Figs are perennial evergreen shrubs or small trees, which grow between five and ten meters tall.
These fruits have been cultivated for nearly 2000 years. They are warm, tolerant, quick-growing, and thrive in dry areas with a hot climate.
Figs are native to Asia and the Middle East, but they are now grown in many different countries worldwide.
People have eaten figs for centuries due to their sweet flavor, rich aroma, and mouth-watering taste.
Figs are mainly eaten fresh. They are trendy in the Mediterranean, where they make jam, and fruit pastes or dried figs are added to many baked desserts.
They can also add a sweet taste to meat dishes such as lamb, pork, or duck.
Figs can be stored at room temperature for up to one week if they are dry.
Fresh figs should be kept in the refrigerator and can last for up to two weeks.
If you want to prolong their shelf life, you can freeze them for about three months by blanching them first.
You can also make dried figs out of these fruits or dry them whole.
Freezing figs is an excellent way of preserving them to be used in cooking or baking later on.
In this article, we will guide you on how to properly freeze figs so that you can use them in your favorite dishes.
Does Freezing Affect Figs?
You can freeze fresh figs whole or cut them up in slices. You can also freeze-dried figs.
Figs are very delicate fruits, and they should be handled carefully.
If you do not want them to get bruised or damaged, you can fold the figs gently into the freezer bags.
It’s best to prepare the figs for freezing the same day you pick them from your garden.
If that is impossible, make sure they are thoroughly washed to remove any dirt before freezing.
Freezing figs will help to extend their shelf life.
If you want to make dried figs out of them, consider drying thick slices or pieces of fruit, and then freeze the dried product when it has completely dried.
The best way to store frozen figs is in freezer bags or plastic containers.
Figs can easily absorb or pick up strong odors, so you should store them in a cool place and not next to other fruits which might leak their juices, such as tomatoes.
The taste and texture of figs will be adversely affected if frozen for too long, so consider eating any excess figs within 5 to 6 months of freezing them.
Keep in mind that the quality of the frozen fruit will be diminished if it’s stored at too low temperatures or if it is thawed and refrozen several times.
How to Freeze Figs?
Freezing fresh figs is a straightforward process.
You should be aware that a high sugar concentration and the ratio of fig pulp about its skin and seeds can affect how long the fruit will remain fresh.
For best results, freeze figs when they are ripe and have a high pulp to skin ratio.
Fresh figs can be frozen whole or cut into thick slices, as long as you don’t damage the fruits while cutting them.
You should rinse them off gently under cool running water, then drain them in a colander for about 15 minutes before patting them dry with paper towels.
Make sure they are completely dry, or they will stick together in the freezer.
You should pack the fresh figs in ziplock bags and remove as much air from the bag as possible before sealing it tightly.
To achieve better results, you can freeze the figs in little pieces rather than freezing them whole.
You should spread the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet or tray and place it into your freezer until the fruit is completely frozen (about 2 to 4 hours).
You can then transfer them to airtight bags or containers, ensuring you don’t damage them while doing so.
You can either freeze the chopped or cut-up figs in sugar syrup or dry them first without adding any sugar.
If you freeze them with sugar syrup, add 1 cup of granulated white sugar for every 4 cups of fresh fruit; otherwise, make enough syrup to cover the amount of fruit that will fit easily in a freezer bag.
You can also either use water or juice to make the sugar syrup.
Make sure that the sugar and liquid are completely dissolved, then add the sliced or chopped figs gently to avoid damaging them.
Label the ziplock bag with the date and contents, then lay it on a flat surface in the freezer.
They will stay fresh for about 6 to 8 months if you use them properly.
How to Thaw Frozen Figs?
If you want to make a quick dessert, there is nothing easier than defrosting the figs and putting them in a blender or food processor.
You can add cream cheese or mascarpone, honey, and even nuts for extra flavor.
To defrost the frozen fruit, you should remove the amount you want from the freezer and place them in a colander.
Run some cool water over them or put them in your refrigerator overnight; then drain any excess moisture before using them.
If the figs have been frozen whole, they can be halved and defrosted in a bowl of warm water.
The figs will absorb the surrounding moisture, so you should check on them every 30 minutes to an hour and change the water if it gets too cold.
You can also place the frozen fruit in a bowl of warm tap water for about 15 to 20 minutes; then either drain or pat them dry with paper towels before using them.
How to Use Thawed Figs?
Once the fruit is thawed, it can be used for many tasty and healthy recipes.
You should make sure the figs are thoroughly defrosted before cooking them.
Otherwise, they will take longer to cook and may not taste as great as you want them to.
Once they are thawed, you can serve them with cheese or cream cheese for a tasty snack.
You can also make delicious desserts by adding honey and spices to the fruit.
They can also be used in place of raisins or prunes to add a sweet and juicy flavor.
You can use figs in salads, muffins, and bread recipes. You can also combine them with fruits that are ready to eat when they are thawed.
Don’t hesitate to experiment with your favorite ingredients to find the best combinations.
How to Tell if Figs are Bad?
Figs are highly perishable, and they don’t last long once they have been harvested.
They begin to dry out as soon as they are picked, especially if you store them at room temperature.
If you don’t want your figs to spoil, make sure you find a way to keep them fresh until you can use or cook them.
To tell if they have gone bad, there are some everyday things to look for:
- Mold/spots. If the figs have mold on them, you should not use or eat them. That includes the mold that may appear inside of punctured fruit as well.
- Blackened skin. You will see this if a split fig has dried out at room temperature and has been exposed to the air for too long.
- Left out in the sun. If you leave your figs exposed to direct sunlight, they will dry out and shrivel up, causing dark areas on the skin.
- Improper storage. Figs can be stored at room temperature for only a few days before they have a chance of spoiling. You should throw them away if you don’t think you will use them in the next two to three days.
- Foul odor. Good figs will smell sweet and like a fresh-cut pear. When ripe, their skin will feel soft to the touch instead of being hard or shriveled up. The color should be a dark purple, almost black in many cases.
Once you have determined the fruit is unsafe to eat, remove it from your home and do not use it again until you are sure it has gone bad.
You may want to wear gloves when handling spoiled food to avoid getting sick yourself.
In conclusion, figs can be delicious and healthy natural treats.
They are also easy to freeze, so you don’t need to worry about any excess fruit spoiling before you have a chance to use them.
If you follow the information in this article, you should have no trouble freezing your figs for future use.
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