Tips on How to Dry Figs
If you are one of those people who just happens to have a fig tree in the backyard, you might have wondered what it would be like to dry figs. It is not a complicated process at all, and if you just follow the instructions in this article you can learn some tips on how to dry figs the right way, as well as some other preservation techniques.
The only way to tell for sure if figs are ripe is when they drop to the ground. Pick them all up, wash and dry them off and cut the figs in half. Next, place them on some sort of solid surface for drying. This might be cooling racks, a dehydrator rack, or you could even make your own rack with a wooden frame.
The best and most efficient way to dry figs is in the sun. You need to have warm days with a breeze and it should be a little bit humid. You can put a cheesecloth or other covering over the figs to keep the bugs off. Lay the figs in a spot where they will get direct sunlight. If places are scarce, you can use the trunk or hood of a car, a picnic table, a deck, or even a roof, if you live in the city.
It generally will take two days to dry figs. You will need to bring them in at night so that the dew does not wet them. Then place them back outside the first thing in the morning. You will know the figs are dry when the outsides are leathery but pliable in your fingers. There should be no juice inside the fig. The inside should be soft.
For storage, you can put your dry figs in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Use appropriate food storage bags for either location. Heat the figs in your oven at temperatures in the 160-180 degree range for approximately fifteen minutes. Then place them in containers which are moisture-proof and refrigerate or freeze. Frozen figs can last up to three years in the freezer and figs can last for several months in the refrigerator.
Drying figs in the oven is another option but, because of the amount of time involved, can be a very expensive choice. However long you spend drying them will use fuel, either electricity or gas, neither of which is cheap. For oven drying you can use a broiler pan or cake rack. Place the figs separately on a single layer and set the oven at the lowest temperature. This is usually in the 115 to 120 temperature range.
Still, even in the oven, this temperature needs to be maintained for fifteen to twenty hours. Some people have ovens that cannot be set low enough. If that is the case, you can prop the door open to let out a little of the hot air. If you have a dehydrator, simply follow the instructions that came with the unit for drying figs.
People are often surprised at how great dried figs taste and at all their uses. Everyone is familiar with fig cookies but most people do not have any knowledge of figs beyond that. You can add them to fruit and nut mixtures, put them in cereal, or even add figs to yogurt or any other place where fruits are used. Some people just eat the dry figs as snacks, just as they are, without any other preparation. The more you grow, the more interesting ways you will find to incorporate them into your diet.