If you’re curious about whether you can make anything from all the frozen figs you have in the freezer, fear not – you can still make fig jam from frozen figs!
It’s such a luxury to preserve fresh fruit by making jam right away, but very few people have the luxury of being able to make jam right away Unfortunately, fruits like figs and berries don’t follow anyone’s timeline when it comes to being ripe. Sometimes a busy forager is forced to pick and freeze their BC bounty and make their fig jam from frozen figs later so that it doesn’t go to waste.
Luckily, many fruits can be frozen for a few weeks without too much harm coming to them, at least when it comes to being cooked into a delicious jam. I’ve found that figs, as well as blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries, do pretty well in freezer bags.
I foraged around 15 lbs of fresh figs from the depths of Deep Cove in North Vancouver, but you can find figs growing all around the Lower Mainland using the Urban Edibles and the Falling Fruit maps, as well as in your kind elderly Italian neighbour’s garden stretching across the back alleys of East Vancouver. Make sure to ask for permission before going on private property.
Resist the urge to double or triple this recipe.
Since doubling and tripling jam recipes risks creating a runny product, I wouldn’t recommend canning more than 6 pounds at a time (around 30 large figs, in my experience). Simply defrost a large freezer bag at a time, which should yield enough figs for one full batch of jam.
Here’s how to make fig jam from frozen figs using a water bath canner without using pectin.
I’ve also heard rumours that you can buy affordable frozen figs from Trader Joe’s across the border, if you don’t have easy access to fresh or frozen figs where you live.
How to Make Fig Jam From Frozen Figs
One day before you plan to make jam, defrost frozen figs inside a bowl in the refrigerator.
The next day, sanitize the mason jars and new lids that you plan on using to can the fig jam in. Wash jars in hot, soapy water, and then boil them in water for 10 minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until they’re ready to fill. Put the lids in steaming hot water (not boiling) until you are ready to use them (at least 10 minutes).
While you’re preparing the jars and lids, process the defrosted figs by cutting the stems and bottoms off, and then quartering them. If the figs have especially tough or thick skins, you can also remove some or all of the skins, as they don’t add any flavor to the fig jam. You should be left with approximately 5-6 cups of figs.
Combine figs, water, and sugar on the stovetop and simmer. Stir the jam until the sugar is dissolved. You should also start boiling water in your water bath canner at this time.
Increase heat to boil fig jam until it’s close to the jam thickness you prefer. Keep stirring or the jam will burn. Please be careful during this step, as the fig jam is very hot and could splatter you. It’s best to wear long sleeves if you have sensitive skin!
As the fig jam thickens (approximately 10 minutes), add lemon juice. Keep stirring until the fig jam thickens and reaches its gelling point. This should be around 220 degrees, though it isn’t necessary to use a candy thermometer to test the fig jam.
When the fig jam is at the appropriate thickness, you should check for gelling. Take a metal spoon out of the freezer and dip it in the hot fig jam. Let the spoon cool to room temperature and test the jam for consistency. You should be able to wipe part of the jam off of the spoon cleanly, so that no jam smears or drips on the spoon.
If the jam is thick enough, you can take the pot of fig jam off the heat. If it isn’t thick enough, keep boiling the fig jam until it passes the gelling test with a spoon.
Lay out an old towel and use the funnel to fill the sterilized jars with hot jam within 1/4″ from the top of the jars. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the tops of the jars clean. Place the hot lids and rings onto the jars and tighten to finger tightness.
When all the jars are ready, carefully place the fig jam jars in the water bath canner, making sure they are covered by 2″ of hard boiling water. Cover the water bath canner with a lid and process at a boil for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the water bath canner cover and let stand for 3 minutes. Gently remove jars with a jar grabber, being careful not to bump or touch the lids. Place the jars on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You may hear the lids “pop” as the jars cool down — this is normal.
After 24 hours, check the seals by unscrewing the rings and pressing down on the lids. If a lid “pops”, re-jar the fig jam with a new lid and process again, or store the the jam in the fridge and use within 1-2 weeks. If the lid doesn’t move, you’ve successfully processed and canned fig jam from frozen figs.
Enjoy the fig jam you made from frozen figs within 12-18 months for optimum flavor and consistency!
Fig Jam From Frozen Figs Recipe (Water Bath Canning)
Fig Jam From Frozen Figs Recipe (Water Bath Canning)
Follow this recipe to make fig jam from frozen figs using a water bath canner without using pectin.
- 6 pounds frozen figs (approximately 30 figs)
- 1/4 cup bottled lemon juice (choose bottled over fresh for consistent pH)
- 1/2 cup water
- 6 cups granulated table sugar
- Large pot
- Water bath canner or suitable large pot with lid
- Water bath canning mat (or something to stop the mason jars from hitting the bottom of the canner)
- Wide mouth funnel
- Jar grabber
- Mason jars, rings, new lids (new lids are best to prevent broken seals and spoilage)
- Metal spoons in freezer
24 hours before fig jam day, defrost figs in refrigerator.
Sanitize mason jars and lids
- Wash jars in hot, soapy water, and then boil them in water for 10 minutes. Keep the jars in hot water until ready to use
- Put the lids in steaming hot water (not boiling) for at least 10 minutes, keeping them in hot water until ready to use
Prep defrosted figs by removing fig stems and bottoms off figs, and then quarter them
- Peel figs if they have very thick or tough skin, as the skin adds no flavour
- You should be left with 5-6 cups of prepared figs
Combine figs, water, and sugar on the stovetop and simmer, stirring regularly until the sugar is dissolved
- You should start boiling water in your water bath canner at this time
Increase heat to boil fig jam until it is close to the consistency you prefer (approximately 10-20 minutes)
- Slowly and continually stir fig jam to prevent burning (be careful to avoid splatters)
- Continue stirring until fig jam is thick enough for your liking
- Add lemon juice, and then check for gelling (next instruction)
Check for gelling by taking a metal spoon out of freezer and dipping the spoon in the jam
- Let the spoon cool to room temperature and check for consistency. Typically, jam is thick enough to stay solid and "gel" on the spoon
- If the jam is thick enough, take off the heat -- if it’s not, keep heating and stirring until it passes the gelling test with the spoon
Safety note: For people who are well above sea level, you want 8°F above the boiling point of water at your altitude. For each 1000 feet of altitude above sea level, subtract 2 degrees F. For instance, at 1,000 feet of altitude, the jelly is done at 218°F; at 2,000 feet, 216°F, etc. (text borrowed from PickYourOwn.org)
Lay out an old towel and use your funnel to fill the jars with hot jam within ¼” from the top
- Use a damp paper towel to wipe the tops of the jars clean
- Place the hot lids and rings onto jars and tighten to finger-tight
Carefully place covered jars in water bath canner, making sure that they are covered by 2” of boiling water
Cover with lid and process at a hard boil for 10 minutes
Remove cover and let stand for 3 minutes and then gently remove jars with a jar grabber, being careful not to bump or touch the lids
- Place jars on a towel where they can sit undisturbed for 24 hours
- You may hear the seals “pop” as the jars cool down - this is normal
After 24 hours, check the seals by unscrewing the rings and pressing down on the lid
- If the lid “pops”, re-jar the fig jam with a new lid and process again, or store jam in the fridge and use within 1-2 weeks
- If the lid doesn’t move, you’ve successfully processed and canned fig jam. Enjoy the fig jam you made from frozen figs within 12-18 months for optimum flavour and consistency!
This fig jam recipe makes approximately 56 oz of jam.
Please note that this canning recipe was adapted from PickYourOwn.org