The fig is one of the ancient world’s most prized foods. Long associated with religious traditions and Roman and Greek civilizations, figs (together with olives, grapes and wheat) were a cornerstone of early Mediterranean cultures.
Figs are technically a flower, not a fruit. Cut one open and you’ll see their soft, succulent flesh is packed with tiny edible seeds. It’s these seeds (or drupes) that are the actual fruit. Figs come in hundreds of varieties ranging in color from purple, brown and green to white. They have all the rich sweetness of candy, but nutritionally they’re a much better choice.
Figs were introduced to North America by Spanish conquistadors and missionaries. The latter planted trees at most of the California mission churches in the mid-18th century — so it’s not surprising that California leads domestic production, and that Black Mission figs are the most widely grown variety.
Why choose organic?
Choose organic whenever you can to help keep the residues of conventional agricultural pesticides and fertilizers out of your food. Organic produce is grown without toxic synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, using sustainable farming methods that protect the environment and help keep pesticides out of our soil, air, water and food supply. Organic food is the healthiest choice for people and the planet — and we think it tastes better, too!
How to select and store figs
- Fresh figs are extremely fragile and must be handled with care. Choose ripe fruits that yield to gentle pressure but aren’t soft or squishy. Avoid figs with excessively wrinkled skins, splits or black spots.
- Store figs at room temperature in a cool, dark spot for a day or two before using. To hold them longer, place them on a plate lined with paper towels (uncovered) and refrigerate them for up to several days. Chilling tends to dull figs’ floral fragrance and honey-like flavor, so allow them to come to room temperature before serving.
Tips for using figs
- Figs are glorious eaten out of hand, but they’re also delicious in recipes partnered with salty foods such as chevre or blue cheese, nuts, or prosciutto and other cured meats. Try using fig purée as a substitute for fat and sweetener in baked goods, in much the same way you’d use applesauce.
- Preparation is easy. Wipe figs clean with a damp cloth or give them a quick rinse in cold water and gently pat dry. Cut off and discard the tough stems. Figs generally don’t need to be peeled, but if you come across a variety with a thick skin, remove the peel with a parer if you’re eating the fruit raw.