Figs are a unique fruit that can add sweet richness and lushness to a variety of recipes. Whether roasted with meats, poached in wine or baked into desserts, they bring natural sweetness and a delicate flavor to any dish. Whether eaten fresh or dried, a fig has a distinct flavor profile that resembles honeyed fruit and subtle nuttiness.
When choosing figs, look for plump ones that feel soft and have a light green color. Avoid any that are a little shrunken, have milky liquid oozing from a split or have a very squishy center - they may be overripe. Check the stem for bruising or mold and don't buy figs that have a sour smell - they're likely fermenting and past their prime.
Most people will describe the taste of a fig as somewhere between dates and strawberries. If that doesn't do the trick, they might also be likened to honey or even a touch of sugar. The texture of a fig can vary from soft to chewy and they are generally a bit crunchy in places where there are seeds.
When cooking with figs, be aware that they will release moisture into any recipe. This makes them a good choice for dishes that require a bit of simmering and reduces the amount of liquid needed. They're also great for sprinkling over salads or adding to desserts like cookies, cakes and scones. Dried figs are another great option for baking and can be added to trail mix, fruit salads, oatmeal and yogurt.