Fresh figs taste delicious with salads, go hand in hand with cheese, and can even be eaten by themselves as a nutritious snack, but what happens when you’ve got too many to eat all at once?
As figs are so high in sugar, they can spoil pretty fast.
If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’ve found yourself in this predicament and you’re looking for a solution.
Perhaps you bought too many at the grocery store, or maybe you visited the farmer’s market and just couldn’t resist buying some fresh, ripe figs.
Whatever the reason, how do you store them so you can enjoy them for longer?
Believe it or not, even though many people are under the impression that figs can only be used fresh, they can also be frozen for long term use, and we’re here to help you learn how to do it.
What are figs?
To put it simply, figs are technically not a fruit. They’re actually inverted flowers. Unlike apples and peaches, fig trees do not flower.
Instead, their flowers bloom inside of the pod, which later matures into the fig that we eat. Each fig flower produces a one-seeded, hard-shelled fruit called achene (which is what gives the fig their famous crunch) and the fig is made up of multiple achenes.
Not only that but as fig flowers bloom internally, they need a special process for pollination. As they cannot rely on the wind or bees to spread their pollen like other fruits, figs rely on the fig wasp to spread its genetic material.
The fig wasp cannot live without the fig, as it is where it lays its larva, and the relationship shared between the two is known as mutualism.
So, how do I freeze them?
Now, for the fun part!
When it comes to freezing figs, you have two options. You can either decide to place them directly into your freezer or by first placing them in a jar of syrup and then freezing them.
The only difference between the two is that the figs preserved in syrup will be sweeter, so it’s entirely up to your and your preferences. Whichever you decide, follow the steps below to ensure your freeze them correctly:
- Wash your fresh figs in cold water. If you notice any overripe figs, eat them or dispose of them, as they do not freeze well.
- Gently tap them dry with a paper towel and then lay them on a baking paper tray sheet.
- Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a few hours, until you notice that the figs have completely frozen.
- To make sure that they don’t get that ‘freezer’ taste, transfer the figs into an airtight freezer ziplock bag. Make a note of the date that you have frozen them (either by writing on the bag, or making a note in your diary).
- In contrast, if you want to store your figs in syrup, ignore steps 2, 3, and 4. Instead, gently simmer your figs in syrup for around 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of your choice of acid to the fig jar, and then place the figs inside it. Pour in the remaining syrup, close the lid tightly, and then place it in the freezer. Don’t forget to make a note of the date!
Thawing and storage advice:
So, once you’ve frozen your figs for a period of time and you’re finally ready to defrost them, it’s worth being aware that you might notice some changes.
For starters, figs cannot be kept for very long when purchased over the counter and simply kept in your kitchen. In fact, they usually only last for around 2-5 days. If refrigerated, fresh figs can last a little longer, around 7 days. However, if they are frozen, your figs will last you for a significantly longer period of time (around 8 months).
Though the time difference offers plenty of reason as to why you might decide to freeze your figs, it often causes them to have a change in texture once they are defrosted. This is because, once frozen figs are dethawed, they turn soft and almost mushy, which some people do not like.
Plus, fresh figs (just like all other types of fruits are highly likely to change in color over time. To prevent your figs from becoming discolored, while storing them we recommend making sure to add some citric acid in their jars in order to keep them looking better for longer.
In addition, you’ll also be able to tell when your thawed figs have gone bad because you’ll notice that they are beginning to produce a ‘sour’ odor. You might also notice a ‘powdery’ foam appearing across the tops of the figs, which is an indication that the figs are beginning to decompose.
In contrast, you should also be mindful of any mold growing on them. If you think that your thawed figs are beginning to grow mold but you’re not sure whether it’s just their natural sugar rising to the top, it’s best to just throw them away to be on the safe side.
We also strongly recommend not placing your figs near other fruits and vegetables in your storage cupboard or storage area of the kitchen. Figs are known to produce ethylene gas, so any other fruits in a nearby vicinity will begin to break down and spoil faster than if they were kept in a separate spot in the kitchen.
You may also want to keep your defrosted figs in a separate container, and then place them in the back of the fridge, away from fresh foods and fruits. Regardless of how you decide to store your thawed figs, it’s important that you choose fresh figs to freeze, as they will taste better.
We hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about how to freeze your figs!
To answer your question in summary, yes, you most certainly can freeze your figs. In fact, it’s pretty common for people to freeze them due to the fact they spoil so quickly due to their high sugar content.
Just remember that it’s normal for slight texture and color changes and that, once frozen, you’ll be able to keep them that way for around 8 months.
Believe it or not, some people even like to eat their figs frozen as an icy treat!