Mama Sims Fig Preserves

Hi friends!

While looking through my grandmother’s handwritten recipes, I found a recipe for Mama Sim’s Fig Preserves. Mama Sims is my great-great-grandmother. Special thanks to for this photo of her and her husband from 1939.

Mama Sims

I love old recipes because they usually spell out measurements in “pinch of this” or “dash of that”. This receipe asks you to “use your own judgement”. Since I’ve never made jam or preserves, I did have to google some other recipes to get a better idea of what I would be doing. So…here is Mama Sims’ recipe, and then a few extra notes to help you along.

jam 4



I bought 6 cups fresh figs from Whole Foods. And there is a note on the back that says “Marianne uses 1 cup sugar to 2 cups figs” so that is the measurement I went with.

I placed the figs in a large sauce pan. Poured 3 cups sugar over them, covered and placed in the fridge. The recipe says to leave in fridge over night, but I was too anxious and pulled them out after 3 hours.

I juiced one lemon, and put a “dash” of cinnamon in. I let simmer (on medium heat) on the stove for 3 hours. I stirred a lot a the beginning just to get the sugar to melt down to a sauce, then set a timer every 30 minutes so I could stir and tend to the figs. Over time the figs breakdown and the sauce will eventually become thick.

6 cups figs cooked down to 2 small mason jars.

jam 3


The preserves tasted so good I needed to try them on a biscuit, so I whipped up a quick drop biscuit recipe that uses ingredients you probably already have at the house.

Drop Biscuits (makes 8 biscuits)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small peices
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 450.
Butter a cast iron skillet.
Whisk together dry ingredients.
Add cold pieces of butter and cut into the dry ingredients (I just mash them with a fork) until it’s all mixed together.
Add milk and stir until just combined. Should be lumpy. If too dry, add a little more milk.
Use a spoon (I use an ice cream scoop) to drop biscuit into cast iron skillet.
Bake for 18-22 minutes – until golden brown.
Brush with melted butter.

jam 1


jam 2


I hope you enjoy!

Amanda Funk

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