Small Batch Strawberry Fig Jam

figs and strawberries

A couple weeks back, I went to a dinner hosted by California Figs. At the end of the dinner, when I was absolutely full to the bursting point, the nice folks who had organized the dinner handed me a little colander of fresh figs to take home. Though I couldn’t quite imagine ever eating again, I said yes to the figs and walked home with them perched carefully in my purse.

black figs

It was a busy weekend and so the figs languished in the fridge for two whole days. It wasn’t until Sunday night (the dinner had been on Thursday) that I was able to take stock and determine what was on the verge of going bad.

a scant quart of strawberries

There was a bundle of basil that became walnut pesto. A bundle of kale was chopped and toasted into chips. At last, I was down to figs and a scant quart of rapidly softening strawberries from our Saturday CSA pick-up.

chopped fruit

Though I’d never had strawberry fig jam, I was fairly certain it could be done (and a quick internet search showed that I was not nearly the first to combine these two). And so I chopped the fruit, weighed it and added half as much sugar. It all went into a jar and then into the fridge for an overnight rest.

cooking

Two days later, I circled back around to the jar. What I found was glorious. The strawberries and figs had mellowed and married. I scraped the contents of the jar into a skillet, added a little lemon juice and cooked it, stirring all the while, until I could draw a path through the jam with my spatula.

finished strawberry fig jam

I ended up with just enough to fill three half pint jars, which I processed in my 4th burner pot. I sent one jar to my dad for Father’s Day, gave another to a friend as a thank you and am saving the final jar for late fall, when both fresh strawberries and figs are just a memory.

a half pint of strawberry fig jam

A note: Do remember that figs are among that group of fruits that are a bit low on acid for safe boiling water bath preserving. Any time you work with them, it’s important to either combine them with higher acid fruits or to add some lemon juice in order to boost the acid levels. As you can see, I’ve done both here to ensure a perfectly safe product.

Small Batch Strawberry Fig Jam

Ingredients

  • 1 pound strawberries, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh figs, chopped
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

  1. Combine chopped strawberries, figs, and sugar. If you're not going to make the jam right away, funnel them into a sealable container and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.
  2. When you're ready to make the jam, prepare a small boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars. Place lids in a small saucepan and bring to a bare simmer.
  3. Scrape macerated fruit, juices and any undissolved sugar out into a 12-inch skillet. Place over high heat and cook, stirring very regularly, for 8-12 minutes. Add lemon juice towards end of cooking.
  4. Jam is finished when the volume has reduced by 1/3 to 1/2. Another way to test for doneness is to drag your spoon or spatula through the jam. If the space you've created doesn't fill in immediately with jam, it is done. Before canning, taste and add more lemon juice, if necessary for brightening.
  5. Funnel jam into prepared jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.
  6. When time is up, remove jars from canner and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool.
  7. When jars are cool enough to handle, remove rings and test seals by gripping the edges of the lid and raising the jar up about an inch holding only onto the lid. A well-sealed jar should hold fast.
  8. Sealed jars are ready for pantry storage, where they'll keep for up to one year if left unopened. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
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50 Responses to Small Batch Strawberry Fig Jam

  1. 1
    Katie Rose says:

    That looks amazing. I need to renew my hunt for fresh figs in Illinois so I can make something along these lines!

  2. 2
    E. Conley says:

    ugh, my first attempt at seedless black berry jelly/jam w/o my mum is a failure. I tried to reprocess the batch today with more no sugar pectin, but it still seems too runny in the jars, maybe tomorrow morning it will look better

    • 2.1
      Heather says:

      Runny jam isn’t ever a failure, it is just syrup! Perfect for drizzling over ice cream, pound cake, pancakes, waffles, etc. Makes things oh, so fancy and people are always impressed plus it tastes amazing! So if it doesn’t firm up, just rename it and enjoy!

      • E. Conley says:

        yeah, I suppose. But honestly I’m in my own special way, compulsively addicted to the jam/jelly made from these wild berries.. I just hope Ive stashed enough in the freezer to get mum’s help if I didn’t manage on my own. I still have a few more days of good picking on the hill. But the (i think wasp sting) on my foot yesterday really is making things difficult

  3. 3
    lisa fine says:

    Ooh, yum. Thanks for the recipe, and the idea. I don’t think I’ve ever bought fresh figs because they seem to be so hard to find. Was the event held near you?

  4. 4
    Mary Brockmeyer says:

    Help! I just received a kitchen sink full of lovely ripe plums. I can’t make jam today or tomorrow, and am leaving town on Thursday. How do I prepare them for freezing? Is it the obvious way, chop and bag?

  5. 5
    Four dogs and one quilter says:

    Drat! My figs are still green on the tree and the strawberries have almost gone by. Maybe I will get some more latter in the summer. What a great combo, would really like to give it a try. Made a small batch of strawberry jam last week and it came out perfectly. Thanks so much for teaching this technique, it makes trying out new combinations easy peasy without being too expensive.

    • 5.1
      Rose says:

      You can always freeze the berries on a sheet tray/cookie sheet, put them in a bag and keep them till you find some figs! Just hull them and wash carefully and drain and place the tray in the freezer. Once frozen whole, they’ll keep in the freezer till you’re ready to use them. Don’t let the short strawberry season keep you from this!

  6. 6

    Gorgeous. Just tonight, before I saw this, I picked up a handful of huge and delicious Black Mission figs at the Callowhill Whole Foods. I was going to grill a few tomorrow, but now you’ve got me thinking I may hold some back — or go get some more. Thanks.

  7. 7
    Rose says:

    Hit on a full tray of figs last year this time at an awesome price of like a quarter a piece! They were a bit weepy, but worked wonders with some ailing strawberries! Still eating that Strawberry Fig jam on toast! I was making a batch of each fruit by itself and ran out of enough to fill two full pints, so I mixed them! Thanks for sharing a recipe that uses both!

  8. 8
    Susan says:

    Will definitely try a mini batch of this today. My own fig tree doesn’t usually ripen until August, but I scored some huge Black Mission figs at the Callowhill Whole Foods yesterday afternoon. May end up freezing a bunch of berries so I can marry them up later this summer. Thanks for the inspiration.

  9. 9

    Definitely gonna make this-just picked the strawberries will have to put in the freezer -have to wait for the figs until the end of summer. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. 10
    E. Conley says:

    I found a tree in the woods, by some of my blackberries, that has fruit shaped kinda likes these. Wonder if its a ‘wild fig’, might do some research. Never had real fig, I wouldn’t think fig-nutons’s count hehe.
    Also, the re work of my jam set just right, Not runny,and not like a rock. So I’m happy. 4 quarts whole berry in the freezer, 8 jars of jam of the shelf, 5 jars whole berry on the shelf, and I think I’m going to process some juice for the shelf too

  11. 11
    Jessica says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe, it looks incredible! I’m not sure if I can wait for our fig tree, although I suppose I could freeze strawberries and make this at the turn of fall.

  12. 12
  13. 13
    Linda says:

    Speaking of figs … David Lebovitz has this recipe for an amazing fig chutney on his website. It is absolutely delicious and makes an incredible match with a well-aged hard cheese or soft goats cheese.

    I would love to make a processed, shelf stable batch because we don’t get a lot of fresh figs here in Toronto so you have to capture them when they magically appear. I don’t have enough experience to figure out whether it would be safe given the relatively small amount of vinegar and sugar in the recipe. How could one figure this out?

    Here’s the link to the recipe:

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2012/09/fig-chutney-recipe/

    • 13.1
      Marisa says:

      It is probably safe for canning (though if I was going to make it, I’d reduce the amount of onions a little, and up the vinegar a bit), but truly, I can’t say for sure without testing the pH.

  14. 14
    Kili says:

    when does the lemon juice go in? smells lovely so far.

  15. 15
    Gena says:

    I love your site and your book. This is the first season I am canning. I had some figs and strawberries and copied you exactly (love the pictures – makes it so much easier to follow). Well, sort of exactly. LOL I had half as much fruit.

    Weighed 16 oz fruit, added 1 cup sugar, set in fridge for 36 hours, stirred well, dumped in pan and heated to boiling.

    Two things I did differently. I added 1/4 pat of butter to lessen foam, and didn’t have to scrape off scum. Also added 1/2 box low sugar pectin (measured 25 grams).

    Added pectin to boiling fruit, stirred for 1 minute 30 seconds and blamo, it jelled!!!! Off the heat, into the jars, 10 minutes, 5 minutes, to towel and heard 3 beautiful thwunks. My jars don’t ping for some reason, they thwunk. Shrug.

    I came out with three 4 oz jars and one ‘extra’ that we didn’t process, but ate almost immediately. Because there is just the two of us, and both have to watch our blood sugars, smaller jars are the most practical.

    I’ve begun keeping a canning journal so I can learn from each experience. Hope these taste ok! I swear, I can almost taste that little tiny 1/4 pat of butter….. hmmmm

    Thank you for your instructions!

    • 15.1
      Nancy says:

      I made these last night and while they were delicious, they didn’t set completely. I agree with the 1/2 box of pectin, and am glad to know it worked well. I’m going to try again tomorrow with pectin, and I’m excited to see the results! Thanks for the information Gena.

  16. 16
    phoebe says:

    my mother makes a similar jam every year with figs from my father’s trees. they are just a hop, skip and jump down in DE…that short jump and he grows glorious trees…my trial and error, here in PA, with where a fig tree can make it through the winter makes this jam worth the work or the drive to dad’s for figs

  17. 17
    Gena says:

    A follow-up to my strawberry-fig jam adventure: the jam set, and by that I mean it set very, very well. As in you could dump it out of jar and it would stand up like one of those cans of cranberry sauce jelly at Thanksgiving.

    Tastes fine! But maybe the added pectin was a bit superfluous. I’m still a bit confused about cooking long vs pectin use. I’ll keep trying.

    • 17.1
      Marisa says:

      Gena, when you make such small batches, additional pectin is not necessary. With a small batch in a wide pan, you have a lot of surface area and very little depth, which means that you can cook the water of the fruit efficiently, concentrate the sugars and reach the set point of 220 degrees F. You really only need pectin when making larger batches, where there’s a great deal of depth in the pan and you know you won’t be able to evaporate out all the water in a timely fashion.

  18. 18
    Gena says:

    Marisa,

    Thank you! I didn’t know the science of it…. that’s helpful to know. I particularly like doing small batches in small jars for reasons listed above, so using a small skillet, that I can do. This time I used a pan but it was just a high sided skillet… I did notice being able to draw the path…. I should have stopped there! LOL My husband says he’ll eat these jars, just slice them like a slice of cheese and put on a cracker – he’s a Pollyanna Optimist. Jam in any form…..

    I’ll also get out my candy thermometer and watch for the 220 degrees.

    Many thanks for all your information!

  19. 19
    Jenny C says:

    Just a note to say thanks for this, as well as the small batch strawberry vanilla, both of which I made today with some of my 14+ lbs of berries picked Friday. Both outrageously delicious and I enjoyed the overnight macerating/small batch cooking process. (I’ve usually done larger batches with added pectin, or fruit butters.) My only problem is I was assuming the two recipes would look different enough in the jars so now I’m not 100% sure which is which! My husband says strawberries are the best berry, and I think we’ll be hoarding these for ourselves, so I may end up with a “Mystery Strawberry” label on all 6 jars!

  20. 20

    Oh man…this looks absolutely amazing! I am now on the hunt for a few figs!!!

  21. 21
    Elizabeth says:

    I made this jam last night, it is FANTASTIC!!! I also made the strawberry vanilla jam. Also great tasting. Thank you for making canning easy and uncomplicated for us beginners.

  22. 22
    Misty says:

    You mentioned that you weighed the fruit and added half that amount in sugar… is that proportion a reasonable rule-of-thumb? I never seem to have the “right” amount on hand!!

  23. 23
    carla edstrom says:

    Looks like and awesome recipe! One question; If I double this recipe do I need pectin? Thanks!

  24. 24
    Eileen says:

    Just was “gifted” a large box of figs and didn’t know what to do with them, since only 2 people in my family like them. I was leary of making it without pectin because thats the only way I’ve canned jellies and such, but it came out great! just exactly followed the recipe (I let my jar sit for 2 days in the fridge) and got 3 large jars. Love it! thanks so much for the great recipe.

  25. 25

    […] Fig Jam. This fabulous recipe for strawberry fig jam comes from Marisa McClellan at Food in Jars.  http://foodinjars.com/2013/06/small-batch-strawberry-fig-jam/ […]

  26. 26
    Corrie says:

    Hi! My friend directed me here for help.

    Tonight I made an attempt at fig jam recipe found here:http://www.pickyourown.org/figjam.htm

    Does it really call for 1 box pectin and 7 cups of sugar?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!? to 1 QT fruit. I had no idea that jam took that much sugar. I am happy to see your site with less sugar and no pectin. I will follow your recipes on the rare occasions I make jam.

    The help I need. I used 1 QT of fresh, skinless figs from our tree. I used one box regular pectin. I only had about 5 cups of sugar on hand so I poured it all in. The consistency is thin so I am simmering it. Will this turn out OK? If I continue to simmer till it thickens then can it will the jam work out?

    Thank you in advance for any help/advice.

  27. 27
    Ellen says:

    Can I use dried figs, reconstituted? I really want to try it, but can only find dry figs at this time of year!

    • 27.1
      Marisa says:

      I’ve not tried it that way, so I just don’t know whether it will work or not. It shouldn’t be unsafe, though.

      • Ellen says:

        thanks Marisa. Thought you might like to know that I did make this recipe with the dried figs..I simply poured boiling water over them, covered and left overnight in the fridge. I did have to cook it down for a really long time due to the added moisture but I got 3 pints and It was delicious!

  28. 28

    […] strawberry season winding down and my fig tree still 6-8 weeks away from ripe, Marisa’s post yesterday seemed like a big tease. But on a dash through Whole Foods last night for bread and milk, […]

  29. 29
    Rosemary says:

    Hi! I just made this recipe and it turned out delicious! But, I somehow forgot to add the lemon juice. :( Do you think it’s still safe, or should I store the jars in the fridge and eat them all right away? This would make me sad but I’d hate to poison anyone …

  30. 30

    […] Fig, Rosemary + Strawberry Jam – a good variety for those not wanting alcohol in their foods […]

  31. 31
    Jill says:

    Can you make this with brown turkey figs? I have some growing in my back yard, but they come in small batches at a time. This would be perfect! Also, could I substitute strawberries for blueberries if I had to?

    • 31.1
      Marisa says:

      Jill, I’ve not done either of those things, but I imagine that you could! Give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

      • Jill says:

        I made the jam with brown-turkey figs from my backyard, and it was a great success! I didn’t end up subbing the blueberries, but maybe next year. This was the first time I’ve ever made jam, and it was really easy especially with the information you provide about a jam set in your book. Thank you.

  32. 32
    Maren says:

    Just made this and it’s fabulous! I intend to use it with cheese and crackers so added 1 T. balsamic vinegar and a couple of pinches of salt. I also reduced the sugar to 1½ cups and found it plenty sweet.

  33. 32.1
    Tim says:

    Toward the end of cooking, or when you add the fruit? Recipe seems like I should add the lemon juice along with fruit when I first begin to cook.

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