February 22, 2019
Bruschetta with figs and goat cheese

Figs: Cooking Tips and Recipe Ideas

by Berkeley Wellness  

Fresh figs don’t keep well, so they should be packed carefully and be in good condition when displayed in the market. Color differs with variety, but healthy figs will always have a rich color. Ripe Mission figs, for example, will be nearly black.

Look for shapely, plump figs with unbruised, unbroken skins and a mild fragrance (a sour smell indicates spoilage). They should be just soft to the touch, but not mushy. If the figs seem somewhat shriveled, as if they are beginning to dry, they will be particularly sweet. Size is not an indicator of quality, but you’ll probably want to choose uniformly sized fruits if you are planning to serve them as individual portions for dessert.

How to store figs

To ripen slightly underripe figs, place them on a plate at room temperature, away from sunlight, and turn them frequently. Keep ripe fresh figs in the refrigerator. Dried figs can be stored at cool room temperature or in the refrigerator. Just be sure that they are well-wrapped after opening so that they do not become too dry and hard.

How to use figs

Wash fresh figs and remove the hard portion of the stem end. Halve or quarter the fruit. Thick-skinned Calimyrna figs are usually peeled, but Mission figs have thin, edible skins and do not need to be peeled.

Before preparing dried figs for cooking, place them in the freezer for an hour to make them easier to slice. When chopping dried figs, dip the knife into hot water from time to time, to prevent the fruit from sticking to it. Before using chopped figs in batters, toss the pieces with a little flour to keep them from sinking to the bottom. If you like dried figs plumped, simmer them in boiling water, wine, or fruit juice for two minutes. Add a drop of almond extract if desired.

9 fig recipe ideas

  1. Serve quartered fresh figs with a dollop of lightly sweetened ricotta cheese.
  2. Stir chopped dried figs into peanut butter or cream cheese for a sandwich spread.
  3. Add chopped dried figs to grain dishes.
  4. Make a salad of thinly sliced fresh figs, crumbled feta cheese, and lettuce, and dress with olive oil and lemon juice.
  5. Roast sliced fresh figs with sliced sweet potatoes and red onions tossed in a little olive oil.
  6. Use chopped dried figs in place of raisins.
  7. Skewer chunks of fresh figs and grill. Serve with sweetened yogurt.
  8. Poach whole dried figs in red wine and serve as a condiment with roast poultry or pork.
  9. Slice figs and put them on a cheddar cheese sandwich. If you’re feeling decadent, consider broiling the cheese on toast first for a grilled fig-cheese lunch.
Also see these recipes: Linguine with Figs and Goat Cheese and Fig Cookies with a Walnut Crust.