Friday, August 26, 2011

Re-Figuring Figs

So, it's fig season and I am reminded of something my friend Rowan says, "you got-ta move it!" Yes, she's 3 and that's from the movie Madagascar (can you see the dancing lemurs?). Anyway, no truer words have been spoken when it comes to figs. If you want to enjoy your fresh figs beyond the day you obtained them, you got-ta move it!

Make a decision. Eat them on ice cream with a little salt. Throw one down solo. Whatever you do, do something. Otherwise, in a short day or two, you'll have, well, spoiled fruit. You get the picture, time is of the essence here.

Our neighbor brings us figs each year from her aunt's fig tree. The other day we woke up to a bounty of fresh figs on our doorstep. This last harvest was particularly ripe, and so we needed to process them quickly. My husband took the lead on one this by drying them. This is pretty easy and they taste so good on a salad with garlic vinaigrette.

First, wash the figs, cut off the ends, and slice them into 1/4 inch slices. We went from top to bottom. Now comes the fun part! Prior to drying, the fruit needs to soak in ascorbic acid, which is just Vitamin C. So, instead of a trip to the store for this one, we went into our cabinet and got out the Vitamin C and the mortar and pestle.

You'll want to crush one to two Vitamin C tablets, depending on how many figs you have to dry. Give tablets a good pound until you have a nice powder. Once a powder, you are ready to mix with about a quart of water. We did about one teaspoon of acid to one quart of water for about a one quart of figs.

Put your clean-cut figs in the water solution to soak for about 10 mins. Once out of the water then you are ready to move to the dehydrator. Space the figs on the racks so that they aren't touching and they will be happy there for about 12 - 24 hours. In fact, we went as long as 18 hours for our juicer figs.

You'll know they are done when they are leathery, but not brittle. Check on them every few hours - you may find it helpful to move them around as the fruit closer to the bottom will dry faster than those on the top tiers.

Store the dried figs in a sealed container in a cool and dry spot. Well, the rest is up to you. Eat them as a snack. Put them in trail mix or granola. Include them in a yummy baked good. Either way, now you have more than just a few precious days with your figs. Enjoy!

Oh, and hey (!), remember this is just one way to handle figs. Please share with us your favorite recipes and tips for preserving figs! Or maybe you want to show-off your preserving skills (and we think you should) at Yes We Can!

And thank you to Mangia Con Me for the beautiful fig picture found at the top of this post!


  1. I'm gonna need to eat some of those figs. How soon can you deliver them to me?

  2. I dried figs last night too, but in the oven! Gorgeous photos, Rachel!

  3. I wish that I could take credit for the photo - but, alas, I can't.

    Ooohhhh...dried figs in the oven, nice!! Any tricks to that??

  4. I should say the first photo isn't mine...but the rest are all iPad pics :)

  5. I bought 6 pounds of figs today, AND my new dehydrator arrived! Perfect timing--I will get to work!

  6. Awesome Rachel! Thanks, I love the vita. C tip.

  7. @ J & A - yay!! That is so great! I hope you were able to dry the figs pre-Irene! Of course, it was totally unplanned, but we are out of power and have enjoyed having the shelf-stable figs.

    @ Shannon - I loved the vit c discovery great when you don't have to buy something new for the kitchen.