Welcome to this guide on storing figs, where we’ll explore the best methods to preserve the freshness and flavor of these extraordinary fruits. Whether you have just harvested a batch of juicy, ripe figs or have a craving for the delightful sweetness of dried figs, proper storage is key to prolonging their shelf life and maintaining their delectable taste.
Join us as we unravel the secrets of storing both fresh and dried figs, ensuring that you can enjoy their unique flavors for an extended period.
Let’s dive into the world of fig storage and discover the techniques that will help you make the most of these delightful fruits.
How Long Do Figs Last?
Figs are small fruits that are super sweet for your fig recipes. However, they are also quite delicate with a short shelf life. When sold in the market, figs are all ripe fruit as once they are removed from the fruit tree, the fruits cannot ripen anymore.
Therefore, if you have a store-bought fresh figs batch, it can only last from two to three days in the sun or at room temperature. Once after that period, the figs need to be stored properly to avoid spoilage.
When they are stored in cool condition, these figs can keep them moist for up to a week. If you prefer a longer shelf-life fig, you can also buy dried figs to work on your sweet dishes. So, how long do dried figs last?
Dried figs are basically dehydrated fresh figs, which are for extending the fruit shelf life. Dried figs have a significantly longer shelf life, which is for a year at room temperature. However, if you don’t store them, dried figs can also go bad.
How To Tell If Figs Are Bad?
Figs are a tasty and nutritious fruit with a short shelf life. Once they are picked, figs become ripe and spoil quickly within a few days. If you have left the batch for a few days now, it is time to check if they have gone bad yet.
So, how do you check bad figs? There are several signs of spoiled figs that you can recognize, similar to green onions. The first sign that you can tell is the smell of figs.
Figs ferment after they are picked. When they have been fermented for too long, they will exude a sour and off-putting smell. Once they are bad, there is also a foul odor, signifying it’s time to discard them away.
Another sign you should throw away your fig batch is their look. Fresh figs tend to have dark red skin. After a time, figs can develop a white cast like many products containing sugar as the natural sugar develops to the outer skin.
However, mold can also form on figs as they have a high moisture content. The development of mold can be a white spot on the skin, similar to a white cast. If you can’t distinguish between these signs, it is best not to get yourself food poisoning with figs.
When touching rotten figs, you can feel their texture is oozing water with mushy and shriveled flesh. This phenomenon is due to the loss of water at the spoilage stage. At this point, you wouldn’t want to taste your figs.
You can also check the old figs to see if they are still good by slicing them in half. The flesh of an edible fig should be red and plump. If the inside flesh is blackened and moldy, it is a clear sign of rotten fruit.
How To Store Figs When They Are Still Fresh?
Figs are known as delicate fruit with a short shelf life. If you can’t finish the whole batch in two or three days, it is best to store them to keep their freshness as long as you can.
Storing fresh figs is not similar to storing biscuits or summer squash. So, how do you store fresh figs? Should figs be refrigerated? Can you freeze figs?
Here is how to keep figs fresh:
Figs are tasty because of their amazing sweet flavor. If you want to keep them for syrup and enhance your recipes with the taste of figs, you can learn how to preserve fresh figs longer by canning them.
How to can fresh figs
- Preparing fresh figs by washing in cold water thoroughly. Then you remove the stems and put them aside.
- Put on a pot of water on low heat. The ratio for fig and sugar should be 1: ½. So, you can pour 7 cups of sugar into the water for 14 cups of figs. Stir the mixture until your figs turn to a light brown with a syrup-like consistency. The cooking time should be two to three hours to cook them completely.
- While the pot is cooking, you can sterilize the lids and a glass jar to contain the fig mixture. Put them in boiling water for two to three minutes.
- Once the fresh fig mixture is set, you can pour them into the container until they are 1 ⁄ 2 an inch from the top. Then tighten the lids.
- Thereafter, you need to put the jar inside boiling water, so it is completely safe from spoilage. After 30 minutes, you can remove the jars and cool them down. When it is cool, you should hear the lid popping. The jar should last from 1 to 2 years.
You may wonder, should fresh figs be refrigerated?
Storing figs in the refrigerator is a common way to keep them last for a longer time. When stored properly, the figs can last up to a month.
How to refrigerate figs
- Choose from your batch the ripe and plump ones. Overripe figs and spoiled figs should be discarded when they are smelly and mushy.
- Once you have the ripe figs, you need to put them in a Styrofoam or cardboard tray for storage. You can also use an egg tray or paper towel to separate each fig. Space them out instead of stacking or pushing them together, as figs need to be breathed to avoid molds.
- Once you have prepared them, cover them with plastic wrap to prevent figs from physical forces or other food’s odors.
- Now, you are ready to move the wrapped figs to the refrigerator.
Can fresh figs be frozen? Certainly!
Freezing figs is also another possible method to keep your figs edible for a long time. However, the figs might not be as fresh as it were when you thaw the frozen figs after.
How to freeze figs whole
- Wash the figs thoroughly with water and take out the ripe and plump figs. Those that are too soft and overripe should not be frozen, as they will become dehydrated afterward. When washing the figs, you should rub them to remove any dirt, take off the stems and dry them with a towel.
- Take out a baking tray and put every fig ½ inch apart from each other. This will help prevent them from bruising the purple flesh.
- Then, place them in the freezer for two to four hours. Thereafter, you can remove the figs out of the freezer.
- Use a freezer bag to contain the figs and seal them. Then you can put the bag in the freezer for good. As they are frozen, figs can last from six to eight months.
How to Store Figs When They Were Dried?
As I have mentioned above, dried figs generally have a longer shelf life than fresh ones. However, they also need to be stored properly to avoid going bad. So, do dried figs need to be refrigerated?
When you decide to store dried figs at room temperature or in cool condition, it is important to use an airtight container or a plastic zip bag to contain them. This will help them from other external influences like moisture, molds, and insects.
The most effective and simplest way for storing dried figs is to keep them in a cotton bag in a cool and dry place. The place’s temperature should be less than 59 degrees Fahrenheit to keep the bacteria growth and moisture low.
If your climate area is typically high, you can keep the figs in two layers of plastic bags and store them inside your fridge. With the plastic bags, they can be removed from the moisture and humidity inside the fridge.
How To Dry Figs?
Fresh figs are juicy and tasty, but dry figs are so much sweeter in comparison. So, if you ever want to make dried figs to extend their life shelf or extract their goodness, you can follow my instruction in traditionally making dry figs:
- Wash all the figs with water and use a towel to take out any excess water.
- Once they are dry, you can bring them out under the sun to start the drying process from morning until dawn. Then you need to take them inside in a dry place at night because the evening dew might affect the fig drying stage.
- Put on a large pot with boiling water. Pour all the figs inside and bland quickly. Thereafter, you can drain the water and use a cloth to dry them again.
- The next day, you need to dry them under the sunlight again until they are completely weathered.
How To Eat A Fresh Fig?
Figs are a delicious fruit that is super versatile in how to process them. So, what to do with figs from a fig tree?
Figs are certainly possible to eat raw, with the natural sweetness and nutty flavor of the flesh. You can also cook them and combine them in many savory dishes like baking, broiling, or grilling.
Many people find fresh figs are great for eating away. But, how do you eat fresh figs?
The purple skin of fresh figs is edible, but most people find it undesirable because of its texture. The robust and thick skin of late-season figs can be chewy and bland to the taste. If you’re not a fan of it, you can always peel them with knives or a vegetable peeler.
When eating figs raw, you should always pluck the stem out of the figs first, as they are not edible. Thereafter, simply take a bite on the skin to taste the sweet and honey-like flavor of the juicy flesh. You can also combine it with some soft goat cheese to add a single layer of flavor complexity.
Another way to enjoy figs is by cooking them. Their distinctive flavor can be a great enhancer for many of your dishes. You can make an appetizer with baked halves of figs stuffed with some nuts or simply grilled figs.
How To Buy Figs?
It can be difficult to find figs sometimes because it is not an all-year-round fruit. You can find freshly picked fig products in the U.S. during two seasons: summer and fall. Figs prefer a warm climate area, which is why it is mostly grown in California. So, you must remember this information to pick out the best crop of figs. But how to pick figs?
The best fig fresh fruit has a dry and clean look with unbroken and smooth skin. When touching the whole fig, you can feel a soft but not mushy feel in your hand.
How To Ripen Figs Once Picked?
Buying figs is tricky because you never know which one is under-ripe if you don’t know what to look for. If you happen to pick the young ones, it will be difficult to ripen them once they are picked because figs don’t commonly ripen after that. So, what to do with figs after picking them?
You can try putting them under the sun for a long period to stimulate their process. Once they become soft, you should eat them right away.