Fig Selection, Recipes and Storage!

Short shelf life requires careful handling and quick use of figs

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Fresh Figs. © 2014 Maximilian Stock Ltd./Getty Images, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Fig Selection

The shelf life of fresh figs is brief indeed. They must be picked ripe from the trees as they do not ripen well once picked. A very firm fig is not ripe and will not properly ripen further.

Prime harvesting season for fresh figs is mid-June to mid-October. Snatch them up and use them as soon as you find them in the market as they will spoil within seven to ten days of harvesting. In most cases this means you have about 3 days at most to use them at home.



Select figs that are clean and dry, with smooth, unbroken skin. The fruit should be soft and yielding to the touch, but not mushy.

Use your nose. Smell the fruit. If it smells slightly sour, it has already begun to ferment. When figs get beyond their prime, they begin to collapse inward and lose their round shape.

Fig Storage

It's important to keep fresh figs cold to slow deterioration. Use them immediately or store in a plastic bag in the coldest part of your refrigerator for up to two days. Figs can be frozen whole, sliced or peeled in a sealed container for ten to twelve months.

Canned figs will be good for a year in your pantry. Opened canned remainders can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for a week.

Dried figs can be stored in the original sealed package at room temperature for a month. For longer storage, keep them in the refrigerator, six months to a year. Opened dried figs should be transferred to a sealable plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator.

Fig Recipes: 

• Baked Figs With Honey Ice Cream
• Basmati Rice with Figs, Mustard Seeds and Ginger
• Candied Figs
• Cornish Hens Stuffed with Brandied Figs
• Cranberry Fig Chutney
• Fig Apple Compote
• Figgy Pudding
• Figs with Honey and Whiskey
• Figs Poached in White Wine
• Figs and Raspberries With Mint-Infused Ganache
• Figs with Thyme Honey and Gorgonzola Toasts
• Fresh Fig Preserves
• Gewurztraminer Wine Poached Fruits
• Gingered Figs
• Gourmet Glazed Figs
• Lady Baltimore Cake
• Marinated Figs with Buttermilk-Honey Sorbet
• Old-Fashioned Fruitcakes
• Pork with Figs and Balsamic Vinegar
• Pork Loin Chops with Fig Sauce
• Ricotta-Brioche Bread Pudding
• Super Fig Cobbler