Figs: Bite into a Fig for Consolation

Nov 27, 2012
Christina Cherrier

Bite into a fig for consolation!  Delicately crisp and sweet, figs are the delight of our sunny dishes. Figs are staple fruits in many Mediterranean countries. Concerning United States, most figs are grown in California, where they are abundant in mid to late summer. In some Mediterranean countries, you can pick them up almost everywhere. Figs are better when you buy them fresh and ripe. Their taste is subtle, sweet, and wonderful.

The fragile skin is soft and delicious, the flesh is succulent, colored in pink and white. The small seeds are edible and make a delicate crunch under the tooth. Dried figs are even sweeter and consistent.

The various varieties of figs

There are a lot of species of figs, ranging from various colors like purple to brown, orange to green or yellow. The shapes is often round or shaped like a small pear. Speaking about fresh figs, the most common are the black Mission fig and the green Calimyrna.  Dried figs are most often black and sometimes brown.

How to buy figs

Ripe fresh figs are commonly available at the end of summer. Figs are extremely delicate and cannot stand the travel very well. In colder zones they are usually not ripe or cost a lot (often both). Chose for soft figs that are not damaged. A good sign of quality is that they are compact, weighting more than they look. If you stumble across harder or dry figs, you’d better to let them macerate in alcohol or make syrup.

Dried figs should be moist and tender. They tend to be more expensive when you buy them packaged in boxes. Try to find some in bulk purchase.

How to store figs

Fresh figs are very perishable and should be eaten as soon as possible. You can store figs in a plastic or paper wrap in the refrigerator for one day or two maximum. Keep dry figs in a cool, dark, dry place.

How to prepare figs:

Wash and eat fresh ones like other fruit. Dried figs may be eaten, soaked, or cooked as any dried fruit. Figs are very popular in pastry, stews or jams.

Other fruits to substitute Figs:

There is absolutely no substitute for fresh figs. Dried ones can be replaced by nearly any other dried fruit, like raisins, prunes, or dried apricots.

Books recommendations

There are not a lot of recipe books dedicated to figs but these 2 are very complete and great to read:

fig recipe book

Fig Heaven: 70 Recipes for the World’s Most Luscious Fruit
Marie Simmons recognizes that the prime time for fresh figs is brief, so her book includes recipes for both fresh and dried varieties in her compilation of fig recipes.

 

 fig recipes idea book

Under the Fig Leaf
This book offers a plethora of intriguing recipes in a creative way. In addition to 130+ great fig recipes, this cookbook includes educational information about figs: preparation, selection, freezing, drying options, rehydration, packaging, and storage tips. A fabulous horticulture guide to growing fig trees and includes contact information for frequently used products and fig trees.

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