How To Eat Figs- Fresh & Dried

by Ishani Bose last updated -

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Figs may be mushy, soft, and yielding in texture, but their juicy, saccharine, honeyed deliciousness is what makes them a unique treat. You can have them both fresh and dried. People mostly prefer to have them just as is, but you can enjoy by pairing them with other foods such as cheese, prosciutto, wine, and the like. You can also use them as an ingredient to make bakery products, appetizers, salads, and desserts. There are, as a result, many ways of eating figs. Let us take a look at it in great detail below.

How to Eat Figs?

The easiest way to eat figs is in their raw form. Bell-shaped with slightly creased and leathery skin, figs are the sweetest and juiciest fruit of late summer. Figs are known to be one of the healthiest fruits. If you want to know more about their health benefits, read our article, 14 Nutritional Benefits Of Figs Or AnjeerThe easiest way to eat a fig is to simply wash the fruit, twist off and remove the top stem, slice it into half, remove sugar crystals, and savor the delicious taste. You can have them fresh or dried. However, the most important step even before that is to choose the right kind of fig. Figs are of different varieties that come in various colors-green, yellow, purple, and brown. Irrespective of the color, the most accurate time to eat figs is when it’s ripe and that is an essential component to check before you choose a fig to consume. You can also have them in a dried form or by broiling, baking, and grilling them.

Figs and prosciutto appetizer on a white dish

Figs and prosciutto appetizer Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Can You Eat Figs Whole With Their Skin?

You can eat figs with their skin as it is edible. However, that is an acquired taste as not many people like its texture. If you are eating the fruit whole, along with the skin, ensure that you wash and clean it properly before consuming it. Rinse them under cool water and softly wipe them dry and clean with paper towels. Don’t press it too hard as ripe figs tend to be delicate and squishy. Avoid using a brush to clean the dirt, instead, use your hands to gently scrape the dirt off. If you don’t wish to eat it with the skin, simply use a peeler to remove it. You can use your fingers to gently remove the skin. You can also cut the fig lengthwise without peeling the skin and have it. This way, you will be able to relish the sweet interior first when you eat it.

What Are The Different Ways To Serve And Eat Figs?

If you don’t wish to have figs as a whole, then here are a few ways in which you can serve and eat them.

  • Poached figs: This is a good way to eat figs. You can poach them using a slow cooker or over the stove. To do so, use 500 ml of fortified or spiced wine, flavored vinegar, or fruit juice for at least 8 figs. Allow the figs to simmer for 15-20 minutes over the stove till they turn tender but not mushy. Keep turning them over from time to time so that they get evenly poached. If you are using a slow cooker, allow the figs to cook for 5 hours or till the time they are cooked properly and start to split. You can serve poached figs with frozen desserts, dairy products, including yogurt.
  • Use it in baked products and desserts: You can use figs in baked products like muffins, cakes, or bread. You can make tarts using it or use it as a garnish on other cakes with nuts, rich frosting, or a cream cheese frosting.
  • Serve figs with..: Figs go exceptionally well with different kinds of cheese, citrus-flavored juice or vinegar, and spices and herbs like cinnamon, mint, rosemary, lavender, thyme, nutmeg, star anise and the like. Additionally, they go well with any kind of nuts, honey, different kinds of wine (particularly spiced wine), cured meats like bacon and ham, strong aromatics like garlic, olives, anchovies, and capers. 
  • Salads and Appetizers: Grilled figs make for a great addition to salads. Ever heard of the deliciously famous cobbler salad? Freshly grilled figs perfectly complement the creamy goat cheese and the citrusy balsamic vinegar. You can also make tasty appetizers like figs and prosciutto, fig crostini, and the like.

Are Dried Figs Safe To Eat?

You can choose to eat figs fresh or in the dried form. Our article on, How To Dry Figs, will explain the process of drying fresh figs. You can eat dried figs just the way they are like you would a cashew or an almond. Dried figs make for a great snack but you have to be mindful of the quantity you consume as they tend to have more calories and sugar. If you want to know more about their health benefits, read our article, 8 Amazing Benefits Of Dried Figs.

A plate of dried figs as well as whole and halved fresh mission figs on a wooden table

Figs can be enjoyed fresh or dried. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Should Dried Figs Be Soaked In Water Before Eating?

Dried figs can be eaten in any form but it is recommended to soak 2 or 3 of them in water overnight to have it on an empty stomach the next day morning. Soaking them in water makes them more nutritious. Dried figs are rich in fiber and they help to regulate the bowel movement and maintain a healthy gut.

What Are The Different Ways In Which You Can Add Dried Figs To Your Diet?

Apart from eating them as they are or soaking them overnight and eating them first thing the following morning, you can use them in different baked goods like cake, muffins, cookies, pies, and tarts. You can also replace other dried fruits with dried figs, say, for instance, use dried figs instead of raisins in oatmeal cookies and replace tart cherries in making delicious muffins. You can also add them as healthy additions to your oatmeal or sweet porridge. Just ensure to limit the quantity though. You can also add a handful of them in your yogurt to give it an interesting spin.

How to Buy Figs?

While buying figs, ensure that they have clean skin without any blemishes or wrinkles. Avoid buying figs that have bruises or scrapes on the skin. At the same time, if they have mold or possess a sour smell, don’t buy them. You should buy figs that are not too squishy but at the same time not too hard or firm. It is fairly easy to understand if a fig is appropriately ripe or not. Simply poke it and if what you get is a sweet, potent aroma, you’ll know it’s ripe enough to eat.

How to Store Figs?

It is best to eat the figs within a day or two of buying them given they are ripe. If you intend to keep them for a longer period of time, it is advisable to refrigerate them as that would slow down the deterioration. Ensure you remove them from the fridge almost half an hour before you wish to eat them as they taste better at room temperature. If the figs are unripe you can store them at room temperature. You can also set them up in a fruit basket on a counter leaving sufficient space between each other, allowing the air to circulate between them, helping them to stay fresh and not spoil easily.

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About the Author

An alumnus of St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, Ishani Bose has worked as a reporter/features writer for several leading newspapers and organizations in India. It was her love for food, health, and wellness that brought her to Organic Facts. As a Content & Culinary Outreach Specialist, she is responsible for developing and managing the website’s recipe section. She is also passionate about mental health and enjoys writing about it for the website to educate more and more people about the same. An avid Instagrammer who knows the latest social media trends, Ishani helps strategize and create authentic content for the website’s social media platforms. When not writing or cooking, you’ll find her reading, traveling, soaking herself in music, arts, and culture in every way possible. Ishani has completed an online program on “Introduction to Food and Health” by Stanford University, US. Furthermore, she has completed an online course on “The Science of Wellbeing” by the Department of Psychology, Yale University.

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