This Fig Preserves Recipe with Vanilla is made with whole vanilla beans and fresh figs. It's fantastic on toast, scones and crackers, as well as grilled meats and poultry.
This homemade fig preserves recipe is absolutely delicious -- even non fig lovers love it! It's decadent and the flavor is deep with notes of berries and vanilla.
This is an especially excellent recipe to have on hand towards the end of fig season when you might have an abundance of fresh figs (or maybe your neighbors do). 😉
Fig preserves are great to have at the ready as they're delicious served with so many different foods, and can enhance so many meals and snacks.
- vanilla pod - The more plump and soft, the better.
- fresh figs - Choose plump figs that have a little bit of give when pressed lightly. They should not be too soft. Use Kadota, Brown Turkey, Black Mission, or another variety you like -- see varieties below.)
- balsamic vinegar
- granulated sugar
(See recipe card below for quantities.)
Substitutions and Variations
- Vanilla pods. If you don't have vanilla pods, you can substitute with two teaspoons of vanilla paste -- or vanilla extract, if you don't have that.
- Balsamic vinegar. You can substitute with red wine vinegar. It's a little bit sharper and less sweet, and while it brings a slightly different flavor, it's still great.
- Since figs have a berry-like flavor, they're fabulous paired with berries. Strawberry fig preserves and raspberry fig preserves would be lovely. Use ½-pound berries and ½-pound figs.
- When cooking the whole figs, a little more than mid-way through the process, you'll break them into smaller pieces with a wooden spatula or spoon. "Mash" them as little or as much as you'd like, depending on how chunky you want the preserves to be. (I love it chunky.) You can also cut them in half beforehand to make this step a bit easier.
How to Make Fresh Fig Preserves with Vanilla
- Wash the figs and place them in a medium-sized sauce pot. Add water, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
- Use a paring knife to vertically slice open the vanilla pod. With the back of the knife, scrape the vanilla beans into the saucepan and add the emptied pod as well.
- Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the mixture becomes very soft and thick, about 45 minutes. (About 30 minutes in, use a wooden spatula or a spoon to gently break the figs into smaller pieces.)
- Remove the vanilla pods and let it cool to room temperature. Store in an air tight jar or container.
What fig varieties can you use?
The fig preserves pictured here are made with Brown Turkey figs, but you can use other varieties, too.
This recipe can be made with any of the following varieties:
- Adriatic - With a deep red interior, the exterior of Adriatic figs ranges from pale green to pale yellow. They are often called “white figs” or "candy-striped figs" because they’re so light and sometimes have white stripes on the skin.
- Black Mission - Black mission figs are incredibly sweet! Despite their name, the exterior color is much more of a deep purple than black. The interior is a deep rosy pink-red.
- Brown Turkey (pictured above)- With a brownish-purple exterior, these are less sweet than the Black Missions, but still sweet. The inside is a pale pink.
- Calimyrna - With rich green skin, the interior of the Calimyrnas is a stunning deep pink color. These are larger than other varieties and they’re sweet with a subtle nut-like flavor.
- Kadota - Kadota figs have a light green exterior and a pale pinkish interior. They are less sweet than other figs.
- Remove the vanilla pods and let it cool to room temperature.
- Store in an air tight jar or container, where it will keep for a few weeks.
Other Preserves Recipes
More Recipes with Figs
- Fresh Fig Toast with Basil Oil
- Upside Down Fresh Fig Coffee Cake
- Port Glazed Figs with Manchego and Prosciutto
- Fig Cake with Orange and Brown Sugar Glaze
You can make all sorts of amazing fig recipes with fig preserves (with or without vanilla).
- You can use them for a low stress appetizer for a weekend brunch. Spread it on a cracker or slice of French bread with goat cheese or brie, maybe with a touch of fresh herbs.
- Spread it on toast, scones or muffins with a little melted butter, for breakfast to have with your coffee.
- The preserves are also excellent with savory foods like chicken, duck or pork.
- And how about a dollop (or five!) on your ice cream!?
Storing Homemade Preserves
- This is a small batch recipe for fig preserves, and in a tightly sealed container (a Mason jar is best), it should last for about a month (unless you eat it all first, which is quite likely.)
- If you find yourself with tons of figs, make as much of the preserves as you can at once. If you do this, here's a guide to Sterilizing Canning Jars for Preserves (they will last a very long time this if you do this.)
When is Fig Season
Fig season is generally May through November, depending on the variety and weather conditions. Peak season is August to October.
I hope you enjoy this Fig Preserves Recipe with Vanilla as much I do.
Fig Preserves Recipe
- 1 large (about 7 inch) vanilla pod
- 1 pound figs, ripe but not too soft (Kadota, Brown Turkey, Mission, or another variety you like )
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Add figs, water and vanilla to a pot. Wash the figs and place them in a medium-sized sauce pot. Add the water, balsamic vinegar and sugar.
- Add the vanilla. Use a paring knife to vertically slice open the vanilla pod. With the back of the knife, scrape the vanilla beans into the saucepan and add the emptied pod as well.
- Cook. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook until the mixture becomes very soft and thick, about 45 minutes. (About 30 minutes in, use a wooden spatula or a spoon to gently break the figs into smaller pieces.) Remove the vanilla pods and let it cool to room temperature. Store in an air tight jar or container, where it will keep for a few weeks.