Mock Strawberry Fig Preserves

Strawberry Fig Preserves made with figs, sugar and strawberry jello. So easy and so good!

[Jump to the recipe]

Figs seem to be one of those fruits that people love or they don’t like at all.  At the house where I grew up, there was a huge fig tree in the back yard that was quite prolific and produced almost every year.  During the summer we had an abundance of fresh figs which a few members of the family enjoyed right off the tree and the other could leave them be.  My mother and I were a couple of the ones that loved figs and could eat them by the bowl full.  However, we had more figs than we could eat so in order to not waste a single fig, my mother made these Strawberry Fig Preserves with JELL-O.  Everyone loved these preserves!  They are a great compromise for those who love figs and those who don’t.

This Strawberry Fig Preserves with JELL-O recipe has been around for a very, very long time; therefore, there are many variations. However, for all of the recipes, the three main ingredients are the same – figs, sugar and strawberry JELL-O. I’m not sure where my mother got her recipe, but then I don’t remember her following one. She made this so often, that she really didn’t need one and never wrote one down.  So when I went to make these preserves last week, it was hit or miss and I hit it right on the mark! Even Bobby, who doesn’t like figs, loves these preserves.

My strawberry fig preserve recipe uses a smaller ratio of sugar to figs than most of the recipes I found and the cooking time is 8 minutes (for high elevation – 6 minutes for sea level). This produces semi-firm preserves that are perfect for toast, biscuits and PB&Js. The recipe yields 2 pint jars or 4 half-pints.  If you want to share with friends, sterilize 4 half-pint jars, pour the hot preserves into the jars, then seal them with canning lids.  After several minutes you should hear the lids pop, indicating they are sealed.

Mock Strawberry Fig Jam

Strawberry Fig Preserved made with figs, sugar and strawberry jello. So easy and so good. #jam #preserves #fig #jello @mjskitchen

Strawberry Fig Preserves Recipe
10 mins
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Strawberry Fig Jam made with figs, sugar and strawberry jello. So easy and so good.  This version is MJ's adaption of hundreds of similar recipes.

"*" See Kitchen Notes for more information or links to special ingredients.

Course: Jams and Preserves
Cuisine: American
Yields: 2 pints (approximate)
Recipe Author: MJ
  • 3 cups chopped or smashed figs* (about 2.5 pounds)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 - 6 ounce box of Strawberry JELL-O
  1. If you want to have sealed jars to share or store in the pantry for later, sterilize 2 pints or 4 half-pint jars in a hot water bath for for 10-20 minutes depending on elevation. Leave in the hot water until the preserves are ready to pour. For refrigerator jam, rinse clean jars and place in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.

  2. Remove the stems from the figs. Chop coarsely and transfer to a large bowl. Smash with a potato smasher to the desired consistency.*
  3. Add the sugar and JELL-O to the figs. Stir to combine all of the ingredients. Transfer to a 4 - 6 quart sauce pan.
  4. Heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar and JELL-O have dissolved. Continue to heat, stirring to a full boil (a boil that can not be stirred down).

  5. Stir at a full boil for 6 - 8 minutes.* Be careful, because the mixture will start to splatter and it's hot!
  6. After 6-8 minutes, remove from the heat and pour into prepared jars. Wipe the rim of the jars with a clean, damp rag and top with the lid and rings. Tighten firmly.

  7. Let sit on a cooling rack until cool. If desired, after 30-60 minutes, flip the jars over to let the fruit evenly distribute.
  8. *See Kitchen Notes for more information.
Kitchen Notes

Figs – I like using a mix of underripe, ripe and overripe figs. The underripe figs provide the chunkiness for a preserves whereas the ripe and overripe figs cook down into a jam which holds it all together. Therefore, you can use pretty much whatever is available. If you use only ripe and overripe figs, you’ll end up with more of a jam than preserves.


Smashing the figs – If you want the consistency of chunky preserves, then don’t smash too much. Smash just enough to get some soft pulp mixed in with larger pieces of figs. If you want more of a jam, then use ripe to overripe figs and smash away.


Cooking time – The amount of time depends on two factors: elevation and the consistency you want in the final product. At 5000 feet, 8 minutes yields a softer preserve/jam that spreads nicely on toast, but isn’t runny. At sea level, 6 minutes would probably do the job. For a thicker preserve/jam, cook 10 minutes. Some recipes you’ll find say to cook 4 minutes. However, I have found that, in 4 minutes, the figs don’t cook enough and the preserves are too hard.



Strawberry Fig Preserves made with figs, sugar and strawberry jello. So easy and so good.


If you like these Strawberry Fig Preserves and the concept of small batch jams, take a look at this collection of Quick & Easy Jams.  Also, click this link for more Kitchen Notes/Tips on How to Make Quick & Easy Jams.


Enjoying watermelon and a laugh with Mama

For My Mother Sally (May 1926 – July 2016) who loved her figs and watermelon.

This post is dedicated to my sweet loving mother who taught me how to cook and with whom I spent hours and hours in the kitchen – cooking, baking, eating and best of all, laughing.

Things My Mother Taught me


Tags: , , , ,

53 Responses to “Mock Strawberry Fig Preserves”

  1. Gloria December 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    My grandma used to make this and now I do. I have also used peaches and pears in place of the figs. It was delicious I also tried it with cucumbers but that was horrid! The cucumber was overwhelming.

    • mj December 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm #

      Thanks Gloria! No, I have never made this with peaches or pears. I’ll have to try that. Cucumbers? Thanks for the heads-up. 🙂

  2. Carey August 1, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

    Hi! I made a batch of these for the first time the other day! DELICIOUS!!!!! I live in NC and I have a fig tree that reaches the second level of my house! They are getting ripe fast! I want to make a lot of small jars for Christmas gifts. I have a newborn right now, and so my time is precious 😊. Do you know if I can cut these up the night before and keep in the refrigerator until the next day when I am ready to mash them?

    • mj August 2, 2017 at 9:22 am #

      Oh I’m so glad you like these!!! The fig tree at my childhood house in Louisiana was huge as well. I use to climb on the roof of the tool shed to pick. 🙂 Oh how I miss it.

      Yes, you should be able to cut the figs the night before. However, I would add the sugar to keep them from turning. By the next morning the sugar might have melted, but that should be ago. When you get ready to cook, add the Jell-o. Please let me know how it turns out.

      Thank you so much for your comment and question! It’s always good to hear from people who have tried a recipe. Hope to hear from you again. And BTW – I’m jealous of your fig tree. 🙂 They don’t grow very big here in New Mexico.

      • Carey August 4, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

        Thank you so much! I wish I could post a picture of it! I made several batches the other day, but haven’t prepped them the night before. I will try that next time! Thanks for the reply!!

        • mj August 4, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

          Oh goody, goody!!! Send me a picture and I’ll share it on my Facebook page. I’ll just say an anonymous reader and won’t give your name.

  3. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles September 3, 2016 at 11:06 am #

    I’m so sorry for your loss MJ. I remember your post well about the things your Mama taught you (the one that stood out in my mind before revisiting was – deal with it 🙂 how precious to have so many memories of your tender loving Mom in the kitchen and in life; she will live on with you forever. I adore the ingenuity here with the use of jello for the mock preserves – so clever! Our generation of Moms were often propelled into creativity through necessity and there is a lot to be gleaned from that kind of resourcefulness. Our neighbors just offered us some fresh figs from their backyard, I think I’m going to say yes and I’m pretty sure you and your dear Mom would agree. Hugs to you friend, ♥.

    • mj September 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Thank you Sweetie! Hugs appreciated! My mother was a wonderful woman, an angel on earth, and I will miss her, but it’s so nice to have so very many wonderful memories.

      The ingenuity of that generation was remarkable, wasn’t it? Some of things were questionable, like my aunt who used lard in her sweet pie crusts. 🙂 But on the whole they taught us how to think, how to be frugal and, as you say, resourceful. e.g., When you don’t have strawberries, use Jello – and with 4 kids, there was always jello in the house. 🙂

  4. April J Harris August 30, 2016 at 11:26 am #

    Love this wonderful shortcut to delicious Strawberry Fig Preserves, MJ! I’ve featured your post at this week’s Hearth and Soul Hop. Thank you for sharing it.

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:36 pm #

      Thank you so much April!!!

  5. it sounds like a dream recipe. I hope to find figs in a good price.

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks so much Marta!

  6. Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen August 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    I love Figs but I can only get it here in a bottle as fig preserves and it is so expensive! This just looks so delicious!

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

      Thanks! I bet they are expensive where you live. The trees seem to be very picky where they grow and even here in NM they require more attention than the one we had in north Louisiana.

  7. swathiiyer August 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Mj this is a killer preserve, thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning and tweeting. you need to send me one bottle

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

      You are most welcome and thank you for all the sharing! I’d love to send you jar! 🙂

  8. Evelyne CulturEatz August 29, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    Wow what an unusual recipe! I think it is sacriligous a bit since I ADORE figs (who does not like them lol). I kid, I would love to try it. My sympathies for your loss and thank you sharing this special memory. Our blogs are fantastic for preserving (no pun) these moments.

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:26 pm #

      Ha Ha…Yes, changing fig preserves to strawberry fig preserves does seem sacrilegious to us fig lovers. But it’s a good compromise for me and the husband. 🙂 Thank you so much for your sweet comment Evelyne! Yes, our blogs are great for just that! My mother lives on……… 🙂

  9. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl August 29, 2016 at 1:19 pm #

    I love preserves, especially strawberry! This year our strawberries are new so we don’t have any to pick, but this weekend I’m going to a berry farm – so this jam is on! Thanks!

    • mj August 30, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

      Thanks Pamela! Since you are going to a berry farm, if you get a mix of berries, be sure to take a look at my mixed berry jam.

  10. Anne@ASaladForAllSeasons August 28, 2016 at 9:33 am #

    What a lovely tribute to your mom, MJ. What great memories you must have from your days together in the kitchen. This is such a clever recipe. I happen to LOVE figs. Wish I could plant a tree in my backyard. But I love preserves on toast with a cup of tea. And I’m definitely going to give this one a try. Sending you a huge hug!

    • mj August 28, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      Thanks so much Anne! Just this morning I had my morning tea with a piece of toast and these preserves. What an awesome breakfast! 🙂

  11. Adina August 28, 2016 at 6:13 am #

    It is nice to read about your mother, it makes me realize again that there is almost no nice memory related to my own mother… 🙁 it is sad but I really try to make it better myself, for my own kids…
    I love figs and this jam looks perfect!

    • mj August 28, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

      Thank you so much Adina and I agree, ones mother’s memories are the best. I’m sure your kids are going to have great memories of you!

  12. Sissi August 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm #

    Dear MJ, thank you for sharing with us your childhood memories. I am crazy for watermelon too (have just eaten a huge bowl of watermelon pieces actually). It sounds extraordinary to have a fig tree behind one’s house… for someone who grew up in a cold country. I’ve just read Things my Mother Taught Me. Very moving…. Thank you.
    I must say I like only dried figs and am not very fond of fresh ones, especially those which arrive here. The only time I liked fresh figs was in the south of France. They were from a local producer and very fresh, so I assume they lose a lot of their taste during trips… and also must be picked when unripe for long travels.
    Your jam looks fantastic and I’m sure both fig lovers and haters would love it.

    • mj August 28, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

      Thank YOU my friend!!! I’ve always found a fig to be like a peach or apricot – it’s best when picked ripe right off of the tree. But the nice thing about figs is that they do ripen if picked green and they ripen very quickly. Peaches and apricots just get mushy if picked early. My SIL here in town has a fig tree and when it produces, she always treats me with some tree ripened figs. Needless to say, I eat those because it’s such a treat to get them.
      It’s been a very long time since I’ve had dried figs. I think I like them. 🙂

  13. Barb Barry August 27, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    I’ve just spied some figs at the farmer’s market here. Do you know what kind you buy? They had about three varieties so I didn’t buy them because I wasn’t sure what kind taste best. I’d love to try this! xx

    • mj August 27, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      Hey Barb! The types of figs we get here are normally the Brown Turkey or the Black Mission. Sometimes I see the Sierra with the green skin, but I prefer the dark skinned figs. Of course it is all personal taste. I do find the Brown Turkey nice a sweet and those are what I normally use for this jam. Thanks for dropping by! Hope you are doing well.

  14. Bam's Kitchen August 23, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    This is a really unique recipe. I have never made jam with figs and jello before but this sounds fun and a must try. It even has the little seeds like strawberries have. Mom’s always have the coolest recipes.

    • mj August 24, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

      I guess it was unique when it was first published but I remember as a kid, that not just my mother, but all of my friends’ mothers were making it. It was quite popular in the 60s. And yes, Moms do always have the coolest recipes. 🙂

  15. Abbe@This is How I Cook August 23, 2016 at 12:14 pm #

    I’ve never seen this before! My hubby grew up in Texas where they had a giant fig tree. I didn’t know what a fig was until I was probably 25. Took awhile to get used to them but now I see the fascination. Would love to try this if I could just get my hands on some figs!

    • mj August 23, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

      I guess I can relate to learning a common food later in life. I ate my first fresh asparagus at 23! Fresh vs. canned was like night and day! Fig season is so short lived that once they come in season, I go hunting for them. Thanks so much Abbe!

  16. Katerina August 23, 2016 at 1:58 am #

    It is amazing how we connect food with people! There is no better tribute to your mom than remembering while making this preserve! The color is amazing! Pinned!

    • mj August 23, 2016 at 1:58 pm #

      Isn’t that the truth?! And because I spent so much time in the kitchen with my mother I do get to connect with her quite a bit. 🙂 Thanks so much Katerina!

  17. ChgoJohn August 22, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    I wold be a card-carrying member of the fig club, MJ, if there were such a thing. Love them and love fig preserves.Pairing them with strawberries is a wonderful idea. I do need to give this a try and will be pinning it for just that reason. Thanks!

    • mj August 23, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

      You and me both John! Like rhubarb my husband needs to strawberries, but once I add strawberries or strawberry flavor to either rhubarb or figs, he is all over it. 🙂

  18. Raymund August 22, 2016 at 2:27 am #

    The really look like strawberries, I will get easily faked by this one 🙂

    • mj August 23, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      Thanks Raymund! It tests a lot like strawberries but us fig lovers can easily discern the fig. 🙂

  19. Debra Eliotseats August 20, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    What a nice homage to your mother. Memories and recipes just are a natural. My small potted fig tree just gives me just enough figs to eat daily during its season. I am certainly checking out the small batch jam link. A friend has asked me to make 8-9 pints for a “biscuit buffet” at her wedding reception.

    • mj August 21, 2016 at 2:17 pm #

      Thanks so much Debra! It’s nice to have so many wonderful memories. Wish I had more of her recipes.:) It would be fun to take a variety of jams to the buffet. Small batch would be great for that. Enjoy!

  20. Diana August 19, 2016 at 3:08 pm #

    I love the idea of this recipe. I suppose you can use any jello flavor? I bet peach or raspberry would be good too. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I remember copying and pasting the items from “Things my mother taught me” into a binder that I keep of things that inspire me, and I still have it! I hope you find peace in knowing that your mom touched other people through you and what you share on your blog. Thank you!

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

      Oh Diana…what sweet comments and so greatly appreciated. My mother inspired a lot of people and it’s very touching to know that you have been inspired by her as well through my blog. She would like that. Thank you so much for you kind words!

      This recipe could definitely be used with other flavors of Jell-O. Both peach and raspberry sound good. I need to go find some more figs. 🙂

  21. Jan Cook August 19, 2016 at 8:09 am #

    My family loves figs but I’ve never tried anything like this. Can’t wait to give it a try! Such a tribute to your Mother, I know you will treasure all the memories made in the kitchen together.

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      Thanks so much Jan! There are so many things I do in the kitchen that remind me of her – lots of treasures. I do hope you give this recipe a try. It’s really, really good!!

  22. Angie@Angie's Recipes August 18, 2016 at 9:43 pm #

    A wonderful tribute to your mom, MJ. The jam looks beautiful and delicious.

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

      Thanks so much Angie! I appreciate your comments!

  23. John/Kitchen Riffs August 18, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

    Just noticed that you recently lost your mother. My condolences! I know how hard that is. This recipe is such a neat tribute to her. I’m a big fig fan too, and these look wonderful. Thanks.

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm #

      Thank you so much John. It has been very hard so I greatly appreciate your comments.

  24. Lynne August 18, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

    I use Raspberry Jello & it is “da bomb”~!!!!! Fig lover or not, you can”t resist this taste treat. 🙂

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:18 pm #

      Have never used the Raspberry Jello. If I can get some more figs, I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

  25. Deb|EastofEdenCooking August 18, 2016 at 5:46 pm #

    This recipe is new to me! I am the only one in my family who enjoys figs, but it might get them to have a change of heart with this mix of strawberry and fig! Homemade jam is always the best.

    • mj August 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm #

      This recipe definitely works for those who don’t love figs. 🙂 Thanks Deb!


  1. Hearth and Soul Blog Hop : Last week of August - Zesty South Indian Kitchen - August 29, 2016

    […]  Strawberry and fig jam from MJs Kitchen […]

I love hearing from my visitors, so please leave a comment. Thanks for dropping by!