Unripe Fig Jam

unripe fig jam | #jam #fig | giverecipe.com @zerringunaydin

Updated on August 23: Below are from this year’s preserves and we just couldn’t help taking new pictures and sharing them here.

unripe fig jam | #jam #fig | giverecipe.com @zerringunaydin

Love that green color! Most people think that unripe fruits are worthless, wrong for unripe figs! This jam is unbelievable!

unripe fig jam | #jam #fig | giverecipe.com @zerringunaydin

I became an aunt two days ago and I was as excited as my brother and his wife. They live in a city far away from us, but the distance wasn’t enough to reduce my excitement! It was noon time and I was at school, making exams when I had a phone call from them. They were at hospital and telling me that they were counting minutes for the delivery. I felt as if I was taking the exam during this waiting time! I don’t remember the number of people whom I told that I was waiting for my niece’s birth. After about half an hour, I heard my brother’s joyful voice on the phone. He was happily telling that his newly born daughter is just like me. This doubled my excitement and I tried to envisage her little and cute face. Now I’m looking forward to visitng the mom and seeing my little neice soon. We have the youngest member of our family now, I wish her a peaceful future.

I’m sure there are various traditions about newly born babies in different cultures. Let me tell one of them in our culture. When someone has a baby, he buys something sweet such as Turkish delight, chocolate, or baklava (a traditional Turkish dessert with sherbet) and takes this to his work place to share it with colleagues. The people working there take one and tell their good wishes for the baby. When I think about our traditions for happy events, I realize that we always have a kind of dessert to celebrate.

When I saw unripe fig at the open market today, I decided to make its jam. This would also be meaningful for the importance of the day. A village woman was selling it. She told that she picked these unripe figs up from the tree in their village. She had no scales, just 2 bags of figs in front of her. She said each bag weighs 1 kilo (2,20 pound), and her word was enough for me, no need to weigh on a scale. I bought one of the bags, but I had never made unripe fig jam before although I ate many times. As you can guess, I asked the recipe to that woman and she gave the instructions providing that I would come back and tell her the result. I think I succeeded, so I can feel proud when I go back to the open market with a bowl of jam not only to tell but also give her the result as a gift.

You might find it weird to make jam of unripe figs, but I can tell that you don’t feel any unripeness when you taste it. We call it jam, but I think it can also be included in category of desserts as I love to eat it not just at breakfast but also during day with cream, ice cream or plain. unripefig1

I mentioned the benefit of unripe fig sap in the recipe of dried fig dessert. That sticky white liquid is helpful in the treatment of skin warts. Just drop it on the wart and see the result.




Wash the figs and clean their stems. We’ll boil the figs two times changing the water each time to lose its unripeness taste. Fill a large pot with water and boil the figs for about 10 minutes. Let it cool.


When it is cool enough to touch, squeeze the figs gently to remove the bad taste. You can make tiny holes on figs with a needle if you like and then squeeze. Then fill the pot with water again, boil again and squeeze again. This squeezing part might take a long time, but if you are passionate enough, you’ll see it is worth. Then drain.


Meanwhile you can start to boil 5 ½ water and sugar together in a different pot. After it boils, add the squeezed figs in it. You will see that these figs turn back into their original shape in this boiling sherbet. Put the cloves with the figs to give this jam an outstanding flavor. Boil them for about 25 minutes. Finally, add lemon juice and boil it 5 minutes more.

Let it cool and fill it in jars. You can keep them at room temperature, at a dry and dark place. We love it cold, so we keep it in refrigerator.  This makes a great summer dessert!

Unripe Fig Jam | giverecipe.com

Ham İncir Reçeli

5 from 1 reviews
Unripe Fig Jam
A scrumptious green jam with unripe figs.
  • 1 kilo (2,20 pounds) unripe fig
  • 1 kilo sugar
  • 5 ½ cups water
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cloves
  1. Wash the figs and clean their stems.
  2. Fill a large pot with water and boil the figs for about 10 minutes.
  3. Let it cool.
  4. When they are cool enough to touch, squeeze the figs gently to remove the bad taste.
  5. Repeat the same step.
  6. Boil 5 ½ water and sugar together in a different pot.
  7. Add the squeezed figs in it.
  8. Put the cloves with the figs to give this jam an outstanding flavor.
  9. Boil them for about 25 minutes.
  10. Finally, add lemon juice and boil it 5 minutes more.
  11. Let it cool and fill it in jars.

Updated on Feb 17 2011

Fig Press Gadget by Richard Claassens

I got an amazing mail from one of my readers living in South Africa a few days ago. Besides telling how this recipe worked fine for him, he says that he invented a fig press gadget- that’s how he calls it. I felt so honored that someone very far from me invented something particularly for my recipe. This recipe calls for squeezing figs after boiling, and he says this step might be tiring for fingers. That’s why he decided to invent a gadget to use in this step. He generously sent me the pictures even with the instructions to make it. I find it so practical, so I would like to share it with you. He says it is very easy to make it and you don’t need any special tool for this, you can make it with what you have at home. Maybe you’re inspired to make this gadget to use for this green fig jam recipe. Thank you Richard! So here are his instructions with pictures:

I will explain what to look for in each picture. As you will see, the gadget, is made from things I found around the house, nothing fancy at all.

Picture 1, is a similar serviette ring to the one I modified for the press.

Picture 2 is the bottom of the ring showing a series of cuts I made in it, to allow the fig juices to pass through, using a “tin snips” which a tool used for cutting thin metal sheet. This holds the fig for pressing.

Picture 3 shows the top of the ring with four cuts in it to allow fig juices to seep out at the top without burning your finger if the fig is still hot.

Picture 4 is a potato chip fryer.

Picture 5 is a small “pill” container which acts as the press.

Picture 6 shows the chip fryer and the fig holder with a fig in it ready for pressing.

Picture 7 shows the “pill” bottle on top of the fig.

Picture 8 shows the pressed fig. It actually comes out like a round flat green cookie.

Picture 9 shows the whole thing, with the fig pressed down, ready for removal from the press.

Pressing a fig takes me about 15 seconds with very little effort, as you will find out, I’m sure. I really hope you can get one made, and I’m sure your readers will find it simple too. I make a lot of water melon rind preserve as well, and I’m going to try this recipe on that as well because it take four hours or so to boil the rind in the sugar, and I’m convinced this will cut down the time to about an hour.


  1. OysterCulture says

    Zerrin, congratulations on being an auntie. I know I was so excited when I first became in auntie I jumped in the car and was at the hospital about 4 hours later. Your niece is so lucky, I am sure the two of you will have so much fun getting acquainted.
    We have similar traditions in the states, where, typically the father brings something into work, sometimes fake cigars to pass around to announce the arrival of the newest family member.

    Figs are starting to come out in the markets, and I love the unripe fig jam, I may have to try my hand at making some.

  2. says

    I remember the excitement I felt the first time I became an aunt (and the second and the third and… – yes, I have a lot of nieces and nephews :) ).

    If I thought I could get unripe figs, I’d give the jam a go, but unfortunately unripe figs aren’t too common around here. It was lovely to hear, though, that the recipe from the lady at the market turned out so well and that you’ll be bringing her some of the jam next time you visit.

  3. says

    congrats on becoming an aunt!!!
    this recipe looks fantastic!! I love love love figs…. they are pretty much my favorite food on earth. Unfortunately the slimate here isn’t right for them, so they can be hard to find.

  4. says

    Congratulations! This looks like a lovely treat, but I wouldn’t be able to find unripe figs here, although figs are among my favorite foods.

    In the U.S. we used to have a tradition of men giving out cigars, but now they tend to be chocolate cigars. I think this is a tradition that maybe isn’t done anymore. One tradition we do have, though, is to put a sign out at the home of the new parents – pink for girls, blue for boys.

  5. says

    Wow, congratulation on becoming an aunt! It will really exiting to see your niece grows….

    Unripe Fig Jam sounds so tempting. I have Fig tree in my backyard, and it is fruiting. Maybe I can give this recipe a try. Delicious!

  6. says

    Zerrin, ne kadar marifetlisin! Hic incir receli yapmadim, ama tadi gercekten de guzel. Geleneklerimizi aciklama seklini de cok sevdim. Ellerine saglik! Ayrica hala oldugun icin de tebrikler! Ne guzel. :)

  7. says

    This is very different. I love the way you described waiting for your niece’s birth. I felt exactly the same way when my first niece was born 3 years ago and I was just as excited with my second niece :)

  8. says

    Hooray for you for becoming an aunt!!
    I’ve the same tradition about a birth, I must take something sweet to the happy new mom/dad :)

    I’ve few figs here so is difficult to make fig jams but when I’ve a possibility, I’ll try it out..hope will be like yours with this recipe!

    Cheers and have a great week!


  9. says

    I have never seen anything like this! My aunt (congrats by the way) has a fig tree back at home in California. I’ll bookmark this for when I move back – there is always so many figs…if we can get to some of the unripened ones then we won’t be stressed with what to do when they all ripen!

  10. says

    Congratulations to you on becoming an auntie and to you brother and his wife on becoming happy parents to a precious little girl! What a lovely way to celebrate – a sweet treat for a sweet event.
    Although I’m not hopeful that I could find unripe figs here (I do, however, now have some dried figs!), this recipe is so nice; it does appear to be time-consuming but as you point out, the end result is well worth the effort. It was kind of the woman at the market to give you a recipe but even more kind for you to want to return with the results. She can taste for herself how wonderful her figs and her recipe turned out!

  11. says

    Natasha- Thank you so much! I saw her photographs, she is so little and cute.

    Oyster- Believe or not, I started to imagine the joyful times we’ll have together as she grows. Maybe I’ll be her secret keeper in the future. Who knows?

    Daily Spud- It’s every time so exciting, isn’t it?
    As for the lady, she will probably be surprised when she sees the jam. Then she may decide to share more recipes with me:) Such ladies at the open market always know a lot about cooking.

    Lauren- Thank you so much, I’m still excited! Fig is one of my favorite fruits. I think it needs hot climate to grow up.

    Jen- Thanks for sharing that tradition of yours. Chocolate cigar is a great idea! Not the real one, but a chocolate version, much healthier. Blue and pink have the same meaning here. Department stores sell blue clothes for boys and pink for girls. But I really don’t understand this, and I’m totally against deciding the colors for babies.

    Elra- Thank you. If you are open to new tases, you should absolutely try this jam. It has a unique taste, so different from regular jams.

    Nihal- Bu incir reçelini ben de çok seviyorum ve ilk denememde hiç de fena birsonuç elde etmedim. Bu reçeli ben kahvaltıda değil de tatlı olarak her an tüketebilirim:) Hala olmak gerçekten çok güzel bir duyguymuş, hala çok heyecanlıyım. O küçük sevimli şeyi görmeye sabırsızlanıyorum.

    Sophie- Glad you love it. If you can find figs, you should try it.

    Vanessa- My brother’s already started to change! He’s become more emotional. And I’ll see how more he will change as she grows.

    Hillary- Believe or not, I’m still excited and I’m looking forward to seeing her. Just her photos make me so happy.

    Gera- We have similar traditions then. Here new moms and dads serve their guests something sweet, in your country you take something sweet.

    Gstoanthropologist- How lucky you are to have a fig tree in your aunt’s garden. You can use them both unripe and ripe. I hope you love the jam when you try.

    Tangled- Thank you so much! She is the sweetest thing I’ve seen.
    You have the dried figs now, so you know what to do with them, don’t you? And I hope that lady loves these figs when I take her some.

    Lisa- Thank you so much!

  12. Veronica says

    5 and a half what of water? I see you have written it several places…

  13. says

    Thank you Veronica for warning. It should have been 5 and half cups of water. I’m correcting it right now.

  14. Magdalena says


    Thank you for this recipe! Since I moved to Bulgaria 4 years ago (from Southern California), it has become one of my favourites — but until you posted this, I had never considered making it…
    The next day, there were green figs at the market! And it all works perfectly :)
    Congrats on the recipe and on being an aunt.


  15. says

    Hi Magdalena,

    Thank you so much for visiting my blog and writing a comment. I had a very busy and tiring day today and when I saw your very nice comment, I forgot all my tiredness. Such comments always encourage me to go on what I’m doing in this blog.

    Happy to hear that you love my recipe and it worked well. I’m sure your fig jam is so yummy. If you have any questions about any of my recipes, feel free to ask.

    Bulgaria is one of our closest neighbor countries and I’m so curious about it. Hope to see there one day.

    Cheers from Turkey

  16. says

    Hi Stephanie,

    I love that idea of exchanging jam, it’s so exciting! I read the info about this event on your blog, you say we can join even if we’re in different countries. I’m living in Turkey, please check if your post service says ok to sending something to Turkey.
    I’ll ask our post service, too if I can send something like food to abroad .
    Then we can clarify if I can join it or not.

  17. says

    Congrats on becoming an aunt! I love figs, and I am always looking for new recipes to use them. This dish sounds delicious!

  18. says

    This recipe is perfect, since I just found some fresh figs at the market. I didn’t know what to look for, though, and it turns out they are all unripe. I will definitely be making this recipe!

  19. Jennifer says

    It has been a very mild summer here in California and our fig tree has not had anything ripe yet! I am glad to find this recipe and can’t wait to try it out on all our unripe figs. On a trip to Turkey 2 years ago we ate figs like this and also eggplant and walnut. The walnuts (ceviz) were outstanding!! They, too, were made from unripe fruit. I would love to find a recipe for the walnuts too. Thank you so much for your recipe!

  20. yael says

    thanx a lot for the recipe. the family went mad about it and now making it for the second time.
    great recipe

  21. says

    Gourmet Mama- Hope you love it when you try.

    Chef chong- Yes, it definitely takes the unripeness of figs.

    Jennifer- This is a great way to use unripe figs, hope you love it when you try. It can even be eaten as a dessert after meal. I know that walnut dessert you mentioned, but don’t have the courage to try it yet as it is not an easy one.

    Yael- I’m glad to hear that you and your family loved my unripe fig jam/dessert. It is definitely scrumptious, but I couldn’t make it this summer. Wish I could taste yours:)

  22. Lea says

    Hello Zerrin!
    Thank you so much for the recipe! My figs are no longer ripening on the tree now that the evenings are so much cooler here in California. One woman at church told me there was really nothing to be done with unripe figs (I obviously asked the wrong person about what to do!). But then I stumbled upon your site… thank you!! I am happy now that I know I won’t have to “waste” the beautiful figs on my tree!
    Although it’s over a year since you’ve become an aunt, I extend my congratulations and wish your neice a long and happy life – God grant her many years!

  23. says

    Tebrik ederim Zerrin. Senin adına çok sevindim:)) Allah sağlıklı, mutlu, uzun bir ömür versin minik bebeğimize…
    İncir reçelini eşim çok sever, annesi yapıp verir ama, ben hiç denemedim. Çok lezzetli görünüyor, ellerine sağlık olsun. Sevgiler.

  24. lora says

    I tried the recipe and it failed big time. The figs were falling apart when i squeezed them. They were also incredibly sticky. Then the syrup was not tick at all – looked more like a fig compote. Not sweet also. I have had many times unripe fig jam bought from the store but this was nothing like this. Any ideas why all this happened? Thanks

  25. Osia says

    Hi Zerrin,
    So good to find you here….I was looking for a recipe for the green figs that I had to cut out of my Mission Fig Tree in my backyard because they were in the way of the fence painting! I grew up in Istanbul, and I have the fondest memories of the gypsy women sitting at a doorstep selling unripe green figs while they were peeling them with their wrapped hands so they would not get the itchy “milk” on their skin! They also sold rose petals for another amazing jam, but that’s another story and recipe! So, I was really excited to find your blog and your recipe, and I decided to follow it to make the fig jam. It seemed nice and simple and doable. I think the jam turned out really good, even though I think I overcooked it since I was watching the Olympics at the same time, and there was not enough liquid at the end. I also left it to cool overnight as it was late enough, and it was pretty sticky to the pot as I tried to fill the jars. All in all, very good, though I have a question and a concern. As Lora mentioned (October 3, 2011) the figs fell apart as I was trying to squeeze them after boiling both times. I don’t think it has affected the taste, but I would prefer to see them whole. I read another recipe where they soaked the figs overnight in a lime solution. Would that accomplish the same purpose without having to squeeze them out? Also, would it help if I peeled them like the gypsies did? Would they still need to be soaked or squeezed to get the bad taste out?

    I know it has been a while since anybody wrote to you about this subject (and, by the way, congratulations on becoming an aunt more than a year ago now!), but it would be great to hear from you. I might try posting this comment on your Facebook page as well.

    Tesekurler for everything! :-)

    • says

      Hi Osia, I saw those gypsy women selling unripe figs and rose petals in istanbul a few years ago. In my city, nobody peels figs to make jam. They use them as they are. I don’t have an idea why yours fell apart. Could it be because you overcooked them? I’ve heard jam recipes with lime solution such as tomato jam, aubergine jam, watermelon jam, so I’m sure we can soak figs in lime solution too. The function of lime here is to make the fruit harder and crispy, so they don’t fall apart. I used lime solution once when making pumpkin dessert, you can find it here You might have tasted it in istanbul.

  26. says

    I was very pleased to find this recipe. My wife and I thank you. I found that a hinge type citrus juicer, lemon sized worked very well to squeeze 3 figs at a time. For American’s here are the measurements I used to adapt the recipe to have a light syrup for 3 quarts of Figs, 4.5 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar. I also added 3 Tablespoons of candied ginger. Yum!

    • says

      I’m glad that you and your wife loved my recipe! And thanks for sharing your measurements.

  27. Anita Dunne says

    The figs break up when I squeeze them but that doesn’t matter! Because at the end of the jam making, I tip it all into a food processor and briefly pulse, to get a coarse chopped mixture. I also add a lemon to the pan with the figs, which gives a lovely flavour and texure to the preserve. It’s absolutely delicious, and such a good way of using baby figs that would otherwise go on the compost heap.


  1. […] fruit and I can’t eat enough of them. I can have them even when are unripe. Weird? Check out our Unripe Fig Jam, which is one of the best fruit desserts on earth! I know they don’t need any other additions […]

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