Canning figs at home is a simple way to preserve these sweet but perishable fruits.
I grew up eating figs by the bucketload from my grandmother’s fig trees, and I know just how prolific fig trees can be. She had three large fig trees, and all the grandkids worked hard to eat up every last one in season…but we never succeeded.
Every year, she’d fill the freezer with figs, and eventually, they just rotted on the ground once she ran out of freezer space.
My grandmother wasn’t a canner, and she didn’t know just how easy it is to can figs at home in syrup. They’ll preserve right on the pantry shelf, staying sweet and delicious for year-round enjoyment.
Figs actually can beautifully, and they’re much better out of a canning jar than the freezer. They can be eaten with a fork right out of the syrup, or you can use them in baking recipes. They also make a great topping for ice cream or yogurt.
A single fig tree will yield more than enough for a family, so if you’re growing figs, it pays to learn how to can figs at home.
Canning Figs Yield
The total amount of figs needed to fill jars will depend on the size of your figs and how efficiently you’re able to pack the jars. They’re a hot pack, which makes it a bit trickier to pack the jars since they’ll be boiling hot when they go in. Still, since they’re hot-packed, they shrink a bit, so it’ll all work out.
Generally, it takes about 16 pounds of fresh figs to fill a canner load of 7 quarts or about 11 pounds for a 9-pint canner batch. That’s about 2 1/4 pounds per quart, or 1 1/4 pounds per pint.
If your figs are small, they’ll pack a bit tighter, and you’ll need slightly more to fill the jars. Similarly, very large figs won’t pack as well and will require a bit less.
Figs may be canned in quarts, pints, or half-pint jars. If using smaller half-pint jars, the processing times are the same as for pints. Do not can figs in jars larger than quarts.
Preparing Figs for Canning
Figs are canned whole, and the process of preparing them for canning is relatively simple.
I know you’ll be tempted, but don’t cut off the fig stems before canning. They’ll bleed fig sap into the jars, which can impact the flavor of your home canned figs, and it’ll make the canning liquid cloudy. Leave the stems on and take them off at serving.
Don’t peel them either. Peeling will cause them to fall apart in the canner. Basically, you just give them a quick rinse, but don’t otherwise cut or trim them.
Figs need to be blanched before canning, which helps to remove some of the bitter agents in their sap and skin. Bring a pot of water to a hard boil and add the figs. Boil for 2 minutes, and then strain, discarding the cooking water.
Once the figs are blanched, it’s time to get ready for canning figs.
How to Can Figs
Prepare a water bath canner, along with jars, lids, and rings. Heat the canner to a gentle simmer (around 180 degrees F) for hot pack canning.
While the canner is heating, blanch the figs as described above. (Boil for 2 minutes, then discard the blanching water.)
Prepare a batch of light syrup for canning. You can use extra light syrup or medium or heavy syrup too. Generally, light syrup keeps them sweet and of best quality, but feel free to use whatever canning syrup strength you prefer. (There’s a guide to the measurements for each canning syrup here.)
To make light syrup for a canner batch of 9 pints, you’ll need:
- 5 3/4 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
That’s enough syrup to can about 11 pounds of figs in a 9-pint batch.
To make light syrup for a batch of 7 quarts, you’ll need:
- 9 cups water
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
That’s enough syrup to can about 16 pounds of figs in a 7-quart batch.
Mix the syrup in a large stock pot and bring it to a gentle boil on the stove. Add the blanched figs and cook them in the canning syrup for 5 minutes.
While the figs are cooking in the syrup, you’ll need to add lemon juice or citric acid to your canning jars. Don’t add the lemon juice to the boiling syrup. It’s important to get the measurements accurate per pint or quart, and the best way to do that is to add lemon juice or citric acid directly to the jars before filling them.
(Believe me, you want to do this before you add the figs, or you might forget and process the jars without the added acidity. If that happens, you’ll have to start over because they’re not safely canned without the added lemon juice or citric acid.)
Add 2 Tbsp. of bottled lemon juice per quart, or 1 tbsp per pint. If you’re using citric acid, you can use 1/2 tsp citric acid per quart or 1/4 tsp per pint.
Gently ladle the hot syrup-boiled figs into prepared canning jars. It helps to use a slotted spoon to start with, then fill the jars the rest of the way with syrup.
Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace above the figs and syrup in the jars.
De-bubble jars and apply 2 part canning lids.
Process the figs in a water bath canner for 45 minutes for pints and 50 minutes for quarts (below 1,000 feet in elevation). For higher elevations, see the table below:
Ways to Preserve Figs
Looking for more ways to preserve figs? While I think canning whole figs is the most versatile way to preserve figs at home, it’s not the only way:
Canning figs at home is a simple way to preserve figs right on the pantry shelf.
For a 7 Quart Batch:
- 16 pounds fresh figs
- 9 cups water (plus more for blanching)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- A scant cup of bottled lemon juice (2 Tbsp per jar)
For a 9 Pint Batch:
- 11 pounds fresh figs
- 5 3/4 cups water (plus more for blanching)
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- A bit more than half a cup bottled lemon juice (1 Tbsp per jar)
- Prepare a water bath canner, jars, lids and rings before beginning. The canner should be pre-heated for hot pack to a gentle simmer, about 180 degrees F.
- Bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove and blanch the figs for 2 minutes. Drain and discard the blanching water.
- Add measured water and sugar to a stock pot and bring it to a boil. The measurements in this recipe make light syrup. See notes for other syrup types.
- Add blanched figs to the boiling syrup and boil for 5 minutes.
- While the figs are boiling in syrup, add lemon juice or citric acid directly to the empty canning jars. You'll need to add 2 Tbsp. of bottled lemon juice per quart, or 1 tbsp per pint. If you're using citric acid, you can use 1/2 tsp citric acid per quart or 1/4 tsp per pint.
- Use a slotted spoon to fill the canning jars with figs, and then ladle the canning syrup on top. Be sure to leave 1/2 inch headspace.
- Seal the jars with 2 part canning lids and process them in a water bath canner for 45 minutes for pints and 50 minutes for quarts (below 1000 feet in elevation). See notes for processing times for higher elevations.
- Once the processing time is complete, turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit in the canner for an additional 5-10 minutes. This partially cools the jars and helps prevent siphoning as the jars are removed from the canner. Use a jar lifter to remove the jars to cool on a towel on the counter.
- Check seals after 12-24 hours. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator for immediate use. Properly canned and sealed jars will keep on the pantry shelf for 12-18 months.
Altitude Adjustments for Canning Whole Figs in Syrup:
- For 0 to 1,000 Feet - 45 min for pints and 50 min for quarts
- For 1,001 to 3,000 Feet - 50 min for pints and 55 min for quarts
- For 3,001 to 6,000 Feet - 55 min for pints and 60 min for quarts
- Above 6,001 Feet - 60 min for pints and 65 min for quarts
Syrup for Canning Figs:
Most people choose to can figs in light syrup, but it's perfectly fine to reduce the sugar and can them in extra light syrup. You can also increase the sugar and can them in a heavier syrup. The measurements for canning syrups are as follows:
For a canner batch of 9 pints:
- For extra light syrup, use 6 1/2 cups water and 3/4 cup sugar
- For light syrup, use 5 3/4 cups water and 1 1/2 cups sugar
- For medium syrup, use 5 1/4 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- For heavy syrup, use 5 cups water and 3 1/4 cups sugar
- For extra heavy syrup, use 4 1/4 cups water and 4 1/4 cups sugar
For a canner batch of 7 quarts:
- For extra light syrup, use 10 1/2 cups water and 1 1/4 cups sugar
- For light syrup, use 9 cups water and 2 1/4 cups sugar
- For medium syrup, use 8 1/4 cups water and 3 3/4 cups sugar
- For heavy syrup, use 7 3/4 cups water and 5 1/4 cups sugar
- For extra heavy syrup, use 6 1/2 cups water and 6 3/4 cups sugar
Fig Canning Recipes
Canning whole figs is just one way to put them into a canning jar. Try jams, jellies, syrups, and more!
- Fig Jam
- Fig Jelly (coming soon)
- Fig Syrup (coming soon)
- Pickled Figs (coming soon)