What Is The Difference Between Fig Jam And Fig Preserves?

July 10, 2023

Fig jam and fig preserves offer different possibilities when it comes to their usage in culinary applications. Fig jam, with its smoother texture, is ideal for spreading on bread, toast, or crackers. It can also be used as a filling in pastries, cakes, or cookies, adding a sweet and fruity flavor. Fig jam works well in dessert recipes where a smooth and even distribution of the jam is desired. 

On the other hand, fig preserves, with their chunkier texture and intact or partially broken figs, lend themselves to more rustic presentations. They can be served as a topping for yogurt, ice cream, or pancakes, allowing the chunky figs to add both texture and bursts of flavor. Fig preserves are also a delightful accompaniment to cheese boards, pairing beautifully with a variety of cheeses. Their texture and visual appeal make them suitable for incorporating into savory dishes, such as glazes for roasted meats or as a component in sauces.

It's important to note that the specific definitions and characteristics of fig jam and fig preserves can vary depending on regional preferences and individual recipes. The terms may be used differently in different culinary traditions, so it's always a good idea to refer to the specific recipe or product description to understand the exact nature of the fig-based spread.


Fig jam typically consists of figs, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice or zest for added flavor. On the other hand, fig preserves often contain larger pieces of figs or even whole figs, along with sugar and sometimes additional spices or flavorings.


Fig jam is usually smoother and has a spreadable consistency, similar to fruit spreads or jellies. It tends to have a more uniform texture due to the figs being mashed or pureed during the cooking process. Fig preserves, however, have a chunkier and more textured appearance, with intact or partially broken figs preserved in a syrupy mixture.

Cooking time

Fig jam is generally cooked for a shorter period of time, allowing the figs to soften and break down to a smoother consistency. Fig preserves, on the other hand, are cooked for a longer duration to maintain the shape and texture of the figs while infusing them with the syrup or preserving liquid.

Shelf life

Due to the higher sugar content and smoother consistency, fig jam has a relatively longer shelf life compared to fig preserves. Fig preserves, with their chunkier texture and lower moisture content, may have a shorter shelf life and are often recommended to be consumed within a certain period after preparation.