How To Can Pickled Figs

A couple of years ago I had the pleasure of being introduced to a friend of a friend, who turned out to be quite like-minded. As we chatted, the conversation quickly turned to canning. In great excitement, she asked me if I’d ever made pickled figs.

harvested figs in basket
harvested figs in basket

Pickled figs?? I wrinkled my nose as I imagined figs floating in a mouth-puckering vinegar brine.

“Oh gosh,” she continued, “they taste just like Christmas in a jar.” She swooned at the thought of them melting in her mouth, and went on the describe their sweet, cinnamon-clove flavor.

Intrigued, I asked her if she might share the recipe, which she gladly emailed me a few days later.

Although our fig trees were still too immature to bear fruit, my mother-in-law had a good harvest that year, and kindly shared some of her fresh, delicious figs with me. I only had enough of the fruit to make one jar of pickled figs, but one jar was all it took to get me hooked.

Unfortunately for us, this was not a good year for figs so I’ve only had a handful to enjoy. If next year provides a good harvest, this will be the first thing I make with them.

I don’t have a photo of the finished product for you, since my children devoured that one sacred jar I made. Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to update with a photo tutorial. For now, here’s the recipe for you to try.

This is a process- it will take a few days before they’re ready to can. Be patient. It’s worth every bit of the effort!

Pickled Figs Recipe for Canning

(I think this makes approx. 6 pints. I may be off on that, since I had to reduce the recipe when I made it. Let me know what you end up with if you try it.)

3 quarts firm figs
1/2 cup baking soda
2 quarts boiling water
1 cup cold water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 or 3 sticks of cinnamon
3 Tablespoons whole cloves
6 cups sugar

Wash figs and pat dry. (I like to cut them in half to make sure there isn’t a worm in the middle.)

 1st Day:  Place the figs in a large pot, and sprinkle the baking soda over them.  Add boiling water and let stand 5 mins.  Drain.  Take figs out and wash soda out of pot.  (I put my figs in a colander and lightly rinsed them even though the recipe did not call for it.)

In the same pot, make a syrup of 1 cup cold water, 6 cups sugar and 1 cup cider vinegar; over med. heat. Tie spices in a cheesecloth or jelly bag.  After sugar has melted and the syrup comes to gentle boil, add spices and figs; stir. Boil for 10 mins., covered; stir to keep from burning.  Remove from heat and cover. (I left the pot on the stove overnight, though you may put in fridge.)

2nd day:  Bring figs in syrup to a gentle boil for 10 mins., covered.  Remove from heat and cover.

3rd day:  Gently boil again for 10 mins. covered.  Pack into hot pint jars, leaving 1/2 in. headspace.  Remove air bubbles, and screw previously boiled lids on.  Process in boiling water bath for 15 mins.

*NOTE: This is a hand-me-down kinda recipe. For a more “official” Pickled Figs recipe, I found one at the National Center for Home Food Preservation. It looks very similar to this one, I imagine it’s just as good. It also looks easier to make.

These figs truly are DELICIOUS! Do try them.

Have you ever made pickled figs? Do you have a different pickled fig recipe to share?

13 thoughts on “How To Can Pickled Figs”

  1. I just saw your recipe and the photo of a bowl of your figs. Awesome. We have the same figs, but I don’t know what variety they are. We planted the tree 20 years ago and can’t remember.

    We’re planning to move and want to plant another of the same variety. Do you know what it is?


  2. So glad to have found you and this wonderful old recipe. My Mother made picked figs every year, I had misplaced her recipe and when I found yours, its very close. Its quite a process of 3 or 4 days. I remember my Mom making them in a big enamel pot. We left the spices loose in the process. Im going to try your recipe. I thought it called for more vinegar than what you have listed, but maybe my memory is off !! I dont cut my figs in half, you can always do that when you are getting ready to serve them if you wish. This is one of those beautiful old southern recipes that needs to keep living on !! Thank you

  3. I know this is an older post but I have a question. At what point do you remove the spice bag? After the boil or the next day?
    Thanks, Ginna

  4. Yes, dried figs can be deliciously pickled. Sorry, I don’t have access right now to the recipe I’ve used. I don’t know that they would be really preserved though. Keep looking. Best wishes

  5. Question: Kendra – Could you use dried figs that you find in the health food store? I don’t have access to fresh ones. Just love everything you share


Leave a Comment