There are few things in the world as special as a fresh fig. They have an incredibly soft, jammy texture and an ultra-sweet flavor that’s hard to beat. Not only that, but there’s no one set way for how to eat figs. Enjoy them raw, on a grilled pizza with a honey drizzle or stuff them with nuts and cheese.
No matter how you enjoy them, you’ll want to do it fast. The season is incredibly short! You can find them during an early summer season, or pick up a few during the main crop that runs from late summer to early fall. You can enjoy dried figs the rest of the year, but they taste better fresh if you know to eat them!
How to Eat Figs
The best way to enjoy figs is raw, with the skin and seeds intact. You can also remove the peels and scoop out the seeds, if you like, or cook figs by baking, broiling or grilling them. But, the quickest and easiest way to enjoy these gems is by removing the stem and taking a bite right out of the raw fig.
Can you eat fig skin?
Fig skin is edible, although some people don’t like the texture. You’ll find that early season figs have thin, delicate peels while late season fig skins are thicker and more robust. If eating the peels isn’t your thing, feel free to remove the skin with a vegetable peeler. Otherwise, just twist off the stem and eat the fig, skin and all!
Can you eat figs raw?
Fresh figs are usually enjoyed raw. In fact, they taste best when plucked straight off the tree, still warm from the sun’s rays. Of course, that requires access to a fig tree. We’re often loathe to cook figs, as they have a pure sweetness and honeyed flavor that’s hard to match. Simply cut them in half, add a dollop of soft goat cheese or a chunk of feta and enjoy.
That said, cooking them can bring out their sweetness and make them extra juicy, especially if they’re underripe. You can place halved figs directly onto a hot grill or place them under the broiler to caramelize their sugars. They also make a great appetizer when stuffed with nuts and baked with cocoa and warming spices.
Can you eat a fig whole?
Most fig recipes call for cutting the flower in half to expose the beautiful center, but you can absolutely eat figs whole. (Yes, you read that right; figs are technically flowers, not fruits!) While there are seeds in the middle, they’re completely edible, so you don’t need to cut into them to remove anything. And, since you can eat the peels, there’s really no reason not to pop one straight into your mouth after twisting off the stem.
How to Buy Figs
When buying figs, the first thing to look for is clean, unblemished skin. Skip any figs that have gashes or bruises on the flesh. If you give them a gentle squeeze, the fig should be soft (be careful here; it’s very easy to over-squeeze a fig). The fig’s color will vary depending on the variety: Mission figs are deep purple, while Calimyrna figs are green and Kadota figs are yellow-green.
When you get the figs home, keep them at room temperature if you plan to eat them within a day. Or, store them in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator for up to two days. You’ll want to remove them from the fridge at least 30 minutes before eating, as they taste best at room temperature. Underripe figs can be stored at room temp until the flesh softens.
When you’re ready to eat, simply run the figs under cold, running water to clean them. Pat dry with a clean towel, remove the stem and enjoy.