Dried figs are a favorite snack and treat for many because they contain many nutrients and also might help you to maintain healthy digestion. Dried figs are very high in calories because they contain a lot of sugar (50-70%), but they are rich in vitamins and minerals just as fresh figs. In addition to sweet and rich taste, they are also adorned with a beautiful creamy texture that will delight any gourmet.
Dried figs are a great alternative to desserts, juices, and they can be a very healthy snack. Figs also possess minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium that are very important when it comes to strong bones, and a healthy nervous system. They are also a great source of zinc that contributes to the immune system and can help fight inflammation of all kinds. With all these health benefits, who can resist figs? Get your dose of this dried fruit and enjoy the rich taste, and great health benefits it brings.
Figs ripen for only a few months a year, but we can consume them dry whenever we want. It is, therefore, important to properly harvest the fresh figs we plan to dry to get the highest quality. We pick figs when they are mature, and we will recognize them when they start to fade and hang from the petiole and become slightly browned.
Due to their rapid decomposition and sensitivity, the fruits are harvested every 3-4 days as they are gradually mature. It is advisable to pick small, dried fruits in the morning, always with a petiole and put them in wide baskets.
The simplest way to dry figs
One of the simplest ways to dry figs, especially smaller amounts, is to oven-dry them. This will avoid all the complications of carrying and protecting figs from outside conditions, but spoiling can occur if you do not eat them quickly after drying. The reason for that is a high level of sugar and lack of preservatives. For these purposes, after storage, you can place Laurel leaves along with figs, which may have antimicrobial effects for some time. All you need are figs that have started to brown slightly, baking paper and a grill from the oven.
The grill should be covered with baking paper and the oven should be turned on at 60-70 C (140-168F) for hot air/fan function. Extrude excess air from each fig by pushing it inwards from the petiole. Arrange the figs with the bottom (hole) up on the grate and separate them between each other. Insert the grill in the middle of the oven, and leave the oven door open a little by placing something between the doors. Dry figs for 5-6 hours and allow cooling before storing in a composition board box or paper bag with a bay leaf or fennel.
In the case of sulfuring figs, immediately after picking we prevent our fruit from spoiling, the appearance of flies and other vermin that could attack them. The good thing about sulfur is that figs will not oxidize and darken. During sulfur and similar procedures, you should cover and protect your skin, mouth, and nose. After picking and arranging the figs on the drying rack, ignite the sulfur powder in the pan under the grid (20 cm/7″ below). Figs on the top, along with those on sides, should be covered with cardboard boxes for the best possible sulfur results.
The figs should be sulfured for 20-30 minutes and then stacked on the drying surfaces with the hole up to prevent the juice from leaking out. During the night, transfer the figs to a dry and airy room to hide them from dew or rain. After about 6-7 days, the sugar will come out of the fruit and crystallize, which means that the drying is complete.
The general rule for storing dried figs is that temperature shouldn’t be higher than 10 C/50F, while it is preferable to store them in paper or canvas bags and cardboard boxes first.
For the best storage of dried figs, it is advisable to transfer them to glass containers or refrigerate them after a while. Dried figs without preservatives can be stored for 6-8 months after drying, preferably refrigerated. Although figs are best stored at 0-2 C/32-35F, they can be frozen and stored for up to 8 months.