but it seems like I’ll have to be better prepared to protect it over the winter the next time that I plant one.
I’m gonna keep trying but for now I get my figs at the farmer’s market during the season or I make sure to visit Israel during fig season so I can make jam and bring it with me to the US.
I might be the only person on earth to time their travel according to fig season but so be it! Once you make this low sugar fig jam and try it, you might start doing the same.
Tools That We’ll Need to Make Fig Jam…
The photos that you’ll see below are from a trip that I made to Israel during fig season.
I had to make my fig jam at my mama’s kitchen which is a very comfortable one indeed, however, I had to improvise just a bit because I didn’t have all of my canning equipment.
So I am going to list all the equipment that I would have used if I was home here in the US, but you might not see it in the photos below as you usually do in my canning posts.
Anyway, this is what we need…
Cutting board – I love my wooden cutting board.
Chopping knife – to cut the figs and prepare them for cooking.
Large bowl – to place the figs in.
Kitchen scale – to measure the fruit and sugar.
Shallow pan – to cook the jam.
Wooden spoon – to mix the goodness.
Potato masher – to mash the jam. I usually love my jams smooth but with figs I like to leave larger chunks of fruit.
Canning utensils – we’ll need to use most of the caning utensils like the funnel, bubble remover, jar lifter and so on…
Lids and bands – I always use new lids to make sure the seal is as good as it can be but I reuse my bands.
Paper towel – to clean the rim of the jars before closing them.
Water bath canner – I’ll show you how I preserved the jam without a canner, but if you want to go by the book than you’ll need a canner. We’ll go over processing instructions for a water bath canner as well.
Preparing the Figs For Fig Jam…
I started with 4 lbs of ripe figs. The kind of figs doesn’t matter, you can use this recipe to make fig jam from any kind of figs you grow or come across.
We just want the figs to be soft and ripe.
Next, I removed the stem of each fig…
And chopped each fig into a few pieces…
I added all of my pieces to a bowl as I was working. I ended up with 3.7 lbs of figs after cleaning them.
Cooking Low Sugar Fig Jam…
Once the figs are ready for cooking, I weight my sugar.
Traditionally, you are supposed to use a 1:1 ratio when making jams. It’s way too much sugar for me… I feel that if I do that all that I can taste is sweet sugar and no fruit.
So in all of my jams, I cut the amount to about half. For this jam, with 3.7 lb of fruit, I used 1.7 lbs of sugar.
I’ll be honest with you and say that it’s really not rocket science. You can use a little more or a little less but not much less especially if you are going to can this jam.
I add the figs and the sugar to a wide pan…
I turn the heat on medium-high and gently mix the fruit with the sugar…
A few minutes later, the sugar melts and the fruit starts to release its juices. I bring those juices to a boil and let the whole thing boil for about 5 minutes before lowering the heat to medium.
Now it’s just a matter of letting the jam cook. The length of cooking fig jam is a bit different each time but usually takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes for me.
It depends on how much juice your fruit has and how ripe it was when you started cooking this low sugar fig jam.
Remember to stir frequently and once the fruit is soft you can mash it further with a potato masher.
For me, this time it was around the 15 minutes mark. After 15 minutes on medium heat the fruit was really soft and the jam looked like it was starting to thicken.
I usually like my jams smooth, but when it comes to fig jam I do like to leave some large chunks of fruit in there. So I use the potato masher and mash the fruit for a couple of minutes…
Then, I cut a lemon in half…
And squeeze the juice of half a lemon right into the pan.
In addition to the lemon juice, this is also the right time to add a few (4-6) lemon seeds. The peel of the lemon seeds contain natural pectin and so the lemon seeds help thicken the jam.
I have never in my life used store-bought pectin… I either use a few lemon seeds or a teaspoon of chia seeds.
If you use lemon seeds you can either fish them out after the jam is ready or you can leave them in there (even if you are caning the jam), it doesn’t matter.
After I add the lemon juice and the lemon seeds, I keep cooking the jam (and stirring it frequently!) a few more minutes until it’s as thick as I like it to be.
This usually takes 5-7 minutes.
It takes a little bit of experience to know when a jam is ready…
I usually scoop a little bit on a tablespoon, let it cool for a couple of minutes and then tilt the spoon to put the jam back in the pan. As it leaves the spoon, I can kinda gauge how thick it is.
It’s important to remember that as the jam cools it thickens a little further.
Once my jam is ready I turn the heat off.
How to Can and Store Fig Jam…
Of course you can store this low sugar fig jam in the fridge. It will last forever… But if you want to keep the room in your fridge for something else you can definitely can this fig jam.
I made this at my mother’s house in Israel and she doesn’t have a water bath canner or mason jars so I had to improvise.
I’ll show you how I did it. You can do the same or follow the instructions below for canning this low sugar fig jam in the water bath canner.
So I went and found a few jars and washed them with hot water and soap.
Then, I added the jam into the jars making sure to leave 1” headspace.
I didn’t have any canning tools so I used a butter knife as a bubble remover and removed air bubbles…
Next, I used a clean paper towel to wipe the rim of the jar before I closed it with the lid.
Now, since I didn’t have a water bath canner to process the jars in, I used this old and very simple method of turning the jars upside down.
It is said that it’s not a safe way to preserve food, however, people in many countries have been doing this for years and are still alive.
I’ve done it before with my candied oranges and other jams and so far it has never failed me.
You simply flip the jars on their lid and leave them undisturbed on a wooden board or a kitchen towel on the counter overnight to cool.
In the morning, you flip them back and check if they sealed by pressing on the center of the lid. If there is no movement there, it means that your jars are sealed.
You can store them in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet.
Canning Low Sugar Fig Jam in a Waterbath Canner…
If you want to process your jam in a water bath canner fill the canner with water while the jam is cooking.
Take into consideration that the water has to cover the filled jars by 1” so make sure that you bring to a boil enough water.
Also, fill a small pot with water, place the lids and bands in there and bring this water to a boil. Boil the lids and rings for five minutes or so. Turn the heat off and leave the lids and bands in the hot water.
To sterilize my (still empty) jars, I usually place them on the rack in the waterbath canner. Once the water is boiling I let the jars hang in there for about 5 minutes before removing them.
I use the jar lifters to lift the jars out of the canner and dump the water that is in them back into the canner.
Now the jars are ready, the lids and bands are ready and the jam is hot and ready.
Use the canning funnel to fill the jars with the jam (leave 1/4” headspace)…
Use the bubble remover to remove bubbles…
Use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of the jar…
Use the magnetic lid lifter to lift a lid from the pot of hot water and center it on the jar…
Again, use the magnetic lid lifter to lift a band from the hot water and close the jar fingertight (not too tight).
Place your jars on the rack in the water bath canner and bring the water to a rolling boil.
Process both half pints and pints for 15 minutes.
If you live in an elevation higher than 100 feet, make sure to adjust the processing time according to the table above.
After processing time is over, turn the heat off and remove the lid of the canner. Let the jars hang out in the hot water for 5 more minutes.
Then, use your jar lifters to remove the jars from the canner.
Place them on a wooden board or a kitchen towel on the counter overnight to cool completely.
In the morning, check that your jars have sealed and then store in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet.
Use your low sugar fig jam within a year.
My Favorite Way of Serving Low Sugar Fig Jam…
I am sure that you can cook with it or bake with it (like using it when making thumbprint cookies) but I have to admit that my favorite way of eating this jam is simply on a good slice of homemade bread.
In fact, my favorite way to do this is to spread tahini paste (in other words sesame paste) on a piece of toast and top that with this low sugar fig jam. My goodness it’s soooo good!
This low sugar fig jam also goes very well with soft goat cheese or cream cheese under it on a cracker. Any way you eat it, it’s just delicious and really the best way to use figs in my opinion!
If you have a fig tree, you must make fig jam during fig season.
If you don’t have a fig tree go find one, come meet me in Israel during fig season, or try to find some figs at the farmer’s market (will probably be cheaper than meeting me in Israel but not as fun!).
Bottom line… Please make low sugar fig jam. I’ll take your thank you note in the comments below 😉
And if you liked this post, you might like these as well…
- 4 lb of ripe figs
- 1.7 lb sugar
- Juice from half a lemon
- 4-6 lemon seeds
- Wash your figs, cut off the stem, and cut each fig into a few pieces.
- Add figs and sugar to a shallow pan.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and gently mix the fruit with the sugar.
- After a few minutes (five or so) the mixture will come to a boil. Let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium and keep cooking the jam while stirring frequently. It might take anywhere between 15 minutes to 30 minutes for your fruit to soften and for the jam to start to thicken (depending on the water content of your fruit).
- When the fruit is soft use a potato masher to mash the fruit as much as you'd like. Cook 5 more minutes.
- Squeeze the juice of half a lemon right into the jam.
- Add 4-6 lemon seeds to the jam (they have natural pectin in them and will help to thicken the jam). Stir and cook 5 more minutes or until the jam reaches your desired thickness.
- To process your jam in a waterbath canner fill the canner with water while the jam is cooking. Set on the stove top and bring the water to a rolling boil. Take into consideration that the water in the canner has to cover the filled jars by 1'' so make sure that you bring to a boil enough water.
- Also, fill a small pot with water, place the lids and bands in there and bring this water to a boil. Boil the lids and rings for five minutes or so. Turn the heat off and leave the lids and bands in the hot water.
- To sterilize your (still empty) jars, place them on the rack in the waterbath canner. Once the water is boiling, let the jars hang in there for about 5 minutes before removing them.
- Use the jar lifters to lift the jars out of the canner and dump the water that is in them back into the canner. Now the jars are ready, the lids and bands are ready and the jam is hot and ready.
- Use the canning funnel to fill the jars with the jam (leave 1/4'' headspace).
- Use the bubble remover to remove bubbles.
- Use a clean paper towel to clean the rim of the jar.
- Use the magnetic lid lifter to lift a lid from the pot of hot water and center it on the jar.
- Again, use the magnetic lid lifter to lift a band from the hot water and close the jar fingertight (not too tight).
- Place your jars on the rack in the water bath canner and bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Process both half pints and pints for 15 minutes (see notes).
- After 15 minutes, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars hang in the hot water for 5 more minutes before using the jar lifters to lift them out of the canner.
- Place your jars on a wooden board or a kitchen towel on the counter overnight to cool completely.
- In the morning, check that your jars sealed by pressing the center of the lid. If there is no movement there, your jar is sealed and ready for storage.
- Store your fig jam jars in the pantry or in a kitchen cabinet and use within a year.
You can make this jam with any type of figs. Just make sure that they are ripe.
If you live in altitude higher than 1000' please adjust your processing time according to the table that is in the post.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 128 Serving Size: 1 tablespoon
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 0g