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The fig is a Mediterranean fruit.[1]


Dried figs

Figs are round to somewhat pear-shaped, with a plump and sweet interior containing many small seeds.[1][2] They fully ripen on the tree,[1][3][4] after which they are harvested and remain quite delicate. Drying prolongs their keeping quality.

A large number of fig varieties are cultivated, all with slightly different characteristics.[5][6] The following are some common varieties:

  • Smyrna: green to yellow in color; large size; very sweet with a flavor described as nutty; available fresh but commonly dried; called calimyrna when grown in California.[6][2][5][7]
  • Mission: dark exterior; thin skin with pink to red interior and small seeds; good for eating fresh or cooking.[6][2][5]
  • Brown turkey/Black Spanish: Purple skin; juicy and red flesh; large size.[6][5]
  • Kadota/Dottato: yellow-green skin; purple-white flesh; often used canned.[6][5][7]



Fresh figs are available July through September. Dried figs are never out of season and are available all year.

Selection and storage


Because they are perishable and delicate,[3] fresh figs are not commonly available outside of regions where they are grown.[8] If you do find yourself in a place where they are sold, look for figs that are plump and unwrinkled, as well as soft but not mushy—fresh peach flesh is an apt comparison.[1][3][9] They should not have a sour smell.[1][9] Fresh figs will keep in the refrigerator for a couple days at most.[3][4][5] Handle with care to prevent bruising.

Dried figs, on the other hand, are much more widely available, and you may be able to find them at the produce or dried fruit sections of markets. These will keep well for a couple months in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.[1] Canned and candied figs are also available.[6]

Fresh figs may be simply eaten plan or as an accompaniment to savory foods like cheese or cured meats. They may also be cooked through baking, broiling, and poaching, or cooked into preserves.[1][2][4]




  1. a b c d e f g Kipfer, Barbara Ann (2012-04-11). The Culinarian: A Kitchen Desk Reference. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-18603-3.
  2. a b c d Labensky, Sarah R.; Hause, Alan M.; Martel, Priscilla (2018-01-18). On Cooking: A Textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. Pearson. ISBN 978-0-13-444190-0.
  3. a b c d The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu (2011-12-02). Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie and Baking Foundations. Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1-4390-5713-1.
  4. a b c Chesman, Andrea (2015-09-19). The Backyard Homestead Book of Kitchen Know-How: Field-to-Table Cooking Skills. Storey Publishing, LLC. ISBN 978-1-61212-205-2.
  5. a b c d e f Friberg, Bo (2016-09-13). The Professional Pastry Chef: Fundamentals of Baking and Pastry. Wiley. ISBN 978-0-470-46629-2.
  6. a b c d e f Rinsky, Glenn; Rinsky, Laura Halpin (2008-02-28). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-00955-0.
  7. a b Davidson, Alan (2014-01-01). Jaine, Tom (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/acref/9780199677337.001.0001. ISBN 978-0-19-967733-7.
  8. Lyle, Katie Letcher (2016-09-15). The Complete Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Mushrooms, Fruits, and Nuts: Finding, Identifying, and Cooking. Falcon Guides. ISBN 978-1-4930-1864-2.
  9. a b Gisslen, Wayne (2014-04-15). Professional Cooking. Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-63672-5.