How to Make Homemade Canned Figs - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
This month's notes: April 2014: Spring is just around the corner. Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam!
How to Make Home-canned Figs- Easily!
For more information about figs, see Fig Picking Tips. See How to Make Homemade Fig Preserves and Fig Jam and Making Candied figs and Other fig recipes. Also this page for Blueberry Jam directions, and for strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, etc., and other types of jam, see this jam-making page!
Ingredients and Equipment
Fig Canning Directions
This example shows you how to make canned (or bottled) jam; regular or with added seasoning. The yield from this recipe is about 7 pint jars.
Step 1 - Pick the figs! (or buy them already picked)
It's fun to go pick your own and you can obviously get better quality ones!
At right is a picture I took of figs from my own tree - these are a variety called Celeste - see this page for more information on various types of figs, how to select the variety and how to pick them!
To pick your own, here is a list and links to the pick your own farms. just select your area!
FYI, Figs are REALLY easy to grow and also make an attractive landscaping tree!
Step 2 - How much fruit?
It depends upon how much you want to make. I generally use pint jars for canned figs. An average of 11 pounds is needed per canner load of 9 pints. That's about 4 dozen medium to large figs.
If you are using quart jars, an average of 16 pounds is needed per canner load of 7 quarts; An average of 2-1/2 pounds yields 1 quart of canned figs.
Step 3 - Wash the jars and lids
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jam), it’s better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out.
Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam. Some newer dishwashers even have a "sanitize" setting.
Step 4 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water
Lids: put the very hot (but not quite boiling; around 180 F, steaming
water is fine)
water (or on the stove in a pot of water on low heat) for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean and sanitize the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Step 5 -Wash the figs!
I'm sure you can figure out how to gently wash the fruit in plain cold water.
You should not cut off the stems or the bottom of the fig, nor peel them. You want them intact! Also, don't use overripe or nasty looking ones (example photo below)
At left, sample figs with unappealing peels (skins).
At right is a sample slice of a perfectly ripe but not over-ripe fig. It depends on the variety, but generally, they should be pink/yellowish and not brown inside....
Step 6 - Make the syrup
Depending upon which type of sweetener you want to use (sugar, no-sugar, Stevia (but you will have to experiment with amount, each brand of Stevia is a different concetration), or Splenda, or a mix of sugar and Stevia (or Splenda) or fruit juice) you will need to use a different syrup from below. Adding syrup to canned fruit helps to retain its flavor, color, and shape. It does not prevent spoilage of these foods. Heat the syrup to near boiling in a pot. Most people prefer the very light syrup!
Sugar syrup proportions for 7 to 9-pint jars of figs (double it for 9 quart jars)
|Type of syrup
Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) (tm)
|2||no calorie sweetener||7||0||0||1/4 cup|
|3||Fruit juice (white grape or peach juice works well)||0||7||0|
|4||Reduce calorie / fruit juice||4||3||0|
|5||Fruit juice and Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda)||0||7||0||1/2 cup|
|6||very low calorie||7||0||1/4||1/4 cup|
|7||very light (10% sugar)||7||0||1||0|
|8||light (20% sugar)||6||0||2||0|
|9||medium (30% sugar)||6||0||3||0|
Step 7 - Blanching
Put the figs in a large pot of already boiling water (so all the figs are covered with water) and boil 2 minutes. Quickly but gently remove the figs at 2 minutes and drain.
Step 8 - Boil the figs in the syrup
Gently boil the figs in sugar or fruit juice or other syrup for 5 minutes. Light syrup is generally preferred for taste!
- Nutrasweet (aspartame) will NOT work - it breaks down during heating).
- Stevia (or if you prefer, Splenda) (sucralose) substitutes with sugar BUT even the manufacturers of Splenda will tell you that you get best results if you just use a 50-50 mix; half regular sugar and half Splenda (or less of Stevia)
- Sugar not only affects the sweetness, but also the color and flavor. It does not affect the preserving or spoilage properties - that has to do with acid and the processing method.
- you can use "no sugar" pectin in place of "low sugar" pectin - you can still add sugar or other sweeteners.
Step 9 - Add the natural preservative
Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice per quart jar or 1 tablespoon per pint jar to each of the jars. Alternatively, you may add 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (also goes under the brand name "fruit fresh") per quart or 1/4 teaspoon per pint to the jars. This is to increase the acidity and help prevent discoloration and spoilage.
Step 10 - Fill the jars with figs
Fill jars with hot figs, gently tapping the bottom of the jar on the countertop to help pack the figs down gently (tapping does it without breaking the figs)
Step 11 - Fill the airspace in the jars with syrup
Add the hot syrup (in which you heated the figs in step 8), leaving 1/4 to 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe any spilled jam off the top,
Step 12 - Put the lid /rings on and put in the canner
Seat the lid and tighten the ring around them. This is where the jar tongs and lid lifter come in really handy! Place them into the canner
Step 13 - Process the jars in the boiling water bath
Keep the jars covered with at least 2 inches of water. Keep the water boiling. In general, boil them for 45 minutes at sea level. I say "in general" because you have to process (boil) them longer at higher altitudes than sea level, or if you use larger jars, or if you did not sanitize the jars and lids right before using them.
To adjust, process according to the recommendations in the table below:
|Table 1. Recommended process time for Figs in a boiling-water canner.|
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|Jar Size||0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 3,000 ft||3,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
Step 14 - Remove and cool the jars - Done!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last about 18 months. After that, the get darker in color and start to get runny. They still seem safe to eat, but the flavor is bland. So eat them in the first 12 to 18 months after you prepare them!
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Summary - Cost of Making Home Canned Figs - makes 7 pint jars, 16 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2013||Source||Subtotal|
|Figs||11 lbs (about 2 gallon, or 4 dozen large figs)||$10.00/gallon||Pick your own||$10.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||7 jars||$7.50/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$7.50|
|Sugar||1 cup||$0.50||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$0.50|
or about $2.55 per pint jar
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! If you already have jars or reuse them, just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
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