Dried Figs 100G
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Although not juicy, the fig is an incredibly luscious fruit, with a delicate aroma and sweet flavour. Originally from Asia, figs are now grown across the Mediterranean and there are hundreds of different varieties, grouped into four main colours: white, green, red and purple/black.
Figs have an oval or squat pear shape, and thin skin that encloses hundreds of seeds (actually miniature fruits themselves) held in a succulent, softly fibrous red or purple flesh. Figs are very delicate and need gentle handling. You can also buy them dried.
Read our guide on the health benefits of figs.
Dried are available year round.
Choose the best
Go for plump examples that feel soft (but not too liquid) with no bruising or splits. At the peak of their ripeness they will have a faint bloom. If they smell sour, they're past their best.
Gently wipe the skins with a damp cloth, trim off the stem if it's hard, then either keep whole or cut in half from top to bottom. Alternatively, you can make a fig 'flower'. Make a deep cross at the top end of the fig, cutting almost but not all of the way through. Then squeeze at the base with your fingers - the four quarters should open out like petals.
Figs are best at room temperature, so take them out of the fridge an hour before you eat them.
If you buy slightly under-ripe figs, keep outside the fridge to ripen up. Otherwise, store in the fridge, each one loosely wrapped in kitchen paper. Figs perish very quickly, so eat within one or two days of buying.
Eat raw, drizzled with honey, a scattering of toasted nuts and some clotted cream, or in a salad with Parma ham or goat's cheese and rocket. Alternatively, halve and grill (2-3 minutes); roast whole (8-12 minutes); poach whole (5-8). You can also use dried figs in baking or as a snack.
This striking fruit, with its fresh green or deep purple skin and vibrant deep pink flesh, is a wonderful addition to the autumnal table. Figs have a naturally high sugar content, making them an ideal match for equally intense ingredients, such as salty prosciutto - a classic Italian combination.
For reasons of convenience, many figs are imported hard and immature. When buying them, it's worth noting that they do not ripen after picking, so choose the ripest fruits you can. Look for figs with rich colouring, and those that are plump and yield slightly to pressure. Smell is important too - avoid any figs that have begun to smell slightly sour. Dried figs are readily available all year round.
Fresh figs have an extremely short shelf life. Thin-skinned and easily bruised, they need careful handling and should be wrapped in tissue for travel. Ripe figs are highly perishable and will not keep for longer than three days in the fridge. Bring out their delicate scent and flavour by leaving them in the sun for an hour or so before serving.
Eat fresh figs on their own with goats' cheese, or slice into wedges and caramelise lightly and toss in salads with bitter leaves. Alternatively, bake them until tender and drizzle with honey and cr¨me fra®che or yoghurt, or poach in port or sweet sherry with aromatic flavourings such as cinnamon, citrus peel and pomegranate seeds and serve with cream.
Dried figs can be soaked in boiling water or lightly steamed to reconstitute. They're excellent chopped, mixed with nuts and spices and added to tea-breads and cakes, or stewed, flavoured with anise and fennel. Figs