Figs are as delicate as they are delicious, so it’s really important that once you’ve purchased or picked your figs that you follow a few simple steps to ensure they are prefect for eating every time.
Firstly, make sure that you plan to use your figs a day or two after purchase as they have a very short shelf life and will start to spoil quickly once they are ripe. The colour of figs is not a great indicator of the fruit’s ripeness so you’ll need to use your sense of touch and smell. Ripe figs feel plump and give slightly when squeezed… if you plan to eat them immediately, choose these ones -otherwise purchase figs with a little less give. They should give off a mildly sweet fragrance but if they smell sour they should be avoided as there’s a good chance that they have spoiled.
When you get them home, we recommend placing them on a paper towel-lined plate or container. Spread them out and arrange in a single layer to avoid bruising while giving them a little space to allow for air circulation. If you’re looking to slow their ripening a little, you can cover the plate with plastic wrap or use a container with an airtight lid – this might keep them fresh for a day or two at the most.
Figs will also keep a little longer in the fridge but we prefer to leave them out on the kitchen bench to ensure we don’t forget about them! This way we can keep an eye on them as we wait for them to be perfectly ripe and ready to eat.
Figs can be eaten skin and all. If there is a stem, cut it off at the beginning of the fruit, making sure there’s no sap that comes out (if there is, cut a little more off). Give it a gentle wash under running water and then dive in! If you prefer, you can peel your figs but it seems like a lot of work for little reward as the skin of a fig is already so soft and moorish.
If you don’t think you’ll get around to using the figs while ripe, why not look into one of the many preservation techniques as wasting figs should be considered a crime!