Homemade Fig Mustard

April 8, 2016(updated on August 30, 2021)

Finished Fig Mustard - Food in Jars

I’ve been in California for the last week and I’ve spent most of that time sitting on my best friend’s couch, trying to recover from the flu. This was supposed to be the triumphant start to my book tour, but instead I’ve been forced to lay very low.

It’s been a lesson in flexibility and surrender, as well as a reminder that I’ve pushed myself too hard over the last year. However, thanks to a cocktail of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, decongestants, and Tamiflu, I am starting to feel human again. And so I thought I’d drop in to talk about mustard.

Fig Mustard in New Persian - Food in Jars

Mustard has long been one of my favorite condiments. I learned to love it when I was very young as an accompaniment to hot dogs and turkey bologna, and as an adult, eat it with cheese, sausage, and cold turkey. And I do so love a toasted cheese sandwich with spicy, flavorful mustard.

Dried Figs - Food in Jars

The inspiration for this particular mustard came from Louisa Shafia’s wonderful book, The New Persian Kitchen. I revisited my copy earlier this year because Joy and I were featuring the book on Local Mouthful and this mustard practically leapt off the page at me.

Toasted Mustard Seeds - Food in Jars

I marked it a couple months ago, but finally made it just a few days before I left for this trip (admittedly, I was stockpiling recipes so that I’d have some things to post here while I was away). I ended up tweaking the ingredients a little and streamlining the process.

Fig Mustard in Pot - Food in Jars

I increased the amount of acid a bit, both because I wanted the finished flavor to be a bit tangier and because I wanted to ensure that it would be safe for canning. I also opted to use an immersion blender for the pureeing process, rather than transfer the mustard to a blender or food processor. Beyond that, the recipe is all Louisa.

While I haven’t dug into my jars yet, I feel certain that this mustard will be magical on turkey sandwiches. I bet it would also work nicely as a glaze for roasted chicken legs and thighs.

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Fig Mustard


  • 8 ounces dried figs
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt


  • Trim any stems off the figs and cut them in half. Place them in a small saucepan and cover them them with the water. Cover the pot, place it on the stove, and bring it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for five minutes.
  • While the figs heat, toast the mustard seeds in a dry skillet for 30 seconds to 1 minute, just until they start to pop. Transfer them to a plate to cool. Once they're cool, grind them in a spice mill or clean coffee grinder, and add them to the figs.
  • Add the sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt to the fig and mustard slurry and stir to combine.
  • Using an immersion blender, puree the contents of the pot until mostly smooth. Cook, stirring constantly for a couple more minutes.
  • To can, funnel mustard into hot jars. Wipe the rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.


Recipe adapted from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia.

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25 thoughts on "Homemade Fig Mustard"

  • What do you think about using figs from my trees? We always have an abundance and I freeze figs to make smoothies during the winter months. I still have lots in the freezer and wonder if I could substitute them for the dried figs. I obviously wouldn’t have to rehydrate them.

  • I’m a huge fan if mustard as well! Just in case you haven’t crossed paths with it, if you ever get the chance to visit the National Mustard Museum in Hubbard, Wisconsin check it out. They have a vast array of mustards and toppings to sample and take home if you like them.

    1. Yes, the National Mustard Museum is a fun stop if you’re visiting the Madison area. The museum is actually in Middleton, Wisconsin and was founded in Mount Horeb, WI 24 years ago.

  • Any chance of substituting more honey or maybe concentrated apple juice for some of the processed sugar? This sounds so good. Thank you for sharing. My mother made fig jam with lemon every canning season and I miss that taste, but can’t have the sugar.

    1. I don’t know how it would work with fruit juice concentrate, but you could use 2/3 cup honey in place of the sugar.

  • I just had a thought. I love honey mustards so could I substitute 1 cup of honey for the sugar? Would doing so affect the processing time?

    1. I would probably use 2/3 a cup of honey if I were swapping it in for the sugar (honey is sweeter than sugar, so when making that swap, I always use 1/3 less). Nothing else would need to change.

  • #1: LOVE anything with figs! I know they are borderline for acidity for waterbath canning, so thrilled to see you’ve covered the safety aspect!

    #2: Looks like I could halve it — and just store in the fridge for a couple of months (if I don’t feel like pulling out the canner) — agree??

  • I hope that you feel better fast! The flu is so overwhelmingly awful. I’m sorry. Fig mustard does sound fantastic and I’m going to have to try it! I’ve been making a citrus mustard vinegarette lately that I’m nuts about. . .I think I’m on a mustard kick in general. It seems to go with spring!

  • Oh, this sounds so amazing. I am glad to see that you have been able to do some of your SoCal events. Hope to meet you on your next trip!

  • sounds wonderful! I love mustard, too. Love that this can be made with dried figs.

    Sorry to hear about the flu – my husband had it this year too and I was horrified by how sick he was (and how expensive Tamiflu was on our insurance). Get well soon!

  • I’m thinking about the question from reply #1, using fresh figs in lieu of dried. Dried foods have a concentrated flavor that is different from fresh. Also the texture would still be a little tougher even after reconstituting. I adore fresh figs but they are so fragile. Especially the green ones. Oh, I’m making myself drool, talking about figs!

    And speaking of Mustard, I can’t believe it’s already gone through it’s blooming season in the wine country. It is truly spectacular to see that amazing bright yellow color amongst the dormant vines. If you ever find yourself in Northern California in February and March, check out the wine country and admire the mustard plants! http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/mustard-season-wine-country/

  • Awesome, I and my family love mustard very much. Saved and can’t wait to try your recipe. Thank you very much for sharing this!

  • This recipe looks lovely! Any suggestions for translating it to fresh figs? My fig tree is in overdrive and I would love to try some mustard in addition to the standard jams and preserves.

  • Hi Marisa,

    Here’s how I did this:
    3.5 cups fresh figs (long story about how I decided on that amount)
    slightly heaping 1/2 cup brown mustard seeds, toasted, cracked.
    1 cup coconut palm sugar (because all I had was that or powdered sugar)
    1 tablespoon Real Salt kosher style.
    1/2 cup fresh lemon juice. Wish I had more lemons.
    1/2 homemade apple cider vinegar (too mild, so added white vinegar to taste).

    I cooked the figs down for a long time. Let it cool for 10 mins, pulsed in the food processor a few times, warmed it back up, then tasted. Added a little white vinegar, warmed it, tasted, bingo. Probably took about 2 hours to make this. Definitely tastes like fig, but definitely a mustard. I think this will go really well with pork chops.

    1. Revisiting this recipe because I’m about to make another batch. This was a huge hit with friends and family, and will now be one of my staple recipes. So far, everyone loves it with pork chops, turkey, and ham.

  • Hi, I just made this, and the acid flavor is overwhelming and unpleasant. Hardly can taste the mustard. The only change I made was using raw sugar instead of white, as I had it on hand and wanted to use it up. Could that have made the difference? Can you think of any tinkering to salvage this (even if I render it uncannable)?

  • Awful results. Used fresh figs. Toasting seeds bad idea. All it takes is one burnt one and no amt of sugar or vinegar would remove. I’ll use jarred coarse mustard next time.
    If you used half cup seeds for 1 cup digs I cannot imagine. Thankfully I have lots more figs to pick. Sorry to post. I usually dont do such. Wish I’d been warned.

    1. This recipe is not designed for use with fresh figs. It specifically calls for dried. But I am sorry that you were unhappy with what you made.