Figs are such a pretty little fruit. They have been around absolutely forever and are quite ubiquitous in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. They can be enjoyed raw, roasted, in jams, or any number of recipes. Those little beauties pack a heck of a punch nutritionally as well. Full of vitamins, calcium and fiber, they are a perfect addition to a healthy diet. So let’s talk about what to do with those figs from supermarket or farm box to actually eating them.
Figs are in season anywhere from mid-July until the first frost. So if it’s back-to-school time, expect those co-op farm boxes and the supermarket produce areas to start filling up with figs. And if you are lucky enough to live close to a “pick your own fig farm”, you can head out and enjoy hand selecting your fresh figs.
It’s very important to know how to select the perfect fig. Figs are a little stubborn and once plucked from the tree, will not continue to ripen like most other fruits, therefore, choosing a perfectly ripe fig is imperative. Figs that are not ripe will taste flat out yucky while a soft ripe fig is absolutely delicious. So how to know if the figs you’re looking at are ripe? If you are hand picking the fig, it will be hanging down as opposed to “standing” out perpendicular to the branch. If you are in front of the display at the supermarket, give them a little squeeze. They should be a bit soft – never firm to the touch. Color is probably not the best way to determine ripeness as there are many varieties of figs with many different color profiles.
Can You Freeze Raw Figs?
Now that you are in possession of some wonderful ripe figs, what can you do with them? Truth be told a perfectly ripe fig will perish very quickly, so eating them up raw is a perfect option. But what if you have way too many to possibly eat at once? Raw figs are a perfect food to freeze for later use. They can be frozen very quickly and they can last for up to one year in the freezer.
How To Freeze Raw Figs
Just follow these simple steps to freeze your raw figs and you will have a stash to use as a simple dessert, a nutritious addition to a fruit smoothie, or the makings for delicious jam throughout the year.
- Be sure to wash and pat dry each fig. Be gentle on these little guys. They can easily bruise which will decrease the quality of your final frozen product.
- You can peel the figs at this point if jam is your ultimate goal, but it is totally optional. The skin is tasty and healthy so leaving it on is a time saver.
- Cut the figs into halves or quarters. It is an option to leave them whole but they will take longer to thaw.
- Place the pieces of fig onto a baking sheet and slide them into the freezer.
- Once the pieces of fig are frozen, place them into airtight plastic freezer containers or bags.
- Label with the date and pop them back into the freezer.
It really is just that simple. The thawed raw figs will lose some of their original color and darker a bit once frozen. If maintaining color is important to you, there are a couple quick adjustments you can make in the freezing process.
One option is to coat the figs with a sprinkling of sugar. The sugar will draw out some of moisture from the figs and create natural syrup. Once this happens, simply pack the raw figs into freezer safe containers or bags, being sure to remove as much air as possible, label, and pop in the freezer.
If adding extra sugar isn’t your thing, simply sprinkle the raw fig pieces with ascorbic acid powder, easily found at the supermarket, before freezing. Ascorbic acid is just Vitamin C so the only thing you’re adding is a little vitamin boost.
How To Thaw Raw Figs
When it’s time to enjoy some of those wonderful frozen figs, simply remove them from the freezer and pop them into the refrigerator. At this point there are many options for using the figs. I tend to simply eat them right out of the container as a dessert. They are sweet and nutritious and even if they aren’t completely thawed they will have a sorbet vibe going on. Yum! My ever health conscious husband will grab some pieces and throw them into his daily fruit and veggie smoothie for an added vitamin boost as well.