Consuming figs can be great for your body and diet. Alleviating symptoms from certain health conditions and preventing illness are benefits that fresh figs offer. Keeping fresh figs good for a longer period is something many consumers find difficult to achieve, but the true secret lays in buying the best figs from the start.
Packed with nutrients, easy to prepare, and known for their health benefits, figs are a fruit that is often forgotten. Despite their ability to reduce the risk of heart disease and manage blood sugar, figs don’t get the good rap they deserve.
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Perhaps people simply don’t know how to look for the best figs to purchase. Setting the foundation for this fruit to ripen and store nicely is key to enjoying figs for all they have to offer.
Tips For Selecting The Best Fresh Figs
Many buyers do not even know what they are looking for in a fresh fig.
- Should it be hard or soft?
- What should the color be like?
- How do I know it’s ripe?
These are all common questions consumers have, encouraging them to stroll right by this tiny fruit on grocery store shelves. Here are a few things to consider when buying fresh figs:
Look for a fig that is soft, but not too squishy. A fruit that yields to the touch but is not overtly mushy is what you are looking for. A ripe fig should feel like a peach when it is at its peak.
Aim to pick a fig that smells fresh. A fermented or sour smell can mean that the fruit is overripe and will not last as long. In fact, these essences in a fresh fig can mean that the fruit has begun to rot already.
This is a more difficult sign to look for, because different types of figs will be accompanied by differing colors. From green and yellow to a deep purple or red, do your research before buying a fig based on the color.
Most figs are round or tear-drop in shape. Their outer skin is stretched tout with minimal indentations. If your fig appears to have collapsed or has started to lose its signature shape, chances are it has already gone bad.
In general, figs are good to eat within seven to ten days after they are harvested. Depending on how long it takes the fruit to arrive at your locale, most consumers will have three days to consume fresh figs while they are at their peak. Eating fresh figs at the right time is key to ultimate enjoyment of this unique fruit.
There is no specific “grade” that is assigned to fresh figs, so deciding on the best option for purchase is dependent upon a consumer’s individual evaluation. However, dried figs can be classified in the U.S. as either Class A or Class B.
Where To Buy Fresh Figs
Access to fresh figs has never been more widespread than it is now. Reaching their peak season twice a year, once in July and once in October, figs can be found virtually year-round.
Popular types may be found in your local grocery store, while specialty figs can be found in local health markets. Depending on the climate in the area you live, figs can also be purchased from local farmer’s markets as one of the freshest options available. Yet, if you live in a colder area, do not fret.
Figs are available on a variety of online retail sites that have ventured into the grocery arena. Even Amazon sells some form of fresh figs on their website, and they can be shipped right to your home!
How To Get Figs For The Best Price
In general, figs are not a type of fruit that is overtly expensive, unless you get into specialty types. Buying in a season where figs are a common locale is the best tip for making this super fruit even more affordable.
However, this is not always a possibility. Online grocery shopping has made it easier than ever to compare prices virtually without having to leave the comfort of your own home.
Also, try to buy fresh figs at times when they are in demand to get the best price. This may include time periods surrounding holidays, as figs are great options for crowd-pleasing charcuterie boards and cheese pairings.
Common Types of Figs
Figs that are more commonly purchased will inevitably boast a better price. Black Mission figs are the most popular variety, due to their sweet taste and availability. If you are perusing figs at your local grocery store, chances are this is the type of fig you will encounter.
Like Black Mission figs in appearance, Brown Turkey Figs are also a common option. As a great addition to salads, Brown Turkey figs also multi-task and are great drizzled with honey as a dessert.
Where Do Figs Come From?
Figs were derived from the Middle East where they were once grown as one of the earliest domesticated types of fruit. Thriving well in temperate conditions, these fruits were brought to the U.S. in the 1500s and cultivated in South Carolina and Florida.
Since these early days, the production of this fruit has expanded. The inability of the fig to tolerate cold temperatures has led this fruit to be grown in more temperate environments, including California and Mexico. Figs from these areas are commonly produced for consumption in the U.S.
In the 1890s, dried figs also became a popular option. Later used as a main component in the popular Fig Newton cookie, dried figs last longer but do not offer the same taste as fresh figs.
When buying fresh figs, look for ones that are plump, soft to the touch, and have a rich color. Avoid figs that are bruised, moldy, or have blemishes on the skin. The stem should be intact and the fruit should feel heavy for its size.