Once thought to be a sacred food, figs are a delicious and delicate fruit that still symbolize peace and prosperity. Unlike apples and pears, figs have a very short shelf life. They taste terrific eaten straight off the tree, but it is nearly impossible to eat all of them that way. Figs can be used in a multitude of recipes, complementing both sweet and savory dishes. Once you know what flavors pair well with figs, your choices are endless.
If you are preparing a savory dish, pair figs with bacon or prosciutto, balsamic vinegar, and a strong-flavored cheese. Sweet flavors that match well with figs are honey, chocolate, and caramel. Figs also taste great with hazelnuts, walnuts, and pistachios. Cinnamon, cardamom, and vanilla are perfect accents to the fig.
Make the most of an abundant fig harvest. Eat some off the tree, share some with the birds, and try one or more of these recipes.
For a mouthwatering treat, pair fresh-picked figs with the smoky taste of homemade bacon.
How to Dry Figs
1. Preheat the oven to the lowest possible temperature setting. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and prepare an ice water bath.
2. Submerge figs into the boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in the water bath.
3. Peel the figs, then slice them in half lengthwise. Lay them out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Dry in the oven for 8 to 24 hours. Drying times vary, so keep an eye on them. Remove them from the oven when they are dry to the touch, but still pliable.
5. Let the figs cool on a wire rack. Cool completely before placing them in an airtight container for storage. Dried figs will last up to two years when stored in a cool, dark, and dry location.
Jenny Flores writes from her small homestead in rural Mississippi, where she enjoys gardening and caring for her chickens and ducks.