This is a simple recipe for a low-sugar fig jam. It’s very simple to put it together 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.
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 jelly (although grape jam is much more fun!). 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.
We are only going to use four ingredients in this fig jam recipe…
- Figs – start with four pounds of figs. It doesn’t matter what kind of figs, just make sure that they are ripe.
- Sugar – I keep a ratio of one part fruit to one-half part sugar in my jams. After cleaning and dicing the figs I was left with 3.7 pounds of fruit to process so I used 1.7 pounds of sugar. It doesn’t have to be exactly half, just close enough.
- Lemon juice – we’ll use the juice of one-half lemon. It adds a tiny bit of acidity and some natural pectin.
- Lemon seeds – since we are cutting the amount of sugar that we use in half (the traditional ratio is one part fruit to one part sugar) we can’t use store-bought pectin. Instead, we can use lemon seeds. They are loaded with natural pectin and will help the jam gel. You can leave them in the jam or fish them out before canning it. It doesn’t matter.
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 dice the figs and prepare them for cooking.
- Large bowl – to place the figs in.
- Kitchen scale – to measure the fruit and sugar.
- Deep 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. If you like your jam really smooth you can use an immersion blender instead.
- Canning utensils – we’ll need to use most of the caning utensils like the funnel, bubble remover, jar lifter and so on…
- Pint jars – I think that it’s the best size for this jam. You can also use half a pint but I won’t use quart jars.
- 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 then you’ll need a canner. We’ll go over processing instructions for a water bath canner as well.
Watch Me Make Low Sugar Fig Jam…
How to Make Fig Jam…
Step one – prepare the figs… Start 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. Just make sure that the figs are soft and ripe.
Remove the stem from each fig and dice your figs. Add all the fruit to a bowl and weigh your fruit. I ended up with 3.7 pounds of figs after cleaning them.
Step two – bring the mixture to a boil… Add the figs and sugar to the pot…
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it boil for five minutes before lowering the heat to medium-low for the rest of the cooking.
Step three – mash the jam and add lemon juice and seeds… Keep cooking for an additional 15-30 minutes (cooking time might change depending on how ripe and juicy your fruit was to begin with) and once the fruit is soft, use a potato masher or an immersion blender to blend it. Then, add the juice of half a lemon and 4-6 lemon seeds and stir them in. Lemon seeds have a lot of natural pectin in them and will help the jam thicken and gel).
Step four – check if the jam is ready… Keep cooking, stirring frequently for an additional 10 minutes or so until the jam gels. If you are an experienced jam-maker, it will be easy to recognise this stage. If you need a little bit of help, you can use the spoon test to help you measure the thickness of the jam…
Scoop a little bit of jam on a spoon and set it on the kitchen counter to cool for five minutes. Then, add the jam back into the pot and as it leaves the spoon you’ll be able to measure how thick it is. Just take into consideration that the jam will keep on thickening as it cools in the jars completely after you process it in the water bath canner.
Canning Homemade Fig Jam…
Step five – can your fig jam… If you want, you can definitely keep this jam in the fridge, it will last for a long long while. However, if you want to save some room in the fridge, go ahead and can it.
Option one – again, since I made this jam in Israel and didn’t have all of my canning supplies, I used an old method of canning that works well to this day however for some reason is not so popular. Here is how to do it…
- Wash your jars and lids well with hot water and dish soap. You can use any kind of jar that you want.
- Pack the jars with the very hot jam (it’s important that the jam is very hot!), leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
- Use a bubble remover (or a butter knife if you don’t have canning equipment) to remove bubbles by scraping it along the inside of the jar.
- Use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar and close it with the lid.
- Flip the far upside down and let it cool completely overnight.
- In the morning, flip it back, wipe it, and it should be sealed and ready for storage in the pantry (make sure that it has sealed by pressing the center of the lid. If there is no movement there it means that the jar has sealed).
Option two – if you have all of your canning equipment and prefer to process your jam in the water bath canner, follow these steps…
- To your water bath canner, add enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Set it on the stovetop and turn the heat to high. Bring the water to a boil.
- Wash the jars, lids, and bands with hot water and soap.
- Fill your jars with the hot jam making sure to leave 1/2” of headspace.
- Use the bubble remover to remove bubbles by scraping it along the inside of the jar.
- Use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jar before you center the lid and close the jar with the band finger tight.
- Set the jars on the rack of the water bath canner and lower them into the boiling water. Cover the canner and process both half-pint and pint jars for 15 minutes. make sure to adjust processing time according to the table below if you live over 1000 feet in elevation.
- When the processing time is over, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars rest in the hot water for five minutes before using the jar lifters to remove them from the canner. Set them on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool overnight.
- Check that the jars have sealed by pressing the center of each lid. if there is no movement there it means that the jar has sealed and is ready for storage. Wipe the jar and remove the bands (they rust over time and make it hard to open the jar, and, it’s easier to monitor what’s happening inside the jars if they are not in the way) before you store it in the pantry. Homemade fig jam should last 12-18 months in storage.
Serving Low Sugar Fig Jam…
This low-sugar fig jam is thick and holds very well in baking. I sometimes use it to make thumbprint cookies. You can also use it in cakes or to make jam crescent (I use simple store-bought crescent dough). Of course, it’s delicious in the classic peanut butter and jelly/jam sandwich or on toast and crackers with or without cream cheese (try this delicious artisan bread or this classic Jewish Challah bread!).
This jam also works really really well with raw tahini. Just make a toast, add some raw tahini on top, and then some of the jam. Let me tell you… It’s my favorite thing to eat with my morning coffee!
Then, of course, you can add it on top of yogurt, add some homemade granola and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal. It’s common knowledge that figs go really well with goat cheese and fig jam doesn’t disappoint there either! It’s a delicious combination. Really, the sky is the limit! There are so many ways to enjoy this jam.
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!
More Jam Recipes on the Blog…
You can find all the jam recipes that I have here on the blog on my low sugar jar recipe page here. You might want to try this delicious plum and apple jam or this sugar free strawberry jam. Cantaloupe jam and kiwi jam are not very common but also delicious! Persimmon jam is delicious, and you might want to give mixed berry jam and orange jam a try too. There are many more, so make sure to visit the page!
- 4 pounds of ripe figs, stem removed and diced
- 1.7 lb sugar
- Juice from half a lemon
- 4-6 lemon seeds
- Add figs and sugar to a deep pan and set on the stovetop. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently. let it boil for 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and keep cooking the jam while stirring frequently. It might take anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes for your fruit to soften and for the jam to start to thicken (depending on how juicy the fruit was to begin with).
- When the fruit is soft use a potato masher to mash the fruit as much as you'd like. Add the juice of half a lemon right into the jam. Then add 4-6 lemon seeds to the jam (they have natural pectin in them and will help to thicken the jam). Stir and cook 5-10 more minutes or until the jam reaches your desired thickness.
- To process your jam in a waterbath canner fill the canner with enough water to cover the jars by at least an inch. Set the caner on the stovetop and bring the water to a rolling boil.
- Wash the jars, lids, and rings with hot water and dish soap.
- Fill the jars with the hot jam leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Use the bubble remover to remove air bubbles by scraping it along the inside of the jar. Use a damp paper towel to clean the rim of the jars before you center the lid and close the jars with the bands finger tight.
- Place the filled jars on the rack of the canner, lower them into the boiling water, cover the canner and process the jars in the boiling water for 15 minutes (both pints and half-pints). Make sure to adjust processing time according to the table below if you live above 1000 feet in elevation.
- Once processing time is up, turn the heat off and uncover the canner. Let the jars rest in the hot water for five minutes before you remove them. Set them on a kitchen towel on the counter to cool completely overnight.
- In the morning, check that your jars sealed by pressing the center of the lid. If there is no movement there, your jars have sealed and are ready for storage. Wipe the jars and remove the bands (cause they tend to rust and make it hard to open the jars down the road) and store the jars in the pantry. They should last 12-18 months.
Make sure to adjust processing time according to the table below...
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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