How to Store Figs? - The Definitive Guide
Figs are so delicate and spoil so easily that it becomes a reason not to enjoy this beneficial fruit. However, if you know how to preserve figs, both fresh and dried, this is no longer a concern.
So how should you preserve figs?
While fresh figs should be eaten immediately or preserved by drying or canning, dried figs are very easy to store. Just put them in an airtight container and store them in the pantry.
Here’s the ultimate guide to preserving figs, whether you prefer the fresh fruit or the dried variety.
How long do figs last?
The shelf life of fresh figs is very short. The reason is that the figs are picked when they are fully ripe, since once picked they do not ripen.
The shelf life of fresh and dried figs can be extended if you know how to store them correctly.
It is recommended to buy fresh figs only if you know that you will eat or use them within a week.
The shelf life of fresh figs is 2-3 days if kept at room temperature and out of the sun. If you want the figs to last a long time, you can refrigerate them or put them in the fridge.
However, it must be borne in mind that the refrigerator will not do much good. You can keep the figs refrigerated for a maximum of 7 days.
Instead, dried figs last quite a long time, like any other dried fruit . If stored properly, dried figs can keep at room temperature for up to a year.
How to keep figs fresh
Fresh figs need a lot of attention when storing them, as they spoil quickly and very easily.
If you are going to eat the figs within 2-3 days of purchasing them, store them on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Be sure not to stack the figs on top of each other as they break easily. Cover the figs with plastic wrap and place the dish away from the sun or any heat.
Refrigerate fresh figs
If the figs have been kept at room temperature for 2 or 3 days, it is time to put them in the fridge. You can keep the figs in the fridge for about a week.
It is important not to leave the figs outside for more than 3 days. If you do, you will notice a strong fermentation smell indicating that the figs are no longer edible.
Preservation of fresh figs
Fig canning is another method of preserving fresh figs. Here’s how to do it:
- Sterilize the jars in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
- Prepare the figs by washing them and removing the stems.
- Cook the figs over low to medium heat and add 6 to 8 cups of sugar.
- Cook for about 3 hours and do not forget to stir from time to time.
- Pour the figs into the already syrupy mixture into the jars and screw on the lids.
- Put the jars in boiling water for 30 minutes, then take them out and tighten the lids.
Canned figs can be kept for 18 months. However, if you don’t hear the lids pop after immersing the jars in boiling water, don’t store them for too long. Refrigerate them and eat them as soon as possible.
Freeze fresh figs
Freezing is a good method to prolong the shelf life of figs.
To do this, wash the figs well, removing the stems and leaving out those that are overripe. Arrange the figs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving some space between the figs.
Put the figs in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Then take them out and put the figs in a resealable plastic bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag.
Store figs in the freezer for up to 8 months.
Before you decide to eat frozen figs, make sure you thaw them first in the fridge and then on the counter.
How to preserve dried figs
Storing dried figs is less of a hassle than storing fresh ones.
Whether you decide to store the dried figs in the pantry, fridge or freezer, it’s best to put them in an airtight container or tightly sealed plastic bag.
Dried figs will last 6-12 months in the pantry . It is important to keep them in a cooler area and away from moisture.
The useful life of dried figs in the refrigerator is 1 year, while in the freezer its useful life is extended up to 18 months.
How to dry fresh figs
If you’ve accidentally bought too many figs and wish you had bought them dried, don’t worry. It is an easy problem to solve since you can dry the figs yourself at home. And you don’t need a lot of culinary experience to do it.
If you have a food dehydrator at home, drying the figs is a matter of hours and following a few simple steps, such as cutting them and putting them in the machine for 8 hours.
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can choose one of these methods to dry figs at home.
Method 1: Drying in the oven
To dry fresh figs in the oven you have to wash them well, pat them dry and divide the figs into two parts.
- Preheat the oven to 60°C or activate the fruit setting if your oven has it.
- Place the figs on the oven rack with the cut side up. The figs must remain in the oven for 36 hours. During this time, you will want to turn the figs from one side to the other to ensure they dry evenly and do not retain moisture.
Do not increase the oven temperature to speed up the process, as high temperatures can also cause the figs to dry unevenly.
Method 2: Sun drying
If you don’t want to mess with the oven, you can resort to the old method of drying the fruit in the sun.
To dry the figs in the sun you have to wash them, dry them and cut them in half or quarters.
- Cover a wire rack with cheesecloth and place the figs on top. Close with another layer of cheesecloth to protect the fig from insects.
- The figs should be dried in the sun for about 3 days. Make sure they get direct sunlight. Don’t forget to alternate sides so the figs dry out completely.
- Once all the moisture is gone from the figs, they are ready to be stored.
Put the dried figs in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. You can store dried figs both in the fridge and in the cold room. Although dried figs can be kept for months and even a year, it is recommended to consume them as soon as possible.
The key to drying figs at home and storing them is to make sure that not the slightest amount of moisture has remained on the figs.
If you’re not sure which method to use, read this article: The difference between sun drying and dehydration
When storing figs, don’t put them near other vegetables and fruits.
Figs, like many other foods, such as apples, bananas, and apricots, contain ethylene. This is a plant hormone. Figs release ethylene gas, which causes softening and sprouting of other fruits and vegetables.
As if it weren’t enough that figs don’t last more than a few days, they can spoil your other produce if you store them all together.
If you are going to store the figs in the fridge or freezer right away and are not going to cook with or eat them, it is essential that you know how to select the figs.
Buy figs that are slightly soft to the touch and have smooth, undamaged skin. Figs that are in good condition when purchased are more likely to keep well in the home, regardless of the storage method you choose.
The best advice that can be given about figs is to eat them while you can. Figs are a very delicate fruit. However, they are delicious and have great nutritional value. Don’t let all the natural sugars, fiber and minerals go to waste.
How can you tell if the figs are bad?
As figs ferment quite quickly once picked, the first thing that gives away spoiled figs is the smell. If the figs smell bad, it’s definitely time to throw them away.
Even if you just brought them home from the market, they may have already gone bad if you haven’t maintained proper storage conditions. Leaving fresh figs in the sun is a way for them to go bad in a few hours.
Figs, like any other product that contains sugar, can develop a white hue. Don’t be alarmed by it. It occurs when natural sugar begins to rise to the surface.
As fresh figs contain moisture, mold growth is also one of the reasons why figs may not be edible. If you can’t tell the difference between molten sugar and mold, don’t risk it.
Dried figs do not spoil as easily as fresh ones. However, don’t eat dried figs if they smell bad or are moldy.