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Drying Figs at Home: A Better Way

Updated: Nov 4, 2023

When we invest time and effort into nurturing a fig tree, it can be disappointing when the harvested figs don't taste as good as expected. Young fig trees often produce less flavorful fruit, while overwatering or heavy rainfall can dilute the fig's natural sugars, leading to blandness, splitting, mold, or fermentation.

However, there's a technique to not only enhance the taste of figs but also to add a new dimension to their texture. When you harvest figs, they can be improved by placing them in the refrigerator, even if they're underripe and picked a little early.

In this video I explain how you can do this the right way every time:

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The Improved Method of Drying Figs: A Step-by-Step Guide

  • Cut the figs in half and place them on a dry plate, skin side down.

  • Ensure there is no additional moisture on the skin or the plate.

  • Arrange the figs so they are not touching each other to allow air circulation.

  • Over the next 2-3 weeks in the fridge, the figs will dehydrate slowly. This method is akin to sun drying but provides greater control over the moisture levels within the fruit.

Drawing parallels to persimmons, which can vary in taste and texture based on their level of dehydration and ripeness, figs can also be enjoyed in different states. A controlled dehydration process allows figs to achieve a perfect balance with a jammy pulp and a semi-dried outside, offering a distinct eating experience.

To avoid issues such as molding, which is common with store-bought figs, it's crucial to ensure the figs and the storage environment are dry. A high sugar content or brix in the figs is essential, as overwatering the fig tree can lower the brix and increase the risk of mold during refrigeration.

For figs harvested early, particularly before a rain event that could spoil the fruit, it may be better to use a traditional dehydrator rather than refrigeration to ensure a fully ripened and mold-free result.

The various methods for drying figs have their respective advantages and challenges:

Sun Drying:

It's the most traditional method, producing a chewy and sweet dried fruit naturally. However, it can be difficult to control the conditions, and the figs might be subject to pests and contamination.

Sun-dried figs. Photo credit goes to Siro Petracchi

Oven and Dehydrator Drying:

These methods are fast and allow for precise temperature control but require vigilant monitoring to prevent over-drying, which can negatively affect flavor and texture.

Refrigerator Drying:

Ideal for humid climates, this method preserves flavor and texture well. It's a slow process and necessitates attention to the fig's moisture levels and growing conditions to avert mold growth.

Choosing the right drying method for your figs will depend on your preferences, climate, and ability to manage the drying process effectively. Each method can yield delicious results when performed correctly, enhancing your figs' flavor and texture.

Feel free to read more about drying figs, their health benefits, uses in the kitchen, cultural significance, and more in this article, here.

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I'm Ross, the "Fig Boss." A YouTuber educating the world on the wonderful passion of growing fig trees. Apply my experiences to your own fig journey to grow the best tasting food possible.
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