This fig jam recipe is made with fresh ripe figs and spiced with the warm spices of cardamom, cinnamon., ginger and nutmeg for a perfect fall treat. An apple is included for pectin.
The instructions include directions for canning these fig preserves to enjoy all through autumn, and makes a great hostess gift.Jump to Recipe
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Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
- 🤷♀️ What is the difference between jam and preserves?
- ❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- 🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
- 👩🍳 How to Shell Cardamom Pods
- 🔪 Recommended Equipment
- 👩🍳 Equipment Notes
- 📝 Instructions Overview
- 👩🍳 How to know if your jam has set
- 🏔️ Making Jam at High Altitude
- 💡 Ways to Use This Spiced Fig Jam
- 📇 More recipes with figs
- Spiced Fig Jam
Fall is in the air here in the mountains. And that means making a batch of this spiced fig jam.
I like fig jams so much in fact, I also have a recipe for my easy fig and apple jam here on the blog made with orange zest and vanilla extract. My other favorite preserves to make in the fall is this Ginger Pear Jam with Cinnamon and Vanilla. Together with this Spiced Fig Jam, it's one of the most popular posts on this blog every fall.
Making your first batch of jam can intimidate many, especially if you plan to preserve it with a hot bath canning process.
But you may be surprised at how easy it is once you understand the rules for doing it safely.
I've included excellent tips I learned in culinary school to guarantee success!
🤷♀️ What is the difference between jam and preserves?
Jams are made by mashing fruits. Preserves, on the other hand, have chunks of the fruit it in, or even the whole fruit.
Technically, this jam is may be considered preserves since chunks of figs are in the mixture. But the figs are mashed, so it could be considered a jam by many as well. My ginger pear jam is a jam since the pears are so soft, they melt into the mixture while it simmers.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- The flavor with the warm spices is pure fall.
- It preserves fresh figs so you can enjoy them all through the fall.
- The apple give you all the pectin you need, so there's no need for liquid pectin.
- There are so many ways to enjoy it from breakfast to serving with roasted butternut squash at dinner.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Fresh ripe figs - I like Black Mission Figs, but feel free to use other types available in your market, such as Brown Turkey Figs, or combine 2 different types for a greater depth of fig flavor.
- Granulated cane sugar
- Cardamom seeds - these are not the same as cardamom powder, but are found inside cardamom pods. You may be able to find cardamom seeds in the spice section of your market. If not, purchase cardamom pods (sometimes labeled green cardamom pods), lightly smash using a mortar and pestle and pull out the seeds. See below for photos and alternate ways to do this!
- Ground ginger
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- Apple - underripe apples and green apples, such as Granny Smith apples, have the highest pectin.
- Lemon juice - save your fresh lemons for another use, and use jarred lemon juice when canning. It provides a consistent level of acidity, which makes canning safer. The degree of acidity also helps the pectin in the apple to gel.
👩🍳 How to Shell Cardamom Pods
Ideally you are able to purchase cardamom seeds. But sometimes that's not possible and you'll need to purchase green cardamom pods. These photos show the steps in the best way to shell the pods to remove the seeds.
This method is the fastest way to break open a lot of pods. But if you don't have a mortar and pestle set, no worries. Here are two more ways to break open the pods:
- Use the flat edge of a chefs knife. Lay the flat edge of the knife on top of a cardamom pod, and slam hard on it with the palm of your hand. This should crack open the pod. Use the sharp point of any knife to remove the seeds.
- Pound anything heavy onto the pod, such as a heavy jar to break open the pods.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products and foods I use in my kitchen. This means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. To view my entire storefront of recommended kitchen tools and equipment, check out my shop on Amazon.
🔪 Recommended Equipment
Having the right equipment for recipes makes prepping soooo much easier. If you want more fuss-free prepping and cooking, check out my updated list of favorite kitchen tools and equipment.
- Large bowl - make sure it's non-metallic, to macerate the figs.
- Jars that are suitable for canning.
- Large, wide-mouthed pot with a heavy bottom, such as Le Creuset cookware, for sterilizing the jars and making the jam.
- Candy thermometer or one that goes to at least 220˚F.
- Potato masher - to mash the cooked figs.
- Wide-Mouth Funnel with a Handle - to make it easy to ladle the jam into the jars.
- Canning pot with a canning rack insert - or a large heavy bottomed pot lined with jar lids that are tied together. See below for more information.
👩🍳 Equipment Notes
If you're relatively new to making your own jam and preserves, and to canning, this section provides a little more information on the equipment I recommend to make it as easy as possible.
Macerating the fruit
- When soaking any fruit for infusing flavors into it, always use a non-metallic bowl. Metals in metallic bowls can interact with fruit acids and affect the flavor.
- If you try this recipe with dried figs, I recommend soaking the figs first in warm water to rehydrate them. Since you're only rehydrating them, it's fine to use a metal bowl. Once they're rehydrated, transfer the figs to a non-metallic bowl and continue with the directions for using fresh figs.
What kind of pot is best for making jam?
- The best pot by far is an unlined copper pot. This linked one is similar to what I used in culinary school. This promotes a very even heating across it's surface which prevents burning. I find that coated cast iron pots like Le Creuset work very well too. Otherwise, use a good quality stainless steel pot.
- A wide mouth pot is better than a saucepan shape. This allows more the jam to have greater contact with the bottom heated surface of the pot. This is important when heating it to the correct temperature.
What tools do you need to start canning?
Besides a good pot for cooking the jam and a thermometer that goes to at least 220˚F, there are a few tools that make it easy to fill jars and seal them.
- If you don't have any canning supplies, and you plan to make jam a few times a year, it's worth investing in a canning pot set. It comes with a large canning pot, which may or may not have a temperature gauge, and lot of useful tools, which you can also buy separately. These are the ones I find the most valuable to have.
- If there's any jam on the rim of the jars, they won't seal. A wide mouth funnel that seats neatly into the top of the jar makes it super easy to spoon jam into the jars and never leave any on the rim. If you plan to make jelly, it's nice to get a funnel with a strainer.
- A canning rack to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pot, and to make it easy to lift the jars out of the water.
- Tongs specifically for canning. These allow you to easily lift individual jars from the hot water.
📝 Instructions Overview
Detailed instructions for making this fig jam are in the recipe card below, but here's an overview!
Prep the figs. Wash and dry the figs, and quarter them. I like to use Black Mission figs for their deeper flavor.
Macerate the figs. Place the quartered figs in a large non-metallic bowl or dish. Metal can interact with fruit acids and alter the taste of the jam. Add the sugar and spices.
Stir to coat the figs, cover the bowl and sit on the counter for 6 - 8 hours or overnight.
Sterilize the jars. If you have a canning pot, fill the pot with enough water to completely cover the jars. Lower the jars and lids into the water in the canning rack. Keep in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Lift them from the water.
If you don't have a canning pot, use a pot deep enough to completely submerge the jars. Don't allow the jars to touch the bottom of the pot. Either use a rack, if you have one, or tie some jar rings together with twine to create a rack for the jars to rest on. Submerge in boiling water for 10 minutes.
Make jam. Combine the macerated figs with the apple, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil, stirring as needed to make sure the fruit doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Using a candy thermometer or other thermometer that goes to at least 220˚F, bring the boiling jam to set temperature, typically 8 degrees higher than boiling point. At sea level, this is typically around 220˚F.
Mash the fruit a bit using a potato masher or a stick blender. It should still be a little chunky.
Fill the jars. Fill the sterilized jars with the jam. Be sure to leave some head room at the tops of the jars. Run a towel around the rims of the jars to remove any jam drips, and screw the lids on tightly.
As the jam cools, the jars will seal.
👩🍳 How to know if your jam has set
The set temperature is the temperature when a jam begins to gel. This is generally 8˚F above boiling point. If you're making jam at sea level, this equates to a set temperature of approximately 220˚F. But it's always advised to test the jam before filling jars.
The 2 methods I use most often to determine if a jam is setting up are:
- Sheet / Spoon Test: Ladle some jam into a large metal spoon and raise it above the pot. Pour the jam back into the pot. If the jam has set up properly, once most of the jam has poured back into the pot, at least two large drops will form and join together at the tip of the spoon to form a sheet as they drop.
- Freezer Test: Chill a small plate in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Ladle a little jam onto the chilled plate and return it to the freezer for 1 - 2 minutes to cool. Remove and tilt the plate. If the jam runs easily, it's not set up. If it moves very slowly - slower than molasses - it's ready.
🏔️ Making Jam at High Altitude
Adjustments for Making Jam
At sea level, water boils at 212˚F. But that changes as you increase your altitude, and this affects when your jam sets up. In fact, boiling temperatures drop 1˚F for each 500 feet of increased altitude above sea level.
I make this spiced fig jam at 7100 feet, which means my water boils at 198˚F. Since the set temperature is generally 8˚F higher than the boiling point, this means my jam sets up at 206˚F instead of the 220˚F required at sea level.
However, always perform one of the two methods in the above section to confirm the jam has set up.
Adjustments for Hot Water Canning
When water bath canning, use the following guidelines for the amount of time to add to sea level processing time.
- 5 minutes processing time from 1000 - 3000 feet.
- 10 minutes processing time from 3000 - 6000 feet.
- 15 minutes processing time from 6,000 - 8,000 feet.
- 20 minutes processing time from 8,000 - 10,000 feet.
💡 Ways to Use This Spiced Fig Jam
- Stir it into your morning yogurt
- Add to oatmeal
- Spread on biscuits (especially cheddar biscuits!!)
- Serve as an appetizer with some sharp cheddar cheese or a soft cheese and crackers
- Baste it on roasting butternut or acorn squash
- Add a dollop on pumpkin soup
📇 More recipes with figs
- Fig-Apple Jam
- Spiced Persimmon Cookies with Dried Figs
- Figgy Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Apple and Fig Stuffing
- Fig and Anise Bread
- Fig Crostada
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Spiced Fig Jam
- Large non-metallic bowl for macerating the figs with the sugar and spices
- 5 6-ounce jars
- Unlined copper pan for canning, or large wide-mouthed pot with a heavy bottom for making the jam, see the post for details
- Candy thermometer or other thermometer that goes to 220˚F
- potato masher for mashing the cooked fruit
- Wide-mouthed funnel for canning see the post for details
- Canning pot see the post for details
- Canning rack see the post for details
- 32 ounces fresh ripe figs, washed and quartered (I use fresh Black Mission figs)
- 32 ounces white cane sugar
- ½ tablespoon cardamom seeds
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 Granny Smith apple cored, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon jarred lemon juice
- 10 ounces water
- Macerate the figs. Place the figs, sugar and spices into a large non-metallic bowl. Stir to coat the figs well. Cover. For optimal flavor, leave on the counter for 6-8 hours or overnight. Otherwise, go to step 4 with adding the figs and sugar mixture to the pot you plan to use for making jam.
- Sterilize the jars. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and submerge the jars, lids and jar rings in the boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove, using tongs, and dry on a towel.
- Make jam. Add the figs, sugar and spices into an unlined copper pan designed for cooking jam, or a large wide-mouthed pot that's heavy bottomed. I use a Le Creuset pot with great success.Add the diced apple, lemon juice and water. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Bring the jam to its set point temperature. Once the sugar is dissolved, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook rapidly for 15 - 20 minutes or until the fruit is soft and the set point temperature is reached. Use a candy thermometer or other thermometer that goes to 220˚F. The set point temperature is typically 8 degrees F over boiling point. At sea level, the set point temperature is 220˚F. See the high altitude notes in the post for how to determine the set temperature at higher altitudes.For the first 10 minutes, stir only occasionally, or as needed to prevent the fruit from sticking to the bottom of the pot. The final 5 - 10 minutes requires stirring more often to prevent the fruit from hardening onto the bottom of the pot.
- Test the jam. Once the jam hits the set point temperature, use one of the following two methods to confirm that the jam has set up. (1) Dip a large metal spoon into the boiling jam, and lift it from the pot. If two drops come off of the spoon and come together to form a single drop or stream of jam, it's ready. (2) Place a small plate in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. Spoon a little jam onto the plate, and return it to the freezer for 1 minute. Remove and tilt the plate. If the jam easily runs, it's not set. If it moves slowly, it's ready.
- Mash the fruit. Mash the fruit using a potato masher several times, or until it reaches the consistency you want. Alternatively, you can use a stick blender and whirl it a few times.
- Fill the jars. Seat a canning funnel on a jar, and ladle the jam into the jar almost to the top. Be sure to leave a little head room at the top. Wipe the rim of the jar clean of any drips, and tightly screw on the lids. Repeat with the remaining jars.
- Water Bath Canning. To safely can the jam for an extended period of time, it's recommended to water bath can the jam. To do this, bring enough water to cover the jars to a boil in a canning pot or large pot. The jars should rest on a rack and not touch the bottom of the pot. See the post for recommendations under the Equipment Notes section. Keep in the boiling water for 5 - 10 minutes at sea level. Check the High Altitude section in the post for times at higher altitudes.Remove from the pot and allow to cool on the counter. The jars are sealed when the lids don't buckle when lightly pressed.